Thursday, 5 November 2015

Genie Pants aka Patiala Salwar

A few years ago, I picked up a salwar kameez outfit at a thrift store because the pants (aka salwar) were a beautiful draped style I had never seen before.  Upon further research, I found that they were a style called patiala.   Sadly, the suit had been made for a person significantly shorter and rounder than I, and so am not able to wear the lovely outfit as is.  However, as you can see I was able to reverse engineer the pattern and make myself a casual day wear, elastic waist version of the pants.

Interestingly, the pattern pieces are mostly rectangles and triangles or combinations of the two which can be cut in such a way to produce nearly zero waste.  For this pair, I used almost every single square inch of a 50" wide, 2.5 meter long piece of fabric, and around 100" of fabric were fit into a 44" waistband.  As you can imagine, a thin and lightweight fabric is key!  Different hands with give you different looks, so good drape is not necessary unless that is the style you want: a Google search will show you various options.  I used a mystery fabric which looks similar to a light sandy coloured pre-wrinkled linen.  The hope is that these can be wash and wear.

I think my favourite part of these pants, other than the awesome drape and comfy-ness is the cuffs.  They need to be pretty sturdy to help the pants hang and to stand up to wear, so they are interfaced with heavyweight interfacing (inserting a grosgrain ribbon is an alternative) and decorated with fancy stitching.  This gave me a chance to test out some combinations of my decorative stitches to come up with a pretty pattern.  I went with gold denim topstitching thread in the top thread.

Some construction notes:

Even though you are using what feels like an ocean of fabric, they are pretty quick and easy to make.  I cut out the pieces in about half and hour, and even with making every seam a French seam, pinning out the pleats three times to get them to sit correctly, and changing waistband elastics, I was finished sewing by just after lunch the next day. Accuracy is a a total non issue as well.

I had originally planned on using a 4" wide waistband elastic but it did not look good.  It stuck out at the top of my hip, felt stiff and looked clunky.  I replaced it with 2" elastic which is thick enough to deal with the weight of the pleats, but thin enough to conform to the hips.

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