Hot! The “King of Siam” top | Sarah Gabbart

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Bonus_Pendrell blouse Fabric: 2 yards of sari print fabric from Jo Ann's Fabric ($9 a yard)
Pattern: Sewaholic  Pendrell 1001 
Year: c. 2010
Notions: None
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. 

Dean-loomis-actors-yul-brynner-and-deborah-kerr-in-a-scene-from-the-film-the-king-and-i 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!

Detail 1

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!)


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Sarah Gabbart


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  1. Hi Sarah,
    I love the fabric and love the blouse ..Looks so elegant,but yet looks terrific with the jeans.. Great
    choice. judy

  2. Your pendrell blouse is FANTASTIC! I’m hoping to sew up this pattern soon and it’s great to know that it’s quick and easy! Love it! The fabric was a great find!

  3. ooooh how lovely.

  4. Oooo, I’ve seen the Pendrell Blouse online and you’ve made it look really different! Was it hard to match up the horizontal of the pattern? LOOKS TRICKY!
    Did you get a haircut this week? Whatever you’ve done it looks GREAT!

  5. You did a great job in translating your inspiration into something wearable! There is only one thing that struck me when reading your post: this tunic looks rather fitted, so how do you get in or out without any notions?

  6. I love the fabric in our top, which looks great on you. The Sewaholic Pendrell blouse keeps popping up in blogs I read – I think I need to investigate a little further!!

  7. Sarah, I adore this! You look fabulous in red. The fabric is just fantastic!

  8. This is a great top. I love the fabric and having worked at Joann I know they have some great fabrics.

  9. Sarah, I’m so glad you chose this pattern! I’ve been looking at it on-line and a little hesitant to spend the money not knowing anything about it. Love your fabric choice! It looks great on you. What a diverse pattern!

  10. margueritedesigns

    I think I need to get one of these patterns if I can!

  11. This is ADORABLE Sarah!

  12. Thanks Judy! I live in jeans, so anything that I can put on top to look less “college kid” and more “adult casual person” is totally up my alley!

  13. Thanks Debi! I can’t say enough good things about this pattern – it was really, really easy!

  14. Dude – it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but don’t look too closely because it’s not super accurate!
    Thank you so much!! I actually straightened my hair for once – I had a whole day off (one whole day – yess!) – and used it to tame my mane!

  15. Hey Christina! It is just a pullover – nothing too crazy or special, but it is only semi-fitted and stretchy on the right parts (the princess seams!) so that you can get it on without getting stuck!

  16. Thanks Debbie! Yes yes – go grab one! It’s a fantastic pattern and I can’t wait to make it again!

  17. Thanks Meg! I’m going to have to wear red more often!

  18. Thanks Sue! I am constantly surprised by the quality of their apparel fabrics – I love Jo Ann’s!

  19. Thanks Emily! I would not hesitate to buy this pattern again – it was well worth the cash/shipping from Canada!

  20. Yes ma’am – go get it! I can’t wait until they come up with new patterns – I love the instructions, they’re so clear!

  21. Thanks Alanna!! PS: You’re the best, for a variety of reasons!

  22. Thanks Sarah! I can’t wait to wear it again!

  23. Love that sari fabric Sarah and the blouse looks fab on you! Well done!

  24. Sarah, your blouse is gorgeous! The fabric choice is fantastic. I love the placement of the border at the hem! It fits you really well, too. Thanks for the compliments and I’m so glad you like the pattern! :)

  25. I am impressed at how simple yet how effective it is. I too may have to look up this pattern. Anything that can be dressed up or down is definitely a winner. (fab material).

  26. Oh my gosh, I LOVE THIS!

  27. Great top Sarah, I’m sure you’ll wear it all the time. And from such an unexpected inspiration! Well done.

  28. So pretty! I have the Pendrell pattern and have made it once, but may need to consider a second one in a sari-brocade type fabric now.