In May 2022 my very good friend Helga won the Coronet for the Principality of the Mists in the West (Bay Area California) by her own hand (this happened to be the same Mists Coronet where I became a member of the Order of the Pelican). I was sad that my family is now living so far away (South Carolina) and that I would not be able to help with their reign (they’re doing a non-Western European “pirate-without-saying-pirate” reign) so I asked if I could make some clothing for Them.
Helga confided that she had always though that Hans (pronounced Hans-a AKA: Apex Murder Peacock) would look smashing dressed as “that guy from ‘The Mummy'”.
Initially I thought they meant the mummy (honestly it’s been nearly a decade (correction.. nearly three decades.. damn, I feel old) since I had watched the movie) and I agreed he’d look smashing in a fancy loin cloth.. but then they reminded me of the character Ardeth Bay who was played by Oded Fehr. When I went back and re-watched the movie and I totally got it. That said.. I still think His Highness would look smashing in a fancy loincloth **eyebrow waggle**.
H-okay. So before we begin. I am NOT an expert on this. Before this project I knew NOTHING about non-Western European clothing. Now I know a tiny itty bitty bit. I am leaning heavily on the expertise of others and I often don’t have enough experience to sort the good information from the suspect information.
That said, I have decided to call this a kaftan. I also decided to focus on Ottoman clothing and use that and the inspiration images to inform the garment I created. Lastly, since I did not have my subject available locally I leaned heavily on tried-and-true patterns I KNEW would work up to a flattering garment without need of additional fittings.
To that end, I used my Conjectural late 14th/15th century men’s cotehardie pattern for the body portion (+ 1/2″ on each side of the center front openings). To that I added a collar (integrated in the back piece, and attached to the front) cribbed heavily from a pattern from The Modern Maker vol 2. For the sleeves I use a basic boxy rectangular sleeve that tapered a bit to the wrist.
I also knew that this garment is primarily going to be worn in California.. and it’s hella hot there right now. So I decided to make this out of a single layer of heavy linen. The inspiration had some interesting details with black flat braid sewn in intervals along the sleeve. After a long search of several brick and mortar stores I ended up finding the trim I wanted, 3/8″ wide cotton flat braided trim at Cheeptrims.com (they require a minimum order of $100 so I now have A LOT of that flat braid. I have since found it here with a minimum of 200 yards ($40) or a bit more expensive on Etsy).
It sounds easy when I write it out here but I REALLY spent a lot of time trying to figure out the details of what pattern to use, what material to use and how I wanted to sew it together. Once I’d decided on the details the actual construction went very quickly. Details settled on 8/16 and garment finished on 9/2 and received via snail mail 9/6. It was then worn at Their Mists Coronet 9/9-9/11/2022.
What should this be worn under this?
The period correct answer seems to be that under this Ottoman men would wear a Zıbın (hip-length under jacket) over their gömlek (full length or hip-length white linen shirt) over their Çakşır (trousers which narrow at the knee/ankle).
The SCA correct answer (especially when dealing with temperatures of +100° F is possibly a sleeveless vest-like garment over a white linen shirt (or just a white linen shirt if it’s hellishly hot) over pants.
Black linen kaftan
short standing collar
3/8″ wide black cotton flat braid used for details
rectangular sleeves with ties added (like the inspiration garment)
loops and buttons down the front made of the same trim as the ties on the sleeves (as seen on many Ottoman kaftans)
hems finished with something a bit fancy (so that when the edges show there’s a glint of sparkle)
Fancy sparkle is a synthetic so the whole garment is machine washable
- (done) Settle on pattern
- (done) Settle on how I wanted to sew the garment together
- (done) Cut garment out of Black Linen (Fabrics-store.com 4C22)
- (done) Sew black braid onto sleeves
- (done) Stitch sleeves closed
- (done) Stitch body of garment (I stitched it and then folded the seam allowance out and used my machine’s hidden hem foot to hold it down. Do not love. Next time I’ll do a flat-felled seam with the fold on the inside of the garment).
- (done) Cut bias strips of sparkly synthetic
- (done) Attach bias strips at hems (front, bottom, slit up the center-back). Flip the strips so that the bias piece is entirely on the inside of the garment. Stitch edge of bias strip down with hidden hem foot/stitch.
- (done) Sew black braid loops and knotted buttons onto the front of the garment
- (done) Sew sleeves to garment
- (done) Mail out garment with pattern, black embroidered hard kufi hat (I got from Amazon) and black turban fabric (I got from Etsy).
Overall I’m pleased with how it came out. I’ve been told that it fit “perfect” (which since it was drafted based on two measurements (Chest and Waist) and his height is still something that thrills me when dealing with bara based patterns).
Next time I will make a kaftan longer. A lot of the Ottoman men’s images show the corners of the front opening tucked into the belt (showing off the lining). At the current length I’m not sure it will work correctly to tuck that same way. I think it needs about 8-18 inches in length.
I don’t like the construction seam I ended up using. It works but I think I would have liked it better if I’d use a flat-felled seams with the folded edge on the inside of the garment.
The sleeves ended up a bit tighter to the arm than I would have liked. I’ll have to play with that on future kaftans.
That said, he looks fabulous! A very pretty pretty (murder-y) prince.