Years ago, when I was attending my very first SCA events with my friend Deb (who then moved away, I lost interest, and it was only years later that I gave the SCA another go…) I was looking to make some cool costumes.
I don’t even remember how I came across the Ghawazee coat / vest, though I did end up buying a bunch of coin scarves and belts and things, and took a few belly dancing classes at different events, so I suspect the whole (fairly modern) belly dance + SCA thing was a bit of a trend at the time.
Now of course, I am much more interested in documentable styles, and the Ghawazee coat / vest, although worn by a lot of “tribal” belly dance enthusiasts (we won’t get into the word “tribal” here), is WELL past SCA period, and the only visual documentation for it appears to be from the early 1800s.
However, without the interest in research, it means I likely was looking at what other people were wearing and just making stuff that looked similar. This means I ended up making a Ghawazee vest that I actually really liked – and started on this pink one which I never ended up finishing!
Well, with the early June 2021 heat wave (which lasted about a week), I wanted to spend as much time in my basement as I could during the day – so ended up digging through my UFO (UnFinished prOjects) pile, and pulled out the long-forgotten pink Ghawazee vest.
This is a dark pink cotton (possibly a cotton/linen blend?) which coordinated with a number of pink/red/purple items I had made at the same time originally (some of which are way more period-correct shapes, so are still part of my SCA wardrobe). It’s trimmed in dark blue commercial bias tape, and I have some couching on the hem in a yarn that is actually so close that it’s hard to see at all.
All I really needed to do to finish this garment was the buttons and buttonholes….
(yes… that’s how little of a factor that will take to pop something into the UFO pile… thanks ADHD)
So, after pulling it from my pile, I dug through my button stash (it’s normal to have a file box full of buttons, right?) and found 5 buttons I liked for this style (I wanted a sew-through button, not a shank, and although I would have preferred silver tone, gold tone works too) that had been rescued from a discarded garment.
However…. my sewing machine needs some help – and the buttonhole setting isn’t currently working.
So, I asked my mum if I could use hers, spent some time fiddling and watching a youTube video to figure out how to work it (she’s never used that setting), and…. oh my. It was kind of a disaster. So many resets, and the two sides of the stitches aren’t the same! (Maybe hers needs servicing too?) I ended up still having to take the garment to my machine and fixing the buttonholes on my machine with a simple narrow zig zag anyways.
.. so yeah… that UFO pile factor was justified I think.
Once I sewed the buttons on (and dropped fray check on them and the buttonholes) it was all done, and I took it outside for some quick photos.
I’m wearing a semi-supportive under dress, and the vest in these, and with that – not bothering to wear a bra. I’m actually kind of happy with how much support the dress plus vest provides!
I chose not to style it all belly-dance style for photos (mostly because I was running out of daylight) and honestly I don’t even know if I’m going to keep it. I’m not really interested in belly dancing, I don’t costume for the 1800s, and if I do a belly dance Halloween or fancy-dress party costume (like the Sultan’s Tent party from 2011), I’d want something cuter. I could certainly wear it UNDER other things just for the layers, but it’s not period-correct to wear and be fully visible. It might just go into the bin with some of the other things I like-but-don’t-love.
Patterns & inspiration
I cut this out so long ago that I definitely don’t have the pattern anymore, but I self-drafted this. However, while looking to find the correct spelling – I came across a few other bloggers/sites you can check out if you’re looking to make your own.
- Shushanna posted about making a pattern and sewing your own, along with some history of the garment.
- The Costume Goddess has a brief description about adapting an existing pattern for this style.
- Alter Years has a pattern for sale at Patterns of Time.
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