The “King of Siam” top | Sarah Gabbart
Fabric: 2 yards of sari print fabric from Jo Ann's Fabric ($9 a yard)
Pattern: Sewaholic Pendrell 1001
Year: c. 2010
Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: February 2011
Wear again? Yes
Total Cost: $18
A girl can never have enough fancy shirts, so this week I set out to make the "king" of all dressy shirts – inspired by the man himself, the King of Siam. Growing up one of my fondest memories was seeing a live performance of the King and I at Jones Hall as part of a school trip and I have had a soft spot for the film ever since.
While Deborah Kerr had a fantastic wardrobe, it was the bright Eastern-inspired fabrics worn by Yul Brenner as the tough-as-nails king that really had me excited to get sewing. The film won for best costume design in 1956 and the award-winning outfits were designed by Irene Sharaff, who has worked on scores of films and even has an award named after her the: TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award.
First I considered making a dress out of this ornate fabric, but quickly realized that I would not really wear it often. Better make it a shirt, I thought, and boy I'm glad I did! This top is the perfect addition to my separates wardrobe and can be dressed up (black cigarette pants) or down (jeans!) depending on the occasion.
My main issue was finding the fabric. I took my search to eBay and ordered some that looked close, but God knows what that fabric is now. Even though I ordered it a month ago it still hasn't arrived. Panic started to set in and finding something else seemed to be the only option. I was surprised that Jo Ann's had some great sari-print fabric in burgundy and gold – huzzah for Jo Ann's – it was even reversable (which i used as a detail on the sleeves). One of the best parts was that the selvage had a really cool frayed edge next to the decorative border – I could just leave it raw and it looked cool!
Now on to the pattern. People – this pattern is awesome. It's simple, well-illustrated and has no notions to bother with (yep you heard that – no buttons and no zipper!). The sizing seems to be spot on and the pieces are scaled correctly – I hate it so much when the pieces don't match up they way they should after being carefully cut out. I love this pattern and you will be seeing it again sometime this year – I'm totally going to make more of these!
All in all, I would definitely wear this again for a special occasion and it has inspired me to look at the films I love for sewing ideas in the future! What film has captured a special place in your heart? Let me know in the comments!
(*please excuse the blurriness of my photos this week – my camera apparently needs a doctor's appointment!)