Digging around in my sewing supplies this morning I came up with this sample of my oldest piece of embroidery work, circa 1972. I drew a bird I hoped would look something like an eagle on a piece cut from an old pair of jeans and, using single strands of embroidery thread, began to fill in the outlines. It's not perfect but it's sweet in its own way and I only mention it because embroidery may well be part of my new project to make an Indian inspired outfit or two.
These things take time but I now have several yards of fabric spread out in front of me ready to be cut and sewn into a salwar (baggy pants with narrow legs). The real ones from India turn out to have huge openings at the top that must be tied with a cord - and no pockets! I'm fairly slim but no woman wants to tie a great mass of extra yardage around her middle. Western designers discovered darts, pleats, inset pockets and zippers a long time ago so I searched and found a pattern I can use. Yes, I'll be lengthening the legs. Yes, I'm using a pattern. Once I used to be able to lay out material and just start cutting but it's been too long. Now I have to cheat by using patterns at least to get the measurements right. When you're sewing there's nothing worse than putting in a sleeve only to find it isn't wide enough to get your hand through, never mind a whole arm. It's all pinned and ready to go but I'm sitting here typing because I'm nervous about cutting. It seems so final.
I needed something straightforward to use as a base pattern for the kameez dress and I found this one after another fairly long search. As you can see there are a lot of possibilities for modifying this design to my hearts content. Piecing will be easy and so will shortening or turning one into a long jacket with buttons down the front or from the shoulder. Embroidery and beading may take a bit longer.
I'll probably cut up a couple of the big silk scarves I've made to use as lining and accents on the kameez - particularly a jacket I have in mind - but I don't want to make something all of silk because it's too light and I'd feel silly walking around Halifax (or anywhere else) in a pair of silk pj's. Instead, I've decided to use rayon. Did you know it's also a natural fiber? It's very soft and dense and drapes beautifully.
Well, even if I get bored with the whole idea I'm now committed to making at least one. If it works out okay you'll see the results in time. Maybe by then I'll be building a stick figure model to hang it on. You don't expect me to see me wearing it, do you?