Way back in August we visited India for a short holiday. In terms of clothing for women in India, things have changed a lot in the years that I have been visiting (over the last 40 years). Whilst women – especially women over a certain age – are still expected to dress in a modest fashion, especially in the smaller cities, towns and villages, wearing more modern styles is acceptable. I can not recall my mum ever wearing a salwar kameez (long top over loose bottoms). She would always wear a traditional saree with a short blouse underneath (more typically worn by Indian women rather than salwar kameez which was favoured by Pakistani/ north Indian women). But more than that, the availability of ready to wear outfits and the range of sizes (including plus sizes) has vastly improved. All this to say, I made a couple of kameez tops and three pairs of churidar legging bottoms in anticipation of not being able to readily find anything in the town we were visiting, but I was pleasantly surprised.
In terms of the patterns used for the kameez tops, I have made both of these patterns before. For the block printed cotton kameez I used McCalls 6885. You can see my first version of this pattern here and my second version here.
The alterations I made to this version were that I did a 1 inch full bum adjustment and I shortened the sleeves by 4 inches. Just to add a bit of interest I used a plain contrasting cotton lawn from my stash for the inner collar stand and the under placket.
For the white cotton (voile?) version I used Simplicity 8295. You can see my first version of this pattern here. For this version I dropped the bust dart down by 1 inch, shortened the sleeve by 2 inches, lengthened view B by 14 inches and omitted the sleeve plackets/ cuffs etc.
Sorry, I know you can’t see the detail very clearly, but I added an off-white mini pompom trim around the placket, again, just for a little added interest. Also, I made a soft cotton lawn Ogden cami slip to wear under this kameez. You can read all about my first Ogden cami dress and thoughts on that pattern here.
Now a quick word on my self drafted churidar bottoms. They are essentially extra long leggings. The extra length of bunched up fabric at the ankles/ calves is supposed to be flattering. I basically traced the pattern off an existing pair of RTW churidar bottoms I had and eliminated the outer side seams. Gosh, so easy to sew using a combination of overlocker and sewing machine to finish hems/ elastic. I whipped the three different pairs that you can see in these photographs in no time and am super pleased with them.
The one thing I will say is that I made my churidar bottoms from viscose-lycra (I think 4 way stretch). This was because I found cotton-lycra to be rather expensive (you can’t help but compare to the cost of these items you can buy in India!) The viscose is very soft and comfortable, but I think I would prefer the cotton-lycra if making again. The viscose is a tad thin and I think a cotton-lycra would just hold up better.