Archive | April 14, 2017

New pattern! Salwar Kameez and Angarkha

Salwar & Angarkha pattern

This week’s pattern is Salwar Kameez and Angarkha.  This is kind of tricky because Salwar is also spelled Shalwar and Angarkha is also spelled Angrakha.  I went with the spelling that google auto corrected the alternate spelling to ^^; 

ANYHOO, if you’ve been following me even a little, you probably know that I’m as big a fan of sampling different cultures’ fashions as much as I am of sampling their cooking 🙂  And, while the saying ‘fashion is cyclical’ is true, fashion also diffuses across cultures just like any other idea (or recipe!).  Like tempura!  Most of us think of tempura as a totally Japanese thing, but until fairly recently it was considered foreign cooking (in Japan) because frying is a technique they imported from Euro cuisine.  And don’t get me started on tomatoes (a new world crop) in Italian cooking!  Tracing shapes and fabrics in sewing is like following ingredients in cooking: you’ll be surprised where the history takes you!

This fashion pack is to highlight some of the clothes from the Indian subcontinent.  With a lot of Asian cultures, you can trace back the national costumes to various periods in China’s history (ex. the Korean hanbok and Japanese kimono). Over time, they gradually diverge and become their own distinct thing.  Because of geography, the Indian subcontinent has not had as much cross-cultural contamination so it’s a little more unique.

Now, when you think about India, you’re probably imagining the sari. While the sari is pretty gorgeous, it’s more draped than tailored, which would make it very hard for most people to manage in miniature.  It also hasn’t really caught on, globally.  But there are other clothes that have!  India is HUGE, and even bigger before British colonialization subdivided the area.  There’s a ton local diversity.

The salwar suit originated as a unisex garment in the Punjabi region of India and is big in western India/Pakistan.  It consists of the salwar (bloomers) and kameez (tunic).  The traditional bloomers are tight at the ankle and loos around the hips, which doesn’t work so well for layering doll clothes.  Fortunately, most modern gals prefer churidar, which are like extra long skinny jeans that bunch up at the calves like leggings and work way better on dolls.  (Actually, most of the local girls I see wearing this *have* swapped out for spandex leggings or skinny jeans. )

Angarkha is more like a wrap dress.  You really should google image search it because it’s one of those fluttery things that you can’t quite do justice to in miniature.  The skirt is composed of a ton of sewn together darts instead of gathered fabric to make the skirt flow out, and is covered in ornate decoration.  SO pretty <3 Instead of in the west, you’ll find in more in the north: Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh (and, as it’s geographically closer, it’s a little more obviously related to Chinese fashion). 

So how do these fashions show up globally?  Easy!  Forget the fabric, and look at the basic structure: a tunic and leggings.  A wrap dress and leggings.  I’ve gotten tons of requests for these fashions over the past year, and I’ve seen them every time I go to the mall.  They’re made with different fabric combinations and called ‘boho chic’ but structurally, they’re pretty much the same thing.  Hippy/Boho fashion has been borrowing these styles since the 60s.  We’ve been wearing them and adapting them so long we forgot that they came from somewhere else, just like tempura and tomatoes!

/end fashion history lesson

A note for next week: I’m having the carpet replaced in my office, so everything has to go (and then everything has to be brought back and put away…) so I’ll be checking most of my emails and Etsy messages on my phone.  A pattern will be released like normal (I already finished it except for the written instructions!), I just will be a tad slower in responding to messages because I’ll be typing them on my phone. 

Have an awesome weekend everyone!