What are harem pants and what their story is, is the subject of this article. At the same time I will show how you can make these pants very easily in your own fabrics. A pattern for beginners in design and sewing.
What are harem pants?
They are wide leg pants that look like skirts and close at the ankles. It is commonly accepted that their name came from the women who wore this style in the harems. From 19th century depictions of North African harem women wearing tulip-shaped trousers to maintain their modesty.
The story behind the harem pants.
They say that these pants were first worn by Persian men thousands of years ago. That is why they are also known as “Salvar or Salwar”, meaning in Greek “Salvari”, which in their language meant pants.
Later they were also worn by women of different Middle Eastern tribes to protect their gender and show their modesty and innocence.
This can also be seen from the cut of these trousers, which are wide at the hips and legs and close low at the ankles, completely covering the shape of the female body.
If we go later in time around 1800 AD. this pants appeared in America. At that time, women’s clothes were a big problem. The season wanted women to be modest and their dresses were long floor length. Fashion required a full skirt below a tiny waist. The result was that women were squeezed into corsets and wore six to eight petticoats to widen their skirts. All this weighed up to 15 kilos and put enormous pressure on the women that made them revolt.
In the 1850s, women’s rights activists briefly adopted a new style in an attempt to break free from heavy dresses.
“Amelia Bloomer” in 1851 was a woman who fought for the rights and problems of women of the time and was also the editor of the first women’s newspaper, “The Lily”.
They had already started talking in the papers about the change fashion needed in women’s style when Bloomer’s neighbor received a visit from her harem pants-wearing sister Elizabeth Smith Miller, who then it was also called Turkish pants.
That was it, Bloomer wrote in her newspaper that it will adopt the new style and even made and gave the sewing pattern to her readers. Amelia Bloomer did not mean to start a fashion revolution, but her name became synonymous with pants. Later it was called Bloomers pants or Bloomers trouser.
The history of harem pants continues in 1900.
In 1911 in Paris, the couturier Paul Poiret presented a variation of harem pants , in his quest to modernize Western women’s fashion. This series that he presented at the time also included the “jupe-culotte”
Alternative names for harem pants / skirts and jupe-culotte were jupe-sultan (sultan skirt) and jupe-pantalon (trouser-skirt). These designs were considered controversial as Western women usually did not wear pants.
Harem pants came back into fashion long after, in 1980 when a famous rapper and businessman of the time MC Hammer he designed them in his own style and they became known as “Hammer pants”. The well-known “Baggy pants” were modified and acquired a conical shape with a hanging crotch. He himself wore them in concerts and music videos and they became widely known.
Most recently in 2009 the well-known designer Ralph Lauren, presented in his spring collection, a version of harem Pants and have since become popular for many many years. And why not; They are comfortable, they are fancy, airy, they are suitable for relaxed exercise or dancing. They can be worn by both men and women. They have a special style that will always arouse the interest of the wearer.
What is the difference between harem pants and Indian dhoti.
The dhoti pants are loose at the thighs and close as they go down to the rest of the leg. Instead the harem pants are loose along the entire length of the leg and close at the ankles creating a bubble at this point.
Why are harem pants also called Thai pants?
Thai pants, while having the same appearance and often the same pattern as the harem pants, differ due to the fabrics used for their construction, as well as for the prints on them. They often bear symbols and images characteristic of the region and the culture of this civilization.
Wow, I hope I did not tire you. Let’s go straight to the patterns of these famous pants with such a long history.
Pattern 1 for harem pants.
There is no simpler pattern than this. It’s just a rectangle just pay attention:
Hips: 100 cm.
Length: 96 cm.
You could draw it directly on the fabric, but I do not recommend it. Better to waste some time designing than to slip your fabric and suffer more. So take some rice paper and start by making a rectangle half the width of the hips and the length we want to have in the pants. ACEG points
Then we should draw a square with a side the length of the pants (96 cm.) and immediately after that another rectangle like the first one. But this would require a very large table so we will draw half the square up to the green line in the drawing above.
That is, what we will design is shown below:
We note two marks. Mark top E and mark down G.
When we place the pattern on the folded fabric we will mark the point E on the top piece of fabric and the point G on the bottom piece of fabric.
Later we join these two marks diagonally.
Place the green line exactly where the fabric folds.
Later we join these two marks diagonally forming a triangle.
I designed the whole pattern to show you how the fabric will be folded and where we will have our two seams. Because there are only two!
We cut the pattern without putting seam points and place our paper on the fabric that we will use folded. On the fold will be the side of the green line of the design. We note our marks as I explained above.
And now we open the fabric and fold (with the good part of the fabric staying inside), bringing our two sides together thus forming a triangle.
That is, if you look at the drawing above, what we want is to fold over the dashed line, where the point F will rest on the pointG .
What we want to achieve is to sew the sides together AC with EF and sides BD with GH. And that is what makes this pattern special. When it is finished you will see that the seams start from the center front and from the center back and in the middle it has a large equilateral triangle.
That is, it will look exactly like this:
Gather the waist and legs with elastic band and the pants are ready.
Pattern 2 for harem pants.
Now if you don’t want that much fabric between the legs and prefer your pants to look like this – then you should go this way.
I started by drawing a rectangle with a width of 115 cm. and length, the length you want the pants to have.
Then we find the middle of the 115 cm. and we measure at this point 1/4 of thewaist left and 1/4 of the waist right. We note the points A and B.
Go to the bottom line, parallel to the waist and note 15 cm. left and right and go up from the corners 5 cm. We note the points D and C .
In the central dashed line we go up as much as we want the crotch to go up and we mark the point Ε .
We connect all the points.
Now we want to have a nice curve in our crotch and then in the center of the lines ΕD we go up 2 cm. and we form nice curves.
The front and back are exactly the same. It has side seams and a seam on the crotch. In this pattern we can also put pockets on the side seams. We can put a yoke or even a zipper on the back if we choose a more stable fabric.
In fabrics with low elasticity we gather the waist and legs with elastic band or we can shirr the fabric. We can put cotton cuffs on the legs.
What I give you is only the basis. You should enrich it using your own style and ideas.