Ottoman Capsule

Lifting my hems to show off the Shalwar of my Ottoman Empire costume

Lifting my hems to show off the Shalwar of my Ottoman Empire costume

My Ottoman ‘wardrobe’ is a great contender to look at expanding piece-by-piece because it has many layers which can be worn interchangeably. This should work very well for an Ottoman Empire capsule wardrobe.

I only have one full outfit right now, but could easily duplicate pieces to expand the wardrobe.
The current wardrobe includes:

  • White linen underdress
  • Orange/pink silk block-printed vest
  • Hot pink linen block-printed coat
  • Navy pants
  • Bright blue and teal silk hat
  • Jewellery


The existing colourway for my Ottoman Empire costume wardrobe

The existing Ottoman wardrobe colourway

The only real colour story here is “bright”. I think that if I were to make new pieces in pink, blue, or orange, I’d be able to mingle in new pieces as long as the shades were not identical.

On the SCA Clothing & Culture Facebook page, one of the members identified that “the vast majority of clothes were solid coloured”, and that the most popular colours were red and blue. The poster also noted that there was a lot of green and yellow. Another note was that they preferred strong colours and lots of contrast. I won’t say that this is overwhelming evidence… but honestly since this is not my primary area of interest, I’m willing to run with that for the time being.

The colour palette was created from a site called ColorMunki. Of course, the colours aren’t 100%, because they were based on my memory and what I was seeing on my screen… and every screen is a bit different.

Potential new pieces

I feel like the fabric will really be what speaks to me in making new garments for this wardrobe. I feel like I will most likely focus on duplicating the coat and vest, rather than the (unseen generally) pants, or utilitarian underdress – though at some point the underdress will need replacing if for no other reason than fit and wear.

iPhone selfie in my Turkish Ottoman Empire costume

iPhone selfie in the completed outfit

I think I’ll keep an eye out for fabrics that speak to me for:

  • A bold/bright blue coat
  • A bold/bright blue/green vest
  • Possibly a green hat
  • A new white linen underdress

I’ll largely look for silks for the clothing and linen for the linings of the coat and vest. I’m also keen on more block-printing, but will likely go with higher-contrast colours than I’ve already used.

Going outside of this colourway, I would also consider a red coat block printed with yellow motifs… once the blue/green vest is already complete (because I don’t think it would work well with the orange one).

What’s next?

selfie in my Turkish Ottoman Empire costume

Completed Istanbul outfit

I’ll continue over the next few blog posts to look at other costume ‘wardrobes’. Stay tuned, or follow the “Capsule Costume Collection” tag to read more if you’re coming to my blog well after the original publication date.

You can also follow my page on Facebook, where I’ll share updates from this project, as well as interesting stories I find online around costuming, sewing, and crafting… along with lots of Viking Age stories too!

June 2016 Historical Sew Monthly – Ottoman costume

Completed Istanbul outfit

Completed Istanbul outfit

I’ve already started posting about my Ottoman costume- and it happens to fit perfectly into the June 2016 Historical Sew Monthly challenge! Since the Ottoman costume is intended to participate in the current (SCA) Royal Progress (the King and Queen setting different locations that their personas are travelling on) it matches the theme of travel (inspired by the Royals’ travel) really well!

I started mid-May doing some of the initial research, in order to have the project done by the first weekend in June, and you can read all of the posts about the different element of this costume by clicking the Ottoman category.

Continue reading

Istanbul: Shalwar

Lifting my hems to show off the Shalwar

Lifting my hems to show off the Shalwar

One of the last garments I made for my Turkish outfit is the pants – Shalwar, described from my overview as:

” Very soft and lightweight ankle-length pants. Wide at the thighs, narrowing at the ankle. Could be white, or patterned cotton or silk. “

I wasn’t sure if I would have time to make these as well, so thought of a) using my Norse pants (which also have a wide hip, and the “narrow cuff” would tuck into my boots anyways. or b) using some linen purchased pants instead

However… I DID end up having enough time to sew these up!


Master Rashid’s pattern schematic

I used the pattern on Pinterest attributed to Master Rashid. This is an incredibly fabric-conservative pattern, basically taking the leftover from what is cut off to make the ankle narrow.

The schematic suggests making the “waist” quite large so that there can be a lot of gathering creating the big-hipped look… so I followed nearly as much as the schematic suggested (but not quite) for my muslin…

Muslin for the Shalwar

Muslin for the Shalwar

I made the muslin using a purple/blue cotton that I was given, and it turned out well… but really way too big. It really just wasn’t flattering.

The pants were also way longer than they really needed to be, so I also had to adjust that.

I ended cutting the finished pants from some lightweight navy blue linen, which is the same linen I used for my navy linen Norse underdress.  If I’d had more time, I might have printed it like the other garments – perhaps for a future version!

I sewed the pants up entirely by machine, and used the triangle from the leg to make the gusset for the crotch.

Marking the blue linen for the shalwar

Marking the blue linen for the shalwar

I did a waistband for the pants, but instead of just doing a drawstring (which I suspect would be the period option) I also fed elastic through the waistband, which just feels more secure.


I skipped making the Gomlek for this costume – because I already had a white linen underdress. The Gomlek is descriped (from my Overview post) as a:

“lightweight, sheer undershirt with long and narrow sleeves and a round neck. Later period Gomleks have wide, long sleeves. Appears to be generally white cotton, silk, or linen. May have embroidery or tablet weaving along the seams and hem.”

The underdress I ended up wearing with this outfit is a medium-weight white linen – with wider sleeves (like the later-period Gomleks). I would have preferred a lighter weight if I had something, but this works just fine. The red couching was already on it from before (I made this dress probably 10 years ago), not intentional for the Turkish theme…

Istanbul: Accessories

Completed Istanbul outfit

Completed Istanbul outfit

To compliment my Istanbul outfit, I made a simple belt and a necklace.


I really wanted a contrasting belt, but I also wanted it fairly long…

I had a navy blue silk skirt that I was given which I cut out for the main belt fabric, and then lined it with the same pink linen as the coat – I would have done it all in silk, but there wasn’t enough fabric.

The images show a fairly wide belt with a big knot – so I think that this is a good compromise.


Complete Tarpus with the Hirka and my necklace

Complete Tarpus with the Hirka and my necklace

Most of the images don’t show much in the way of jewelry – but I really wanted to make a necklace to go with this outfit that would “feel” right even if it’s not especially documentable.

I might do more research later into extant jewelry, but this felt like the right style…

It’s made with three large pendants from Bead Landing’s “India” line, and two packages of earrings from the same line – the small earrings are very similar in style to the pendants. I bought five pendants, but when I strung them on the chain they didn’t hang correctly.

Components to make my Istanbul-feel necklace

Components to make my Istanbul-feel necklace