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!