Now being fully inspired, I started doing some research as this is totally new territory for me. Since I was making the outfit for the little one, I figured it would only be appropriate if I made one for myself too. After doing some web surfing, I settled on a few websites that seemed to contain the most information and to be well researched. If I was entering this as an A&S piece, I would go to the sources and verify everything. As I’m not and this is a piece I would like historically accurate, because I choose too, but don’t want to spend months before getting started, I feel confident enough in the end product by relying on these sources of information. So here starts my attempt to make an early 16th century Ottoman Turks woman’s and child’s outfits.
I started with the pants or “Salwar”. I liked the fabric for my daughter so much, that I bought the same material for me to make mine. It’s just a great weight, feels super soft, and the pattern is fantastic! I followed the pattern an directions provided at http://sca.berkeley.edu/garment_pattern/turkish_salwar.html . I then tried them on to make sure I had the waist in the right area because I didn’t want the rise to be to short in the back and create issues when sitting or bending nor did I want the rise all the way down to my knees.
At this time, I noticed the pants were so big and bulky every, that I felt like I was wearing an awkward pair of Hammer pants made for someone at least 3 times my size. At least the rise was right. I also noticed that they hung down so low that they pooled on the floor. It was time to re-evaluate this pattern.
In reading through the documentation on Women’s Ottoman Clothing found at http://home.earthlink.net/~al-qurtubiyya/Otto_Fem_Cloth/ottofemcloth.html regarding the Salwar, the article calls them Shalvars, I noticed a picture of an extant pair. I found two things interesting upon comparing my pants and the extant. First, the extant appears to have a fitted waist. I have no idea how they would close it. Perhaps buttons up the front? Second, the line of the pants going up from the ankle to the rise is narrower and more curved in the extant than that produced by the pattern.
I decided I really liked the idea of the draw string waist, which would make it more adaptable to body changes, so I didn’t mess with that. I did however change the cut of line for the pants going from the ankle to the rise to more accurately match the extant. I took off roughly 4 inches per gore, a total of 8 per leg in tightening and narrowing the curve of the Salwar. When I rechecked the fit, it was still plenty baggy, as it should be in the hips and thighs, but was nowhere near as bulky between my legs and tapered nicely around the calves and ankles without pooling to the floor.
I found this to be the case with my daughter’s pair as well and made the necessary adjustments, trying to leave sufficient growing room for her. The photo’s show the before and after changes on her pair. It looks like a HUGE difference, but I only removed a small amount of the excess in creating the curve. The impact however was amazing as they went from looking like harem pants, to having the proper drape and fit.