Kurta Construction: Sew Done!

Hi Readers! Thank you for visiting.  Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

The kurta is complete, and my Mother can now wear it — finally.  If you missed the last post about cutting out a kurta, click right here.  If you want to go further back and read general information about it, here is that post. And here is the post about how the kurta turned out to be a common thread between ancient and very different cultures.

Finished kurta
A Kurta for Ammi

Assuming you’ve read the cutting instructions, here is how to put the pieces together.

I apply the “unit” method of construction, similar to the Bishop Method of Clothing Construction, blogged about in an earlier post.

  1. Cut apart front and back at shoulder and sew as one horizontal seam. Finish seam by serging the raw edge or any other method of your choice.  If you choose not to have a seam at the shoulder, just mark seam with an erasable fabric pen for ease in placing the neckline and attaching sleeves later.
  2. Cut out jewel neckline in the center of this seam. Finish the neckline by using a bias facing. Note that I’ve used a coordinating print for both neck finishing and the placket — just because.  Also note that I’ve turned the bias facing to the outside. I think it gives the plain neckline some definition.

    Neckline and placket in coordinating print
  3. Make a placket at center front. There are many ways to finish a kurta neckline but a placket with buttons and buttonholes is the traditional way.This placket is the same as one on any shirt sleeve. Since there are so many placket instructions available out there, I will not add them in this post. I used placket instructions in Sandra Betzina’s book, Power Sewing, but used Velcro instead of buttons and buttonholes (a modification for “senior” clothing).
    Velcro closing
    Velcro closing

    Here’s a link to a great shirt sleeve placket, a YouTube tutorial by Michael Coates.  Just ignore the sleeve pleat reference.  Here is another YouTube video by Colleen G. Lea for another style of placket. Each one has a different look, and both work for a kurta.  Take your pick!  This completes the middle unit of the kurta.    

    Shoulders sewn
    Middle unit: Shoulders sewn, placket made
  4. Sew one edge of a gusset piece to the straight side of a kali (one of four triangular side pieces), on the narrow end. (Do not sew gusset all the way, but leave 1/2″ unsewn). Do the same with the opposite kali and the other gusset piece, mirroring everything.      3 units layout
  5. Sew the narrow end (top) of a kali/gusset unit to one end of long edge of each sleeve piece. Sew another kali (without the gusset) to the other edge of same sleeve. This forms one long edge which will be attached to the middle unit.  Are you now getting the picture?  Again, refer to the photo.
  6. Repeat with the other sleeve/kali/gusset pieces, mirroring the layout.
  7. Sew sides of front/back piece to long side of sleeve/kali piece in one continuous seam. Be sure to match the shoulder seam and shoulder mark on sleeve.   I’d like to point out again that the bias edge of the kali attaches to the center unit (the opposite of the way it was cut out). You may want to refer back to the kurta-cutting post.sides sewn
  8. Attach the free ends of gusset to the other side of sleeve/kali unit. The process of sewing a gusset correctly seems complicated but it really isn’t.  You just have to remember to sew the seam to within 1/2″ of the edge and stop. This makes it easier to bring three corners together, as you have to do to inset a gusset.  Gusset2


9. Sew sleeve seam, starting from the gusset point and ending at the sleeve hem. Serge finish. Press.

10. Sew side seams, with or without side slits. Serge finish. Press.

11. Topstitch all seams if desired, hem sleeves and side slits.

Details:  This series of posts are meant to show you the bare bones of a kurta. There are numerous ways to change the shape of the seams in the body and sleeves to make it stylish and put your own stamp on it! In a future post we’ll explore that. Meanwhile, I’d love to know your ideas!   I hope you will give the kurta a try.

I realize that the kurta only looks complicated; in reality it’s not! It is just geometric pieces sewn together. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading this post!


6 thoughts on “Kurta Construction: Sew Done!

  1. Woot woot!! It looks terrific, your mom will love this. I like the underarm gussets you added. I’ve not ever sewn gussets before but can see the benefits. The jacket I just sewed has the sleeve attached as a ‘flat sleeve’ and I had to do a lot of maneuvering in the underarm to get it to sit correctly. A gusset likely would have helped this.


    1. Thank you! yes, a gusset is an age old part of a garment, but still works in modern clothing and that fact alone is a wondrous thing for me 🙂


  2. Pretty fabric! I like the contrasting fabric for the placket. They two fabric work well together. I’m sure your mother will love it! I’ve only sewn a gusset once – in a vintage dress and it was a bit tricky but you make it look a lot easier! I’ll have to try it again some time.


    1. Thank you, Chuleenan. Appreciate your comment. Gussets can be tricky but as with everything, it’s easy when you keep doing it. I once made a shearling (fake shearling) jacket where I could have really used a gusset, even though the pattern did not instruct you to. By the time I realized it the fabric scraps were already thrown away. So now I have to live with a less-than-satisfactory jacket.


  3. thank Uuuuuuuu, I’m student in India, and my mom is in other country… just now I was thinking to learn how I can sew a kurta for her…. your training was perfect… I will sew after my exams.. and share the photos with u…

    Liked by 1 person

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