Sewing a Sari-Blouse

The Sew Everything Blog is four years old, and I could not be more beholden to my readers – old and new.  Thank you for reading my words and sticking around for four years. It’s my goal to share with you good sewing information, sewing thoughts and lots of sewing fun! So, thanks again!


The sari-blouse:

I always think of sewing educator Gale Grigg Hazen when sewing something so fitted that my dart manipulation & dart sewing skills are tested.  Dart manipulation is like “fitting a beach ball” – these words were first heard when Gale  uttered them in her sewing classes. Her sense of humor and delivery of hilarious dialogue sent home the point; and the beach ball reference stayed with me all these years. Where’s Gale now? I’d love to know.

Darts are not quite in the right places, but I’m working on that………

This is the blouse one wears with a traditional sari worn by women of South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, SriLanka). Its akin to a very close fitting crop top which recently had its own fashion moment.

The only way a flat piece of material will fit a curvy shape is by using darts. The sari-blouse is so close fitting that you can easily identify it as a “moulage” of sorts.  The moulage reference will make sense to those who have taken a Craftsy class by Suzy Furrer. A moulage is closer fitting than a regular bodice sloper and has minimum ease.  The sari-blouse usually has a front opening, with hook and eye closures. One would think that using stretchy fabric will absolve one from the addition of darts and closures. Maybe. I haven’t worn or even made a pull on jersey sari-blouse – yet.

blouse tracing
Pretty basic blouse

So the story of my blue blouse goes thus:  instead of taking the trouble to create my own pattern, I took apart a blouse that I hadn’t worn in years, pressed the pieces and traced the outline and details on to tracing paper. Because I had to make some adjustments – as in, you know, making it larger. (Embarrassed laugh). The blue blouse was the result.  By the way, I never wore this, since my grandmother’s sari (which was to be partnered with this blue blouse) had “vintage” stains on it. Oh, well. Besides, the waist dart is not quite right.

Now, I’m sewing up another sari-blouse and sharing the process with you.  Here’s where I trace the formerly-traced pattern so I can make more adjustments in size and design.  You’ll note that the front piece ends just below the waist dart, and a midriff piece is added below it (it doesn’t go around to the back). The back piece is like a usual back with waist darts, and is cut on the fold at center back. I’ll cut two pieces each of the front and midriff patterns. Note the shape of the sleeve, which is very tight fitting.

Red dotted lines are the NEW cutting lines. Note the lowered midriff-yoke seam.

The adjustments are traced in red marker in the photos. I lowered the front yoke seam and added 1/4″ to the side seams and sleeve seams. That should give me some more room for my now larger frame and gravity-affected bustline.

What else? I think I’ll make some design changes to the front and back neckline. Maybe like this one from the Pinterest page of a RTW boutique.

From Pinterest
Inspiration picture.  It is comparatively sedate.

Go to my Pinterest page and check out the board I’ve named “Sari Blouse” for some wow blouses. While you’re there, do follow me 🙂 .

sari and blouse fabric
Left: sari with it’s orange/silver border.  Top right: brocade blouse fabric

By now, you deserve to know what fabric I’m using for the next blouse, and my old sari I’ll wear it with.  The blouse fabric is a silk brocade and I’ll underline it with Bemberg rayon.

The sari is my own, but it is o-o-ld. My grandmother bought it for me back in the 1970s. At that time, it was a little hard for me to handle saris and this one was worn once and put away for 40 plus years. Everything has it’s time in the sun.

Next step: cutting fabric and underlining.

Next, next step: sewing it up.

So, this is where I’m at in this sari-blouse making task.  I’ll share further information and thoughts about it as I go along. Also, the outfit will be worn to a wedding on April 1. No pressure……

Feel free to ask any questions or express your thoughts.





14 thoughts on “Sewing a Sari-Blouse

  1. Beautiful fabrics and such an insight into this traditional garment. Thank you, Samina! And, Gale seems to be very happy and spending a lot of time with her grandchildren. She posts very rarely on Facebook and we are friends there. Look her up’


  2. I remember Gail! Her presentations kept everyone in “stitches”! My first thought upon seeing your lovely sari blouse example was: I wish I had a plain, nude colored sleeveless one to wear under white tops! I’m not a Spanx kind of woman (although I could use one on my mature hourglass figure! haha!). Spanx are so constrictive and hot! This would be a lovely solution since it is form fitting. I bought (yes, Samina, I do buy some ready-to-wear….don’t judge!) a summer weight tank but it is too see-through to wear by itself so I need to make some kind of chemise to wear under it.


    1. You’re still hourglass!! I’m still a pear shape — a bigger pear, I might add. Let me know how the tank making goes. I love jersey tanks for their comfort, but don’t particularly care for the “uni-boob” look.
      Hey, I’m not judging on the RTW purchase 🙂 — the garment industry must be supported. Heh.


    1. Thank you, Faye, for your kind words! It’s always a pleasure reading your posts, too. I am eagerly waiting to see and be inspired by your completed jeans. Cheering you on!!


    1. Thank you! Yep, the colors in South Asian clothing is a riot. Sometimes, unlikely colors are combined and they somehow seem to work well together. Go figure.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on your 4 year blogging anniversary! I’ve enjoyed your sewing tips, and the diversity of your projects.
    The sari blouses are very sensual, with a emphasis on showing off the back in your inspiration examples. Your fabric is gorgeous. I’m looking forward to seeing it complete worn with the sari.


    1. Thanks, Lisa! Blogging is a lot of work, but I’ve doggedly kept at it. Your enjoyment of the posts make it all worthwhile.


  4. Thanks, Lynn. It’s hard to come up with new ideas for a blog post; especially since I try to keep to a weekly posting schedule.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s