Trying to play catch up on blogging stuff I haven’t shared yet. I still like to blog and have a proper record of things I have made, but like everyone else, it’s so easy to just go with the flow on Instagram and get behind on blogging. Anyway, here’s an outfit I made in August to attend my cousin’s wedding in New Jersey at the beginning of September. It was a meeting of cultures (you may remember I made Simplicity 8292 to wear to the church ceremony), with my cousin marrying a Canadian. The dress code for the evening was Indian attire.
So, the fabrics were all ordered online. The blue and gold viscose/ silk brocade and the plain navy blue dupioni silk were ordered from one particular ebay seller who shipped the silks to me from India using DHL. I couldn’t fault the seller on their shipping time, but actually, when I realised I needed more of the brocade (for pattern matching purposes), the seller didn’t respond. In fact, they now seem to have come off ebay, and appear to have set up a website, which you can see here. So, whilst I have no experience of buying through that website, certainly through ebay it was a smooth enough transaction.
Details on other materials used:
- The sheer fabric at the top of the bodice is silk chiffon
- The whole gown is lined using a navy cotton lawn purchased from Minerva crafts
- The silk dupioni bodice is underlined using silk organza (from my stash)
- I used Hemline Featherlite cotton covering boning for the bodice. It was very easy to cut, sew and work with
- I cut all of the (8?) brocade panels in a single layer in order to preserve the pattern flow and get some pattern matching (at the centre fronts and backs). It turned out I didn’t have enough to cut all the panels that way, full length. So I ended up ordering some gold lame and created a 11 inch deep border at the bottom of the skirt. The lame came from Midland Textiles on ebay
- The dupatta (the long scarf thing) that I have draped over my arms was part of a set I already had. I didn’t really want to have a dupatta, but it’s pretty much a standard part of most Indian outfits. In the end the colour was a good match with the border fabric
To create this gown I used a combination of (OOP) Vogue 8849 for the bodice and Butterick 6179 for the skirt. I recommend both patterns. Really, I did minimal alterations to achieve my look, and I have never felt so comfortable in an Indian outfit. There was no pulling or yanking or tugging all night long 🙂 The Vogue pattern in particular is great because it is a multi-cup size pattern, so no FBA required.
- I used Vogue 8849 for the bodice (view E), and cut a size 18 through the bust and shoulders, C cup, grading out one size at the waist.
- I lowered the bust fullness by 1 inch (Tip: remember to do any fitting with the bra you intend to wear with the outfit. For me, that was a strapless bra).
- I ended up removing 0.25 inch from each of the front princess seams at the top of the bust, and taking a corresponding tuck out of the upper front pattern piece.
- The pattern instructions don’t seem to mention adding boning to view E, but I chose to add some for extra support.
- I did a 6/8ths inch sway back adjustment on the bodice.
- I used french seams to sew the sheer silk chiffon upper bodice, and did narrow baby hems 0.5 inches from the cut edge.
- I did a 1 inch full arm adjustment.
- I used Butterick 6179 for the skirt (view B).
- I added an 11 inch deep border to the bottom of the skirt, cut on the cross grain, from lame.
- I did a 1 inch full bottom adjustment and adjusted the skirt seams to ensure they matched with the bodice seams where necessary.
- I added a 5 inch deep interfaced hem.
All in all, yes, this gown was a fair bit of work. Using well drafted solid patterns really helped me to achieve my vision. I loved how this gown fitted me, and the fact it was constructed from all natural fabrics (with the exception of the border). It felt light, but supportive, and fits me better than any RTW Indian outfit I have bought in the past. The day of the wedding I noticed there was a small tear where the sheer bodice had joined the silk dupioni bodice, in the front. I ended up patching it together, and it held fast. I will have to go back and check it some time. The dress, and the wedding, were a grand success. Here’s wishing the married couple enjoy many years of happy married life ahead.
Hi There Friends!
One year ago Julie Starr and Sarah Gunn asked me if I would be interested in sewing up a tunic to be featured in The Tunic Bible, which has now been published. To say I was flattered to have been asked was an understatement. I have long admired both Julie and Sarah’s work and the book seemed like a great concept. There are SO many options for collars, neck plackets and sleeves as well as lengths, styles, fabrics (including knits) and trims….this is not just a one trick pony. If you don’t believe me, head over to The Tunic Bible website to check out the gallery (you might see some familiar faces). A group of bloggers were asked to sew samples up to be featured in the book and every single one of us made something completely different and varied.
Anyway, I chose to make an autumnal version from a soft, fine printed babycord with an outside-facing wide split placket, an angled collar and sleeve cuffs sewn in a contrasting corduroy. All the details for all the options are given in the book. I barely made any changes whatsoever to the pattern: not even my usual FBA or sway back adjustment. Aside from fiddling with the length and dropping the bust darts 0.5 inches and including back darts, that was it. I was very impressed with the fit. Note that the size range goes from XS to XXL.
I am still waiting to receive my hard copy of The Tunic Bible (on its way), but have seen the full final version electronically and it is beautifully photographed, presented and written. Incidentally, anyone interested in sewing Indian style Kurta tops; this book is perfect for you and before I go to India next time I would love to sew a couple up.
If you would like to be in with a chance to win a copy of the book and check it out for yourself then there is a giveaway. Winners in the USA will receive a hard copy of the book; outside of the USA winners will receive an electronic copy, so this is open to all. All you have to do is leave a comment below before midnight GMT on 12th October 2016. If you want to be in with more chances to win then here’s the list of other participants of this book tour; you can enter on every single site if you wish 🙂
Good Luck and well done Sarah and Julie for making this idea a hugely inspirational success.
*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED*
This is my first attempt at sewing an Indian outfit. I bought the material months and months ago and it was sitting in my closet waiting to be either taken to India to be sewn by a tailor, or for me to be brave enough to sew it without a commercial pattern. Guess I got brave enough!
For those who don’t know, churidar refers to the lower part of the outfit (the “bottoms”) and kameez is the name given to the top part. I think this particular style is anarkali kameez, named, I imagine, for the slave girl Anarkali who, during the Mughal period, was supposed to have had an affair with Crown Prince Salim. Prince Salim’s father, Mughal-e-Azam, did not like the fact that his son wanted to marry a lowly slave girl, and so the story goes that in exchange for keeping her lover alive, Anarkali agreed to give up her life, and was supposedly buried alive between two walls by Mughal-e-Azam. Romantic or stupid? You decide. Anyway, Anarkali was a dancer I think. And so the Anarkali kameez would have given her freedom to shake her booty to her hearts content.
Churidar are like long leggings and are supposed to be tight fitting around the ankles/ calves, with the excess material falling in to gathers around the ankles/ calves (like bangles around the leg: “churi”; bangle, “dar”; like). This is supposed to give a graceful and lengthening appearance to the leg. True churidar should be cut on the bias, as this gives the material more stretch and allows it to fit more easily to the contours of the leg. So I did cut my churidar on the bias. First lesson learned: to make bias cut churidar you need A LOT of material. Like maybe double the quantity of material you would normally use. I did not have this much material and had to use a different material to sew the top part of my churidar, but hey, no one will ever know! I will probably put up a tutorial on cutting and sewing bias cut churidar when I get the chance, but I basically used an existing churidar as the pattern.
Overall I am quite pleased with the finished outfit. The churidar could perhaps have been a bit tighter all over, and also I don’t like all the excess material that appeared in the top part of the churidar (will post pictures of that in the tutorial). The kameez was not very difficult to make. I just had to sew up the sides and attach some sleeves. As you will see from the pictures, this kameez came with the neckline already completed. I wish it was lined but, frankly, I could not be bothered to cut a huge amount of fabric to line it. I am considering making a separate slip instead.
We are off to India in about 10 days time, so maybe I will have an excuse to wear it then, if I don’t buy a zillion other new outfits when I am over there!