The Great Turkish Underwear Project -- Part IV: those pesky pants

Building A Replica Gömlek

Those of you who have been following this saga from the beginning will remember that I noticed the same vertical stripes on the legs of shalvar or çakshir.

 Cod_Vind-palace_womencropped.jpg sultansfavouritedetail.jpg

One can assume, of course, that this is the same kind of coloured thread in the selvedge or seam join that we see in many extant gömlek. The problem with this, of course, is that no çakshir showing this line of colour are extant. And the pants-like objects that are extant don't show a join running down the center front of the leg. How inconvenient!

 16thccrepecaksirsm.jpg 17tceverydaysilksalvarsm.jpg

Above are pictures some extant pants-like objects. On the left we have a pair of crepe silk çakshir from the 16th century. These are women's drawers -- the kind of thing I think we're seeing in the period art. The problem is that this pair just covers the knees and the seams are around the side of the leg.

The picture on the right is a pair of everyday silk shalvar from the Topkapi Palace Museum. It is not known if these belonged to a man or a woman, but not associated with a specific name (so likely not those of a Sultan or his family).

But here's the interesting bit. Can you see how the pattern is off just a little bit right before the leg swoops out into the huge crotch area? If this seam were decorated, would it put stripes down the front of the wearer's leg?

Time for another visual: 


Above is anothe picture from Max Tilke's Oriental Costumes. These are 19th century men's shalvar, but the cut does not differ significantly from the 16th and 17th century shalvar in the Topkapi Palace collection.

Do you see how the crotch goe continues down into the ankle area on the left and right examples?  If I cut my shalvar like the extant pair with the leg body a true rectangle...




And, Metin. Istanbul in the 16th century. 1994: Akbank Culture and Art Department, Istanbul.

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.

Texcan, Hülya. “The Topkapi Palace Museum Collection -- Fashion at the Ottoman Court.” In P Magazine, Issue 3, Spring/Summer 2000.

© 2010 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.