Friday, 25 July 2014

Ottoman costume - progress of a sort

An early post this week, as I won't have the opportunity to post it on Sunday.

Not for the first time while making this costume, I found myself looking at something laid out on the table and thinking, "My, that's an 'interesting' shape". The latest candidate is the cotton lining for my entari/caftan, which is also doubling as a toile for the outer layer.


Ottoman caftans are described as being 'bell-shaped', unlike Persian caftans, which have smoother lines. This example shows the shape particularly well. (Apologies that I don't have any more details for this image).

15th century Ottoman caftan

Even though I need some extra width to accommodate the gathered bulk of the excessively wide trousers, this is taking things a bit far. The illustration that comes with the pattern seems to suggest that some sort of pleating occurs, so I think I'll experiment with that.

Looks like pleats to me (she says, hopefully)

While I pondered what exactly to do with my big curvy side pieces, I thought I'd get on with the hat. I have an embroidered hat of Mr Tulip's which is exactly the right dimensions, so I worked from that.

Hat inspiration

As I no longer need all of the patterned fabric of the shalwar kameez suit set for a wide sash, I used some of it to make the hat. A pillbox hat should be perfectly simple to make; a strip of fabric sewn round a circle of fabric, right? I did just that, with some interfacing sewn in to stiffen it. Unfortunately when I tried the first attempt on, it looked as though the band narrowed from the top down. The effect was a brimless version of this hat, not at all the look I was after!

The Arnolfini Wedding by Jan van Eyck

When I looked at Mr Tulip's hat properly, it was obvious that there was a slight gather where the band meets the top. I did this to my hat, and it looked much better.

To trim the hat I dug out some red and gold braid which had been lurking in my stash for years. It was surprisingly heavy. When I inspected it, I discovered that the red and gold 'cords' which are unravelling in the botton left of the photograph are actually fine wire round tightly round a thick cotton core. Adding a bit of weight to the hat is no bad thing, as it is currently very light and flimsy.

Braid to trim the hat

The duppata which came with the shalwar kameez will be pinned onto the hat. The last time I tried using a dupatta as a veil for dancing, I discovered that although it looked very light, it actually had the floaty properties of sheet lead - reasonable really, as the whole point of a dupatta is that you don't want it to blow away! So, I can be reasonably sure that my headgear isn't going to go anywhere.

The gomlek (shift) is a very simple T-shaped tunic with underarm and side gussets. It should be slightly longer, but making it this length allowed me to get both the body and sleeve parts cut out with a selvedge at the hem. The construction is by machine, but all the seams are finished by hand, as I find that this gives a softer result. The neck opening is hand-finished as well. I hadn't sewn the buttons on when this photograph was taken.

Almost-completed gomlek

The medieval fair all this is being made for is a weekend event. I hate wearing the same shift two days running, so I've had to make two of them. That's a lot of hand-finishing.

So now back to the coat and its huge pleats.

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