Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Winslow Culottes, Take Two

Don't you just love this whole ensemble?

I was so inspired by Teggy French's outfit, that I ordered the top and set out to make gingham culottes this past summer.  Here is my version:

Although I originally intended to copy Teggy French's look wholesale, my friend Carol suggested that I steer away from the cotton gingham used in Teggy's Vivetta skirt because of its tendency to look "Suzy Homemaker."  We searched the Garment District during Male Pattern Boldness Day back in August and came up with this beautiful houndstooth silk charmeuse.  I got the last of the bolt--2.5 yards.

Helen's Closet recommends 4 yards of 54" fabric for view D.  I barely squeezed the culottes out on 2.5 yards by abutting the straight edges and making a single cut.

I previously made the Winslows in a rayon challis here.  Although I always thought that natural fibers were king, I do prefer the drape of the rayon challis version to this latest silk version.   Plus, the challis is travel friendly because it doesn't need to be ironed.

I interfaced the waistband with muslin and used SewKeyse stay tape to interface the zipper area.  I sewed french seams throughout.

The crotch seams didn't line up perfectly because of my own error (I am sure).  Next time I will baste the pant back all the way from crotch to top back before inserting the zip.  Then I will interface and insert the zip, followed by sewing down the waistband.

The waistband is created by simply folding a rectangle in half.  If I make this again, I'd like to change the waistband to two pieces with the edge stitching on the inside facing piece. True Bias has a great tutorial for the Emerson pants.

I was pretty displeased with the stitch in the ditch on my first pair of Winslows, so I opted for a fell-stitched finish here.  Hand sewing produced a much neater result!

Not sure how much use I will get out of this outfit as it is a bit dressy.  The culottes are the proper length with heels but I was constantly worried I was going to trip over myself...;)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

"Glamorous and Fabulous" Kaftan in Thailand


The purpose of my February vacation to Thailand (more on that here) was to attend the Indian beach wedding of one of my oldest friends.  A multi-day Indian wedding can be a bit intimidating from a wardrobe perspective, especially if your only previous experience with a saree involved three YouTube videos and ended with running out the door in a skirt/blouse...

The dress code for the opening night party, Sangeet, specified "glamorous and fabulous."   I opted for an east-west fusion look with a vintage kaftan pattern I had been eyeing since seeing Closet Case Pattern's version in linen.


From the 70's, Simplicity 5310, is my first vintage pattern. Purchased on Etsy, the pattern is essentially two rectangles with armholes.

I used a full four yards of purple silk crepe de chine from Paron's in the Garment District.  The kaftan is unlined (I wore a slip), though in retrospect I should have lined it as the silk is not entirely opaque. 

My number one complaint about the instructions is that they did not specify the use of interfacing anywhere. Had I followed the instructions as-is, the folded over neckline with no interfacing would have looked decidedly "home ec."  Inventing my own instructions, I added silk organza to the back of the neckline and topstitched it in place by machine.  The trim covers the stitching. When I make this again, I plan to draft an all-in-one facing for the neckline.

Armholes basted and ready to be sewn

I also interfaced the armholes with silk organza and used a combination of fusible and silk organza along the waistband.


Instead of simple ties in the back interior of the dress, I created a back stay with purple petersham and a metal hook and bar.

I omitted the button hole at the back neck and just sewed it up straight, as there was plenty of room for my head to go through the neck opening.


Sewing by hand, I applied the trim to the waistband and around the neckline.  The trim is from East Coast Trimming in the Garment District and is the result of an impromptu shopping trip with Carol, Carolyn and Grace. (Thanks ladies!)

About the wedding itself?  From fireworks to performances by a troupe of lady boys(!!!) to the groom's arrival on an elephant...it was glamorous, fabulous and completely exhausting.  In the best of ways! Among the four events, I wore RTW to mehendi and the wedding ceremony, the kaftan to Sangeet, and my Asaka Kimono to the other evening event.



The Sunday morning wedding ceremony was Sikh, but the festivities also incorporated traditions from two other dharmic faiths: hindu (groom) and Buddhist (nod to Thailand).

Sikh Wedding Ceremony with incredible "chuppah" of orchids!  
Buddhist blessing by monks

 I loved oggling all of the beautiful sarees, lehenga cholis, kurtis, etc. and the beautiful fabrics, embellishments, and colors worn by many of the female guests.  Most of the men wore embellished linen kurtas (tunics), perfect for the sweltering heat.  I wonder if I can find an Indian fabric store in Jackson Heights??