Cut out and stitch a sari blouse, known as a choli, in a couple of hours. Most saris include a blouse piece when purchased and may have pre-embellished sleeves included. The choli can match or coordinate with the sari. This project will require a healthy knowledge of sewing and cutting practices as well as a good working knowledge of fabric types and their stitching requirements. Once completed, the choli has a wide variety of uses and can be mixed with many Indian, Pakistani, Egyptian and Middle Eastern garments.
Locate the appropriate pattern at your local sewing notions store or online. If you found it online, print out and enlarge the pattern, based on your bra size.
Place the pattern onto the fabric and place the “Maximum Stretch” line on the bias, the direction in which the fabric stretches the most. If using a patterned fabric, line up the line so that the pattern is straight and the line runs horizontal across it.
Cut out the pattern pieces using scissors.
Transfer all markings from the pattern onto the fabric using the fabric marking pencil.
Thread your sewing machine and insert the bobbin per the manufacturer's directions. Set the tension wheel based on the fabric you are using.
Sew the darts in the front of the choli pieces. These are the markings on the outer side of the breast area of the pattern. Three lines emanating from large, dark circles indicate where the folds should be placed. The folds should be made so that the right sides of the fabric, or the side that will be showing, are touching and the seam is on the inside of the garment. Pin the darts in place to ensure they don't move while sewing. The pins are especially important on slippery fabrics.
Sew the back piece to the front choli piece at the shoulders. Pin the pieces together before sewing if you prefer, though since the seam is short it its not necessary.
Align the edges of the choli piece with the edges of the sleeves. If needed, pin the pieces together so you can maintain the curve in the seam with less effort. Sew the arm pieces, or sleeves, onto the choli top with right sides together. Repeat for both sleeves.
Sew the side seam of the choli and down the arm seam on each side. This should be done as one continuous seam.
Hem the sleeve edges on each piece by turning under 1/4-inch of fabric towards the inside of the garment and stitching in place. You now have two completed halves of the choli.
Start at the bottom edge of the neckline at the back of the choli and pin bias tape to the the edges. Encase the edges of the fabric in between the folds of the bias tape. Continue pinning over the back, shoulder and down the neckline at the front neck. Trim the bias tape once you have reached the bottom edge of the front of the first half. Repeat for the other half of the choli.
Sew the bias tape in place, removing the pins as you go so they do not come in contact with the needle.
Match the darts from the pattern, bottom edge and neckline at the front of the choli. The neckline must form a perfect “V” shape to avoid an uneven look. Pin in place to make sure the pieces do not shift during sewing.
Sew the two pieces together.
Sew bias tape to the bottom edge of the choli in the same manner as you used for the neckline. Starting at one side and sewing across to the other. Alternatively, if using a decorative border, sew that instead of the bias tape. For beaded borders, you may wish to use the bias tape and the border for more stability.
Cut two pieces of bias tape or the decorative border that are each as long as your ribcage measurement.
Sew one end to each side of your choli, right sides facing. Hem the free end of each, rolling under 1/4-inch twice to seal the edges better. These are the straps that will be used to tie the choli across your back.
It is best to use a slightly stretchy fabric, such as velvet, which will make it more comfortable as you move.