Nakkashi Euphoria 11042 anarkali & co

And now for a change of pace, let’s finally catch up with a project finished last year, but was waiting for the matching slim trousers which I just finished… This is the Indian anarkali tunic outfit kit I bought last year:

Nakkashi Euphoria 11042

fabric for Churidar trousers + part-stitched Anarkali tunic + RTW Dupatta shawl

1. Anarkali Tunic ⇒ Shirt Dress / Light Flared Coat ✔

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted slim pants + Nakkashi dupatta shawl 2 Self-drafted tent dress;

Fabrics:

  • Loose weave Khadi shell fabric – this looks really similar to the raw silk gauze I used for Burda 2014-02-117 top (another one waiting to be blogged)
  • Poplin / Batiste lining

Design:

Originally I was going to leave this quite loose & robey as it vaguely reminds me of dreamy Pre-Rarobes. But Ms Practicality vetoed that idea. And I went back to something more like the original intended design. Ms Practicality also insisted that I make this tunic open front to maximise wearing opportunities. (Though in retrospect, the flared shape doesn’t really lend itself to being worn with front opened.)

Fitting:

  • Examining the marketing photo I saw that armhole bust darts were added to give the tunic a fitted silhouette. I followed suit & modified my Fitted Top Block to shift some of the bust shaping into a new armhole bust dart.
  • The bodice did not quite fit into the panels neatly. To minimize the number of vertical seams, I ended up removed the equivalent of one panel – front outer panel – at the side seam & kept the corresponding back outer panel for the underarm area – ie no proper side seams… kind of like in some tailored jackets.
  • Additional dart shaping (bust, waist, shoulder blade) were done at the existing panel seams with varied seam allowance widths.
  • For sleeves I used my more mobile Tunic Sleeve Block.
  • Hem were shorten for my less than modelesque stature (yielding scraps to squeeze out #2 Peplum Top below).

Construction:

Ms OCD demanded that I redo the collar, chest appliqué, hem border, and lining “properly” the Western way. So…

  • Collar & front opening were properly interfaced.
  • Chest appliqué reapplied incorporating bust shaping.
  • Hem border reapplied after everything else was done (saving me a chunk to squeeze out #3 Bustier Top below).
  • Lining flipped to hide the seam allowance the Western way. (So far I find that the Asian garments seems to favour exposed seam allowances even when the garment is lined. Someone told me it’s to facilitate alteration in case one gains weight. It’s less pretty in side, but certainly quicker to let out or take in. I guess I better not grow sideway any further now that I’ve hidden all the seams!)
  • Hooks & thread bars were used for front closure to minimize visual disruption to the design whether worn open or closed.

Now can I just moan about hooks a bit? I thought all hooks are equal. Apparently not. I bought a bunch of Hemline hook & eye fasteners that you’d find in all the sewing shops here in the UK. Trusted brand right? Nope. Total fail. They won’t stay closed, because the bump at the base of the hook is too shallow to properly do its job of stopping the thread bar or eye from slipping off. Maybe if the garment has negative ease – eg in a bra band or bustier – then this won’t be a problem as the busting tension would stop the hook & bar/eye from moving about. But given the positive ease in my tunic, it’s wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. Actually the hooks I recycled from old Victoria Secrets bras for my choli blouses also have the same problem of wanting to come undone. I only properly understood the problem when I examined a couple of custom made choli blouses I ordered from India: These have hooks with prominent bumps & are properly secure once done up. Annoyingly online shops don’t show profile photos of hooks they sell, so it’s impossible to tell which brand has the secure hook design with a proper gate-keeper bump.

1a. Anarkali Tunic scraps ⇒ Peplum Top

I wish I had scraps bigged enough to make Burda 2014-03-118 Square Neck Peasant Top. I didn’t. So I tried draping the scraps on Q to see if there’s even enough to cover Q’s modesty. Thankfully I did. This peplum top design is the result. The front, peplum, & back for each (L/R) half is one continuous piece of the excess length panelled hem from the tunic. The bodice sides & straps are from the tunic’s two excess front outer panels (minus length used for the shirt dress front opening facing).

As the fabric is loose woven & seemingly delicate, I will need to line the top. The lining scraps are not big enough, so a batiste from the Stash will have to be pressed into service.

While the neck opening is big enough to slip over my head, I want the waist to remain trim, so some sort of opening must be incorporated to make it possible to put on/take off the top. Back overlap with buttons perhaps?

Now I just need to figure out the construction… one day some day!

1b. Anarkali Tunic scraps ⇒ Bustier Top

The scrap hem border from the tunic just barely goes around my torso. As the embellishment is so lovely, it seems a shame to throw it away. Taking inspiration from a Dolce & Gabbana editorial & a Alexander McQueen F/W 2008 designs, I think I will turn this into a bustier. To bridge the gap in girth I’m going for a contrasting deconstructed aesthetic of exposed zipper, braided elastic, or hook & eye tape. To maximize wearability, I may add sleeves & peplum – or maybe make this a separate top to be worn under the bustier. I have nothing as fancy as McQueen’s silk tulle, so instead I’m going to use a plentiful cheap gauze from the Stash (formerly window drapes). Haven’t quite work out the pattern yet let alone construction. So yet another project joining the long queue.

2. Churidar Trousers ⇒ Slim Pants

Since the fabric is a stiff Jacquard, the usual Asian instructions for a drapier Churidar Trousers won’t work. So as you already know I turned this into a Western style slim trousers, doubling as wearable muslin for my new Slim Pants / Trousers Block to statisfy Ms Two-Bird-One-Stone.

2a. Churidar Trousers scraps ⇒ TBD

There’s enough fabric for something else… Something I haven’t yet decided, but probably a dress or a-line skirt because this stiff fabrc with no give needs plenty of ventilation.

3. Dupatta Shawl ⇒ TBD

This was readymade. But the rose coloured fabric is rather scratchy. So I initially added a dual-tone chiffon lining. But then it doesn’t drape as well anymore. So off the lining comes.

I think I will have to make this into something I may wear more often. I have way too many dupatta shawls for my Western lifestyle!

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Reversible Burda 2013-11-117 Jacket

Next up is the jacket. Because one was planned in my SWAP Fall/Winter 2014 even though I ended up using neither of the pattern candidates & was perfectly willing to sacrifice the idea of a jacket when I decided maybe a pull-over would suit this fabric better. I was lucky my frugal layout allowed me to squeeze in a Burda 2013-11-117 jacket which I had made once before.

The Pattern

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted mock-wrap skirt; 2 Self-drafted pencil skirt, Burda 2012-05-109 top; 3 Self-drafted petticoat skirt; 4 Self-drafted mock-wrap skirt, Burda 2015-10-109 sweater, Self-drafted hat, Self-drafted mittens;

Size Used

34 rather than recommended 36.

Changes Made

My starting point this time is the altered Burda 2013-11-117 I used for the Teal + Brown Floral Print Reversible Moto Jacket. To recap, part from modifying the bodice to fit my torso better, I also eliminated the peplum waist seams & changed the sleeve fit to a more conventional jacket sleeve look rather than the extra long & tighter fit of the Burda design. More details about these fitting alterations in this post.

Fitting changes
  1. The fit of that Teal/Brown jacket was a little bit off in the back neckline with a bump of fabric just below the CB neckline. Seems like the CB was too long & back neckline too wide.  Removing the equivalent of a vertical CB neckline dart + horizontal fish-eye dart seems to fix this (see photo illustrations above). The back neckline in the collar areas of the Center Fronts were shortened to match.
  2. The back collar wasn’t sitting right, exposing the back neckline seam. Pivoting at the shoulder-neck point & effectively increasing the length of the outer / bottom edge of the collar seems to fix this.
  3. Although the waistline is technically correct where it was, my low-hanging boobs & short-torso above waist make this placement look unbalanced. My intention to lengthen the bodice got lost in the piles of pattern alterations, so I had to extend the narrowest bit of the bodice down a bit instead. Still look a bit off though.
  4. Narrowed back waist a little bit for a less-boxy fit.
Design changes
  1. Zip closure on both sides

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

2-steps a

  • Again, apart from the general sewing problems I had with this fabric, the other main tricky bit are the zipper princess seams. I did these the same way I put in the zipper on the skirt – with mock flatlock seams that are essentially overlocked edges to fake the flatlock look, then zipper & princess seams assembled with hand fell-stitches. The rest again is fairly straightforward, though the shoulder – back neckline – shoulder seams were much harder to flatlock than the teal / brown jacket because of the spongy fabric.
  • And the Oops?
    • Well, I forgot that the two zippers should be one on each side of the reversible jacket. I was so smug having neatly inserted both zippers on the orange side – it looked so satisfyingly symmetrical. Thank God I basted & tried on & discovered I couldn’t zip both zippers this way. Rip & redo time!
    • The other drama came in form of zipper tape choice. Originally I was going to use the tape from Quest Outfitter’s waterproof one-way separating zipper. This has one presentable shiny side which I thought could do away with the need for something to hide the zipper tape & finish the collar edge on the reverse (black) side. Unfortunately separating tapes always has the slider on the left side of the teeth. So I couldn’t reverse it & still get the same look for left & right sides of the jacket. I had to go back to a standard separating tape that looks the same on both sides of the tape and petersham ribbon to cover the zipper tape / finish the collar edge on the revers (black) side. All this added lots of extra waiting time &  shipping costs. Bah.

The Verdict

It’s OK. I would have liked the jacket a little bit longer. And I was all out of ideas in terms of styling. But I know I’ll wear it plenty. Just like I wore the Teal/Brown version plenty. It’s so comfy without the usual tailoring that goes into a standard jacket. And it’s got just the right amount of lux (thanks to the fabric) & edge (thanks to the pattern) to keep me happy.

But I think next time I want a biker style jacket I might try a new pattern. Two of  this huge collar one are probably enough for a while. Maybe when these two are ready to go to garment heaven then I might make this pattern again.

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Fall-Winter 2014 SWAP … batch 4 designs

OK, talk about indecisiveness, this batch is the worst.
And I blame it on all on Chanel.

batch 4 designs
batch 4 inspirations

This one starts with the fabric. Dark olive bouclé from B&J I believe. I can’t remember why I got it. topshop-boucleIt may be been inspired by a Top Shop coat with fake fur collar that I wore to death. (The lining is in tatter. I’ve meant to redo the lining for the longest time. But who like doing such mend & alteration right?) Anyway, 8 years later and I still haven’t done anything with the fabric.

Now bouclé is a fabric with such heavy cultural baggage. Have you seen much that isn’t the Little French Jacket? And the Little French Jacket has been so done on the sewing blogsphere that I feel I’ve made thousands of them already even though I’ve made none. Besides, this green doesn’t really scream Chanel to me. I have another bouclé (a magenta) that I might eventually make into a Little French with a Twist. But only after the craze has died down. (Any chance of that?)

The only alternative I’ve seen a few times is biker style jacket. I’m not really feeling it with this color. So trolling through my magazine clippings I uncovered a couple of gems that seems like the perfect (literal) matches (I’m very imaginative that way wink wink). They’re the inspirations for Design 1 & 5.

  1. I really like Design 1 from Peter Som. I can’t quite decide if it’s edgy or dowdy. I like that tension. I’m even inspired to incorporate chamomile organza contrast binding into mine.
  2. Continuing on the slightly retro theme is Design 2 inspired by an Advance sewing pattern illustrated in Blueprints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1950s. I like the sack in the back with slim belting in the front. Best of both world? But Croquis is not looking lovely.
  3. Another retro look is Design 3 a proper 60s (?) suit for the Lady who Lunches. I’m sure I got that yellow suited inspiration photo from Tatler the UK society mag. But Croquis is looking tubby.
  4. Design 4 is my reluctant attempt to give LFJ a go. I won’t I can’t do bog standard LFJ uniform. This shrunken one featured in Vogue (?) at least is a tad rebellious. But not sure about the buttons on the breast pockets. Might be a bit too in your face. And I’m not sure it works in the dark color I have.
  5. Design 5 I like (probably partly because it’s shown on an Asian model that I can pretend to be). But I can’t see the rest of it. So I’m imagining that it looks something like Simplicity 2508. It’s a design that I can potentially add a detachable fake fur / shearling collar to (if I have enough left over from the fake shearling aviator hat!) But do I have enough of this bouclé fabric for a coat length jacket? Because I do also want to make…

Tada! Another princess pencil skirt. Don’t ask. I don’t even wear them that much lately. But I did make another textured (boiled) wool pencil skirt a long time ago that again I wore to death. I’m hoping for a repeat success. I’m thinking of continuing the chamomile organza contrast binding from the jacket / coat into the skirt.

And the candy cane stripe is just thrown in to remind myself I need to make more of those classy Breton Ts that I wear to death (again).

I’m leaning towards Design 1 or 5. If I wear the Breton  stripe T with Design 1 and the pencil skirt, would I look ready for Santa’s Elf Crew you think?

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Fall-Winter 2014 SWAP … batch 3 designs

So while we have the green jersey leftover out, on the off chance that there’s more leftover after the green fake suede jacket, we have more designs that make use of it. I’m really going for it now – Stash busting that is. Three of the fabrics in this batch have been in the Stash since before I even moved to London. They must be over 20 years old now!

batch 3 designs
batch 3 inspirations

So step up candidate heather blue sweater / rib jersey, dark teal jersey, and whatever’s left of the apple green jersey. I think all three were from NY Elegant.

I’ve always wanted the rib one to be a cardigan. But I’m not sure if I could make it work. Normally cardigans have two sizes of knit – bigger ribs for the hem, cuffs, and maybe collar / front button band; and finer knit for the bodice & sleeves. It’s neigh on impossible to find such made-in-heaven pairs from fabric stores. (I’ve tried recently with plans for brown and black cardigans. So many different browns. So many shades of blacks!) I’m not sure yet how I’m going to solve this one. I might just cut the hem & cuffs smaller and ease in the bodice & sleeves. Or I might try this fake ribbing technique from an old Threads article which The Sewing Diva demonstrated here.

In any case, the inspiration is Vivienne Westwood (again!). Her orb logo cardigan and cardi-short (???) I’m obviously turning the cardi-short into a cardi-skirt. I highly doubt I’ll get much wear out of a cardi-short. The skirt I’m planning fake front opening. Don’t want any wardobe malfunctioning now do we.

The dark teal jersey I’m thinking a Sybilla F/W 1989 inspired tie-front jacket. And another shrug collar top which I might be able to wear under the matching jacket? And if I’m really lucky and have enough leftover, maybe this color-blocked zip-front top inspired by Peter Pilotto S/S 2012 and based on Burdastyle 2013-06-124 zip-up tank.

Going back to the fake suede theme, the last two in this batch is for the most heavenly fake suede like drapy fabric I found in NY Elegant. So soooooft. Not sure the designs I pick are right for it. The fabric might be too limp. On the other hand maybe a limp drapy fabric would be the best candidate for experimenting with blocky oversized top like this Dolce & Gabbana F/W 2013 drop-shoulder T inspiration. Maybe it’ll mold to the figure rather than box it. And I’ve been yearning for a fake suede or leather slim pants. The inspiration here is Patrone 325 #15. (I’ve been rather unlucky with my Patrone subscription. The year I subscribed they have hardly any that seem designery or editorial. Lots of casual wear which doesn’t really inspire me or suit my lifestyle. Where did all the designer knock-offs go!!!???) In any case, OMG, imagine the feel of this buttery fabric on my legs, OMG, will I be able to get anything done while wearing it? And isn’t it about time I face my fear of pants fitting?

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Fall-Winter 2014 SWAP … batch 2 designs

Now in no particular orders, the rest of my SWAP inspirations & designs batch by batch. This batch is all about fake suede!


It started long ago with an A-line real suede skirt I owned. I loved its casual chic but couldn’t cope with the exorbitant cleaning bill. So when it became unpresentably dirty I donated it to the charity shop for someone more resourceful to clean and enjoy. But I vowed to replace it with a fake suede version.

faux-suede-bolero-08The next step was getting the fake suede fabric. I found it in the home decor fabric shop that used to be in the basement of ABC Carpets in NYC.  Perhaps it’s not the best fake suede for garments – it’s a bit stiff and spongy, even after many washings. But I got seduced by the soothing colors and velvety texture. I ended up with 4 colors! One I actually already made into a self-drafted bolero jacket that I didn’t blog. It was a style without much drape, so passable in this fabric. I think my A-line skirt should be OK too. The rust color skirt in mood board above looks fairly similar to the one I’m trying to recreate.

But what to do with the leftover green fake suede? Because it was bought for the skirt, I’m not sure I’ll have enough for a full matching jacket. So I’m thinking a moto jacket like the brown one in the mood board, with sleeves cut from a green jersey leftover from this top.

For the pale blue version of this fake suede I decided to go pencil…well, because I get easily bored? Two similarly shaped skirt in the same fabric in similar tones seems too much of a good thing! I picked princess line shaping again because I’m worried darts will look pointy in this stiff spongy fabric. Again for added interest I’m going for a single front princess slit. And since this adds asymmetrical already I went the whole hog for asymmetry at the waist as well.

Actually, it looks a lot like Burdastyle 2013-09-105 slit skirt apart from converting all darts to princess lines. I might make the matching belt removable so I can get a smooth line under untucked tops and add the belt back for tucked tops. Without the belt details the design just looks a bit off. Even for me!

And since I have a bit more of this blue fabric than the green one, I think I should be able to make a matching jacket as well. But I’m undecided about which design to go for: Burdastyle 2014-02-115 structured peplum top/jacket or Burdastyle 2013-08-113 puff sleeve jacket. I’m leaning towards the puff sleeve despite being paranoid about having wider shoulder than hip (and therefore theoretically should avoid anything that exaggerates the shoulder). In my croquis drawing at least, I tried hiding my shoulder width in the puff sleeve – ie bring the shoulder points in a little bit so the puff goes over the natural curves over my arm joinst rather than stick out & away. Not sure if the fabric would behave this way in real life. But if I succeed, then maybe I’ll look as tall & trim as this virtual me. Comparing the two croquis, I think this one creates a more upward visual effect by breaking the body into a series of narrower vertical blocks. That’s it for my design theory of the day anyway. What do you think? Have you ever abused design tricks to reshape your body without the knives?

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