Before we get into this week’s post, I wanted to share a little story and photo with you from last week. This is a photo of me bending over and cutting the basting threads from the far arm of the quilting frame so I can turn the near arm and move the unquilted part of the caftan nearer to me so I could work on it. The other butt in the photo is my greyhound, Flash, who is putting his head between my hands and the caftan, preventing me from cutting the threads without risking poking him in the nose with my scissors. He did this the entire time I was cutting threads and he did it again when I basted in new threads.
This is what you have to understand: Flash is the most anti-social dog I’ve ever known. He wants to eat his breakfast and his dinner, run around the yard for five minutes after each meal, and then lay on his dog bed in front of the fireplace or in our bedroom for the rest of the day. He does not want to be disturbed. If you come by and rub his belly, he will allow it. But he really doesn’t seek out people. He growls at Lakshmi when she comes by to lick his face. To misquote Greta Garbo, “He vants to be alone!” He generally has no interest whatsoever in what humans are doing in the house.
But for some reason, suddenly, he had to be right there, between me and my work. Later when I was under the quilting frame tying knots, he stuck his head under the frame to check me out. Then he laid down on the floor near the frame (and away from his nice fireplace!). I think he doesn’t know what I’m up to and he doesn’t trust my motives. He also follows me into my atelier whenever I go in there and insists on laying down right behind my feet when I’m standing at the cutting table so I nearly fall over him. Silly hound!
(The cutie looking at the camera at the bottom of the photo is my lap pitbull, Lakshmi. You’ll see her later in this post.)
The anteri (also spelled “entari”) is a caftan worn by women in Ottoman Turkey in the 16th and 17th centuries. The anteri was usually full length, like the outer caftan, but not quilted or padded. They were slightly less elaborately decorated than the outer caftan, but still were often made from brocades and figured silks. Like the outer caftan, it is assembled from side gores, front overlaps, two front body panels and one back body panel. Sleeves are cut square and not set in and can be either elbow length or extra long and worn pushed up on the forearms. The real difference between the outer caftan and the anteri is that the anteri is fitted close to the body while the outer caftan retained the boxy shape of the men’s caftans. The featured image for this article is a blue inner caftan belonging to Ayse Sultan, daughter of Murad III, in the late 16th century. It is made from blue silk tafetta and printed with a silver gilded design called çintemani. Here’s a bigger photo:
As you can see, it has all the same elements as the outer caftan, but it’s a little more shaped at the side waist, and it is made out of lighter materials for indoor wear.
I chose vibrant colours for my anteri since I will be wearing the skirts tucked up as in the first illustration in this piece. I chose a yellow silk brocade decorated in a repeating gold pattern. This I will line with blue taffeta shot with red and face with strips of magenta taffeta cut on the bias. See?
Because my brocade was only 45″ wide, I had to piece some bits. Instead of adding on the sleeves and side gores like I did with the outer caftan, I chose to cut the anteri with gores and sleeves attached, but add the front overlaps later. Of course this required some pattern matching.
When you’re handsewing, that’s easy. The pattern of my brocade repeats often, so I didn’t waste a lot of fabric trying to get it to line up. I laid a piece of uncut fabric over the fronts of the anteri where I wanted to put the right overlap and lined up the motifs on the brocade. Then I traced the gore pattern piece onto the uncut material and cut it out. I repeated this process for the left overlap. (I couldn’t cut them together because the left overlap starts lower on the body than the right one.)
I turned the seam allowances of the overlaps under and laid them on top of the anteri fronts. i lined up the motifs on the brocade and pressed with an iron. Then I slip stitched or blind stitched the overlaps to the front, adjusting and readjusting as I went along so the motifs would stay properly aligned.
I cut out the lining and assembled it and prepped the anteri for facing much like I did the outer caftan. Then it was time to cut the facings. I cut a whole lot of 5″-wide bias facing quickly and easily with the technique I show in the video below.
Learn how to do this on our YouTube channel (please subscribe while you’re at it):
I attached the facing to the outer edges of the anteri using my favourite stitch, the prick stitch. This stitch looks like a back stitch on the outside and a couching stitch on the inside, which means you get two stitches in the time it usually takes to make one. But it has the added benefit of producing a very stiff edge, which is very desirable on the front edges of your garment.
Next, I added a narrow bias binding to the neckline to finish it by covering all the raw edges (inner caftans like the anteri don’t have collars).
Then it was time to finish the facings. First, I mitred the corners for a clean finish.
|the unmitred corner||fold the side piece down, keeping it straight|
|holding the side piece straight, fold the bottom piece up to form a diagonal fold|
Mess with the fold until you get it going from the outer corner to the inner corner of the facing. Then blind stitch or slip stitch the fold down being careful not to let your stitches show through on the outside.
Then, I turned under the inside edge of the binding and pressed it. Then, I backstitched close to this edge all the way around, only catching the facing and lining so the stitches wouldn’t show through.
Next, I folded the anteri in half and sewed sleeve bottoms, side seams, and tops of gores. I sewed the outer material together first with a backstitch. Then I flipped the garment to the inside and finished the lining over the seams by smoothing one seam allowance of the lining flat over the seam allowances of the outer material and folding the other lining seam allowance under itself, much like I did when attaching the front overlaps. I blind stitched the folded edge, occasionally catching a bit of the outer material seam allowances so the lining would not shift when worn. This makes a neat, smooth seam.
The only thing left to do is closures. I will be making thread-covered buttons and loops not unlike those shown at left on Hanzade Sultan’s caftan from the 1650s. This will be covered in the “accessories” post later in this series.
There will be photos of the finished garment in the final post of this series when I show the whole outfit.
Get Reconstructing History’s best info on Ottoman Turkish clothing for yourself:
And, Metin. Istanbul in the 16th century. 1994: Akbank Culture and Art Department, Istanbul.
Arnold, Janet. “The Pattern of a Caftan, said to have been worn by Selim II (1512-20), from the Topkapi Sarayi Museum (Accession Number 2/4415), on display at the exhibition of Turkish art of the Seljuk and Ottoman periods, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, November 1967.” Costume: The Journal of the Costume Society. London: Victoria and Albert Museum. 1968, No. 2.
Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion 4: The Cut and Construction of linen shirts, etc. 2008: Macmillan, London.
Scarce, Jennifer. Women’s Costume of the Near and Middle East. Unwin Hyman, London, 1987.
Sevgi Gurtuna. Osmanli Kadan Giyisi. Kültür Bakanligi , Ankara, 1999.
© 2017 Kass McGann. All Rights Reserved. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice, the author’s name and website, and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.