05 March 2011
McCall's 4249 - Indian Salwar Kameez
Since Halloween fell on a weekend in 2010, AND it was Renaissance months at the Texas Renaissance Fair (it runs for about two months in the Fall), I needed something fun to wear to our Sunday fun day at the Renaissance for the 31st of October.
The festival, as most of them seem to be these days, is a chest fest. You've never seen so many pecs and so much cleavage in your life! A cell biologist would be in heaven ... there's cleavage here and cleavage there and cleavage everywhere ... Oh, geologists would like it too ... cleavage, cleavage, cleavage.
So I pulled out my costume patterns, unearthed the carnival patterns from my Burda World of Fashion, and started planning out a typical Renaissance Fair Gown. But then reality intruded and I thought, "Where will I ever wear this?" If it will be useless to me after one wear, I don't have a great deal of urge to complete the project.
Another pattern lurking in my costume collection is McCall's 4249, it contains a "belly dancing" costume and a Salwar Kameez costume.
Granted, I couldn't see wearing the Salwar portion of the costume, the pants, anywhere else. BUT, I could see wearing the Kameez over other pants for work. So began a long search through Indian and Pakistani modern dress sites and runway shots. I came to the conclusion that both pieces of the suit come in a vast array of styles. There are short or tight versions of the salwar available. And kameez come in lengths from mid-calf to tunic (mid-hip). I could do anything I wanted and still have a fairly authentic Indian costume.
Then I had to start looking through the stash.
I chose two pieces of rayon, one embossed and one plain woven, to complement each other. The top went together in two days, and the pants were completed even more quickly.
Pushing a size 16/18 in patterns for pants, the 12 was waaay too small. I enlarged the pattern a bit, but not enough. They were still a touch tight at the lower thigh when sitting. And I felt that they were far too large at the ankle, but my calves kept me from narrowing the lower leg anymore. I suspect some strategic pinning in the photography examples on the pattern front.
I actually put a wide black rayon spandex waistband in these, to reduce bulk and make it more comfortable. Except for the pulling when sitting, the pants were remarkably comfortable. Now I know why it is the chosen style of dress for a large portion of the world.
The kameez is a nice pattern with a gusset, first time I've ever used a gusset before. And I loved it. I had such range of motion. Definitely something more of my clothing should have.
Considering how much I have to lengthen bodices (two inches), I often feel the necklines are too high. And I did feel this one was a touch too high, but better than adding to the cleavage population at the Festival. Besides, I plan to wear this to work, where such displays are distracting.
The bodice was self-lined and I slit the top fairly high, making pockets easily reachable. Even in a 12 (I measure to a 14), the bodice is too big, and I will take it in (mostly at bodice front) should I make it again.
I was stopped on our way out by a lady who commented, "I love your outfit. It looks so comfortable." And it was. Nothing was binding, no body parts had to be hiked into uncomfortable positions, and all my undergarments fit easily underneath.
Now I have to figure out what to make for Ren Fest 2011.
The hubster went in Swiss Camouflage, an SPH4 Helicopter Pilot Helmet, and menacing face covering. He got a LOT of attention. The pattern "Alpenflage" is not necessarily uncommon, but still a rarity to non military buffs.