Thursday, March 11, 2010

Men's Indian Kurta Tutorial

Hello! This is the beginning of my first tutorial :) These are the directions for making a tunic, specifically an Indian Kurta, but you could adapt it for any tunic top. These are the supplies you will need: Fabric marker or chalk, pins, yardstick, 4 1/2 yards of fabric (and 4 1/2 yards of lining if you want to line it), thread, scissors, sewing machine, and machine embroidery floss (if your machine has an embroidery feature).

Begin by taking these 4 measurements:

  1. Shoulder to knee=_____, then add 1"
  2. Shoulder to wrist=_____, then add 3"

  3. Shoulder to hip=_____

  4. Hip measurement=____, then add 5" (measure around largest part of hips.....really fun:)
So as an example my hubby's measurements were: 1. 46" 2. 27" 3. 26" 4. 48"

Step 1: Find a loose fitting t-shirt to use as your pattern for the bodice. Fold your fabric, selvages together - then fold the t-shirt in half, and lay it on top - the fold of the t-shirt should line up with the fold of the fabric.
Trace with fabric pen around the front neckline, shoulder seam, and armhole.

Step 2: Remove the t-shirt.
Measure from the shoulder seam straight down to the hip (measurement #3) - in Ryan's case, 26 inches. Make a mark with a fabric pen.
Take the hip measurement (measurement #4) and divide it by four. At the mark measured from the shoulder seam, draw a line from the fold 1/4 of your hip measurement. In Ryan's case, I measured from the fold, 12 inches.
Next measure from the shoulder seam to the knee (measurement #1) , in Ryan's case 46 inches. Make a mark.
At that mark, measure from the fold 1/4 of the hip plus two or three inches (depending on the flare you want in your tunic) - I added two inches, so I measured straight from the fold 14 inches.
Then connect the bottom of the arm hole, to the 12" mark all the way down to the 14" mark. It should look like this (the colors of the lines in this picture correspond to the colors in the directions):

This is the front of your tunic.
Step 3. Cut out the front, and lay it on top of the fabric for the back(still folded in half ) with the front fold matching the fabric fold. You can use the front as a pattern for the back. It will be the same, except for the neckline, which barely needs to curve at all - you can use the back of your t-shirt if you need to - this is a picture of the front laying on top of the back showing the difference in necklines:

Cut out the back, and now you are ready to cut the sleeves.
Step 4: Open the back and front pieces and lay them on your fabric, shoulder seam to shoulder seam. Use the curve this creates as a pattern for the top of your sleeve. Trace the curve of the armhole onto your fabric. Next, measure from where the shoulder seams meet, straight down your fabric, the length of your arm ( measurement #2): Ryan's was 27". Make a mark there.
Step 5: Draw a 14" line at that mark, making sure that the center of that line is even with the center of your sleeve top. Next, draw two diagonal lines, one from each side of the 14" line, to the bottom of the armholes. It should look like this:

Cut out another sleeve by this same pattern.

So now your entire tunic is cut out. I chose to line Ryan's tunic. If you want to do that, just use these pieces as your pattern, and cut out the exact same pieces from the lining fabric.

Step 6: With right sides together, sew your shoulder seams together front to back. Open and press. Cut a straight slit, about 4" long in the center of the front piece neckline- this will allow it to go easily over the head. Now is the best time to do any embroidery around the neckline. Since my fabric was very thin, I used some register tape on the back of my fabric as a stabilizer and then ripped it off when I was finished embroidering.
Step 7: Once you have finished your embroidery, pin together the neckline of your lining and outer fabric, right sides together.

Step 8: Stitch around the neckline using a 1/2" seam. Clip the corners, and turn right side out and press. Now it is time for the sleeves!
Step 9: Right sides together, pin the curve of the sleeve to the armhole - if you lay it out, the sleeve should lay under the bodice like this:

Step 10: Stitch arould the armhole using a 1/2" seam. Repeat on the other side. Press the seam toward the bodice. When you turn it right side out it should look like this:

Step 11: Right sides together, pin from the wrist all the way down the sleeve seam and side seam. Stop when you get to the point you want the slits to come to. My slits came up about 12 inches from the bottom of the garment.

Step 12: Sew together using a 1/2" seam. Repeat for the other side. You're almost done! Turn right side out and press.
Step 13: Press the raw edges of your slits in 1/4" and topstitch in place. If you lined it, press the lining toward the outer fabric and topstitch them together.

Try it on and pin up the hem. Press it - I hemmed it about an inch. Topstitch the lining to the outer fabric. Repeat in the back.

Step 14: Try it on and pin the sleeve hem to the length you desire. Press it under and topstitch the sleeve hem. If you would like to add any embroidery to the sleeve you can do it now. And that is it! congratulations - you finished it! Have fun and don't be too much of a perfectionist!


  1. Thanks for this! I knew the blog world would come through! :p I am needing to make two kurtas in two days, and was HOPING someone had made a tut out there! :D

    Thank you!

  2. Thanks for giving such type of valuable information on Kurta design .I think that its a very important news for everyone.
    Indian Kurta

  3. Thank you for making this tutorial. My husband loves these garments and I want to make him one. Do you have any advice on adding a standing or mandarin collar to the kurta?

  4. Thank you for posting this. I am going to try and adapt this tutorial for a kurta for my little 1 yr. old son.

  5. how to sew collar to kurta

  6. Can you please teach how to sew collar to kurta

  7. honestly I'm not really sure how to sew a collar to the kurta - that's why I didn't add one. so sorry I'm not any help there.

  8. i tried but the finish was not good.Can anyone tell how to keep the cloth while cutting the collar?cross or straight?

  9. Kurta is one of the most popular ethnic dress of men especially in South Asia. This is most comfortable wear. I read each steps of this tutorial. This is very helpful and anyone can learn how to make a kurta.

  10. Just what I was looking for! Thanks!

    Collar: After step 6, Measure neckline. Draw a line on a fabric scrap to this measurement, plus 1", going straight grain. For a 2" finished collar, you'll need to measure up from line 3", this line should be shorter by an 1/2 inch on both ends. At the ends of both side, create a curved edge.
    Cut and use for lining pattern.
    Pretty sides together, sew fabric to lining starting middle top, down curve, to bottom edge..repeat.
    Snip curve, turn inside out and press.
    At step 7, place collar in between the two layers. Pining Center Front/curved edge just beyond seam allowance. Make sure the center of collar is pined to Center back of Tunic.
    follow step 7 & 8.
    By step 9, your collar will be done.

    faerie blessings,
    Jacq Civitarese

  11. Thank you. Jacq Civitarese

  12. Excellent I will try this tonight!!

  13. I made this for my 2 year old , we are replacing his wore drobe with all kurtas. I am making the last touches on his first one.


Thanks so much for commenting! If you have a question, make sure your email is in your profile or leave it in a comment so I can answer you. Otherwise email me at jessica(at)sewhomegrown(dot)com - Have a lovely day!

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