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How to sew a Saree Blouse

Take the following measurements

Length

Front Bust measure ( from front armpit to the other over the highest point of bust)

Back measurement ( From back armpit to the other armpit)

Shoulder to shoulder

Sleeve length

Sleeve round

Armhole measurement. All around the armscye.

Back neckline

Front neckline

Waist round ( Where the blouse will end )

A minimum of 3/4 meters ( 75 cms ) is needed for sewing a saree blouse. This is for a bust round of 32 inch . 1 meter
is the maximum you need for stitching a saree blouse, for most sizes. This is for a blouse with a sleeve length of 6 -8
inches. If you want a longer sleeve length you will need more cloth

If you are a serious juggler you could sew the blouse with lesser cloth, like scraps from your salwar kameez sewing .In
fact I would suggest that you make your first blouse from such scraps you will definitely be having if you are into
sewing. Make any necessary changes and then make it in your prized fabric.

Pattern pieces for a Sari Blouse


You need to cut the following pieces ; refer picture given below for details.

1.(FRONT & BACK ) BODICE PIECES -2

For the front bodice piece take 1 piece of cloth of the following dimensions

width – Side to side measure ( from the armpit) in the front over the highest bust point. Add 6 inches ( just to be
safe)

Length – Length taken earlier plus 2 inch

For the back bodice piece take 1 piece of cloth of the following dimensions

width – Side to side measure ( from the armpit) of the back. Add 6 inches

Length – Length taken earlier plus 2 inch


2. Sleeve pattern pieces (2)

For sleeves take 2 pieces of the following dimensions

width – 16 inch

length – sleeve length + 2 inch

4.Yoke or Belt pieces ( patti)

Cut 4 pieces with the following dimensions

width- (waist round / 4) + 2 inch

length – 4 inc

You will be having 9 pieces of pattern in total.

You also need a bias strip of width 2 inch and length equaling the whole neckline plus 2 inch ; and two strips of
fabric

1. 1.5 ” wide and length of the front opening


2. 2.5″ wide and length of the front opening
Drafting the Sari Blouse pattern

Mark the back pattern with a chalk on fabric ( or make a sewing pattern on to paper) with the following
measurements

Step 1

Back bodice Pattern

P-H =Back measure + 1.5″

B-F = (Shoulder to shoulder/ 2) + 1/4″

J-E = 3″

Mark B-P = ( Armscye measure/2 ) – 1″

Mark Straight to H

Mark Straight down from F to line H-p at G

G-I = 1/4″

D-N = (Waist round/4) + 1.5″

Mark from H to N

From I mark 3/4″ diagonally to O


Join F-O-H

Mark E-M – 8″ or as needed – this is the back neck depth

Mark straight down from E to K


From K mark 1″ diagonally to L

Join E-L-M in a soft curve

DART – Mark a dart 4.5 inches from the fold . The dart length is 4 inches. If the blouse is long increase dart length till
6 inches. Width of the dart is to be 1″ . ie 1/2″ wide on either side of the mark

Step 3

Front bodice pattern


A- B = Front bust measure ( from one side to other side over the highest point of the bust) /2+ 3″

Make the measurements like neck width, shoulder on the front bodice piece as on the back pattern. Then continue
as the picture.Please note that waist measure is not taken for the front pattern piece.
Cut off the piece where yoke should be joined. We will be cutting and stitching a separate yoke piece here.

Mark the darts.

Add a 1″ seam allowance along H-N

Cut through the center fold M-Q. This will divide the front pattern into two pieces.

Make the yoke pattern

B-C will the same as R-Q at the front bodice pattern


.

Cutting the Saree Blouse pattern


Place all the paper patterns and then mark on the fabric around it with a chalk.

Remember that the back and front bodices and sleeves are marked on fold so the fabric should be kept on fold too.

It is necessary to pin the pattern to the fabric as otherwise the whole thing will shift and the measurement will be
off.

Keep the two bodice fabric pieces on fold.

Cut the pattern pieces; If you are adding sleeves follow the directions to make a simple plain sleeve pattern .

Cut out the sleeves.When cutting sleeves, keep the 2 sleeve fabric pieces folded and aligned. Mark the back sleeve
and front sleeve on the same piece. After marking, cut through the back armhole line. Then open it up and cut
through the front armhole line . So now you have one side back armhole line and other side armhole line.
Cut the bias strip and the placket pieces and keep them aside. These are sewn last.

How to sew the Saree Blouse


Step 1

Sew the darts from the inside of the front bodice. Do not forget to leave long tails of thread at the tip of the dart.
This is for tying up to secure the stitches.( instead of back stitching )

Step 2

Sew the dart in the back pattern too

Step 3

Join the top edge of the yoke piece to the two front bodice pieces
Keep the right side of one waist yoke piece with right side of the front pattern piece.

Keep the right side of the other yoke piece with the wrong side of the front pattern piece

3 layers of cloth
1. 1st yoke piece right side up
2. bodice piece right side up
3. 2nd yoke piece wrong side up

That is the front pattern piece fabric edge is sandwiched between the two yoke pieces top edge

This will make the seam edge inside after stitching and look neat. Now the yoke and front piece are joined together
for left and right front pieces

Step 4

Join the shoulders of the back and front patterns. Do not forget to finish all the fabric edges, for the blouse to look
professionally sewn.

Step 5

Join the sleeves to the pattern – basically like in the diagram below

Checkout the post on Sleeve patterns to learn about drafting sleeve patterns in different styles and how to join
sleeves to the bodice.
Step 6

Add placket to the front opening. The placket facing strip is sewn to the edge of the front opening and then folded
by half and turned to the other side to conceal the back fabric edge

Right side placket is folded completely to the back.(ie when you look at the blouse the one on the left) This is where
you will sew the small metal hooks. On the other side you need a projecting placket to sew the thread loops for the
blouse hooks. Left side one is left for sewing the hook loops.

You have two choices to make the hook loops.One is a thread loop and the other is a clever method of sewing the
placket which leaves space for the hook eye.Check out the 5 + ways to sew hook on to your clothes
Step 8

Make a bias tape binding for the neck. First cut out the bias tape. If you donot know how to make bias tape
checkout the tutorial. Checkout the bias binding tutorial as well if you donot know how to.

Fold the bias strip by half. Fold the edges of the binding strip inside. Stitch the edges.

Stitch the binding and the neckline right sides together together, starting from one side of front bodice

Step 9

Align the front and back bodice pieces at the sides. Make them the same size.Do the hem of the front and back
bodices.I do binding here too. I like the look of binding on hems. The facing when turned inside looks very neat. This
is then whip stitched by hand.

A blind stitch or whip stitch also works well. You can also sew a machine hem but hand sewing is better looking

Step 10

Join the side seams

Your beautiful blouse is ready.


Kameez

Measure yourself first. The main measurements you need are bust round, waist round, hip round, neck depth needed,
slit opening ( Where you want it) Length from shoulder to bust, waist and hip, Sleeve length. Checkout the post How
to measure body for more details.

If you are marking directly on to the cloth Fold your cloth half way through width wise first ( along a-b of diagram) you
can cut along a-b if you want now, then fold it lengthwise ( along c-d)

You can alternatively make the pattern in a paper (you can use brown paper rolls for this or join newspapers together
for an easy recycled pattern paper ) and keep it for making it again.

The front and back patterns are marked similar except for difference in neck opening and armhole – so when cutting
the pattern you mark the back pattern fully on the 1/4 portion of cloth ( as in the diagram).Cut
everything out except the neck opening.( Look at this article to see which neck line suits you)

Then remove the back bodice, ( the one without any markings ) and keep it aside. this is the back pattern.

On the top piece you have now, with all the markings you have made, you should continue to make the front
pattern – if you find my instructions confusing do whatever you want to do. 🙂
A-B = Full length needed + 2″

Mark A-E which is the armhole depth Mark 7.5 ” or as per the table below

Bust measurement inches Armhole depth

26 61/4

28 6 3/4

30 6 3/4

32 7

34 7 1/4

36 7 1/4

38 7 1/4
Bust measurement inches Armhole depth

40 7 1/2

42 7 1/2

Mark A-C Neck width as per the table below. This is a very conservative meaurement ie it is tight . If you want a
loose neck you may increase this measurement as per your preference. (C-S which is front neck depth can be taken
as per table or as per your preference . I usually like a 6.5 ” depth. Again this is preference of the wearer.

Do not forget to checkout ‘Draft the neckline of your choice‘. Here I have given a conservative V neckline but you can
choose to make patterns for a number of necklines following instructions there.

The neckline width in this table gives a tight neck. You can adjust the neck width as per your choice based on a
favourite tunic or kurta.

Bust Measurement Neck width ( inches) Neck depth (inches)

20 2 4

22 2 4

24 2 1/4 4

26 2 1/4 4 1/2

28 2 1/2 5

30 2 1/2 5 1/2

32 2 1/2 6

34 2 3/4 6 1/2

36 2 3/4 7
Bust Measurement Neck width ( inches) Neck depth (inches)

38 3 7

40 3 7

42 3 7

A-H = Length to waist


A-Y = Length to hip /Length to slit – This is taken as 21″ ( Change as you need)
A-F = 1/2 of shoulder to shoulder + 1/4 inch

F-L = 3/4 inch ; this is for shoulder slopeFrom point – F on shoulder tip mark down 3/4 inch to point L ( please make
this 1/2 inch for kids) Give the shoulder slope by joining the line C-L.

K-N = 3/4 Inch

Mark A-E which is the armhole depth or the bustline – as per table or 7.5″ for adults. This is the bust line. E-G is
marked on this line

Bust measurement inches Armhole depth

26 61/4

28 6 3/4

30 6 3/4

32 7

34 7 1/4

36 7 1/4

38 7 1/4
Bust measurement inches Armhole depth

40 7 1/2

42 7 1/2

Draw straight line down from F so that it intersects with line E-G .

E-G = 1/4 * bust round + 1/2 inch ease

(Ie if my bust is 36 inches, that divided by 4 is 9. Add 1/2 inches ease which will be 9.5 inches ; seam allowance of 1″
shoulde be added later )

A-H = Waist length

P-H = 1/4 * waist round + 1/2 inch

B-M = 1/4 * waist round + 1/2 inch

Add 1 inch seam allowance along G-P-M

Step 2
Back armhole – Where the lines from F & G intersected (name it K ) go outside ( measure the distance between G&
K and divide by two) . Mark the point as X . Make a curved shape of the armhole from L-X-G – this is the back sleeve
line.

To mark the front sleeve line Mark from K to the inside 3/4 inch for adults and 1/2 inch for kids. Mark this point as N
. Draw up a straight line to L . From N Go outside 3/4 inches diagonally to Y as shown in the diagram. L-Y-G is the
front armhole line

Draw a soft curved line touching Y from L to G – This is the front sleeve line.( Blue line)

Give the neckline you want – refer here for different necklines

Make sleeves as per the instructions here and you are good to go sewing.Checkout the post on different types of
sleeves for your options

Method to make sleeves for your salwar kameez top


Cut the two sleeve pieces 17 inches wide and your desired sleeve length plus 1 1/2 inches long

Keep the sleeve pieces Right sides together. Fold them and start the marking. Use chalk to mark the pattern

The line A –C is along the folded line of the cloth. The measurement from A to C is Sleeve length + 1 ½ inch

C-D Arm round where you want the sleeve to end

E – B & A – B Mark as per table given below ( this is based on your bust measurement )

Bust measurement inches Line A- B Line B -E

26 2 3/4 inches 7
Bust measurement inches Line A- B Line B -E

28 3 inches 7 1/2

30 3 inches 8

32 3 1/4 inches 8 1/2

34 3 1/4 inches 8 1/2

36 3 1/2 inches 9

38 3 1/2 inches 9 1/2

40 3 1/2 inches 9 3/4

42 3 1/2 inches 9 3/4

Join D- E in a straight line and add 1/2 inch as seam allowance

Mark F as mid point of B-E

Make a straight line from F to G ; Join this line to line A-C in a right angle

Divide the line G- F line into 3 equal parts. Mark the points 1 & 2
Front Sleeve line

Join from A – E so that the line passes through point 1 -This is the front sleeve line

Back sleeve line

From A mark ½-1 inches to point 3 . From point 3 join the line to E through the point 2
Remember that both the sleeves (front sleeve pattern and back sleeve pattern), are marked on the folded
sleeve piece on the top. First cut through all the layers of cloth the back sleeve line from I – A. Open the full sleeve
and now cut through one half portion through the front sleeve line.

You can draft variations of the simple sleeve by checking out the instructions in the post on drafting different types
of sleeves

If you want a different neckline draft it according to the instructions in the post on Drafting different types of
necklines . Decide on the best neckline which suits you by checking out this post on 23 necklines – select the
best one for you

You can also add yokes to this pattern following the tutorial to draft yokes and sew it up by following the directions
given in the post on sewing a nighty. The yoke can be of an interesting patterned / printed fabric or an embroidered
fabric.

Stitching the salwar kameez top ( step by step)


Step 1. Once you have made the pattern markings on the paper, cut out the bodice portion and the sleeves. Do not
cut the neck openings now.

Step 2.Cut out neck facing fabric pieces – in two sizes a. 2 1/2 inch * 10 ” for back neck ( this can be cut on bias for
stretch. ) b. front neck facing 10″ * 9″. If you want you can iron on an interfacing ( a lightweight iron on interfacing is
preferable) to this neck facing pieces . I do. It looks good. Check out this detailed explanation of this step in How to
sew facings

Checkout the post on Tips on sewing with Transparent and sheer fabrics if you are planning to sew it with a fine
delicate fabric.

Step 3. Mark the neck markings on the facing wrong side. Make center notches on the bodice pieces and the
facings.

Finish the edges of the facing pieces with a zigzag stitch or fold the edges and stitch. Alternatively you can hand
stitch the facing edges with a whip stitch.

Step 4. Align the front bodice and facing piece with the center notch.( both right sides together.) Pin in place
Step 5. Sew over the marking of neck you have made on the neck facing on the wrong side.

Step 6. Cut out the neck opening with a 1/4″ seam allowance from the stitching you have made.

Make small slits all over the seam allowance in the neck opening, so that when turning over it looks smooth.

(For more details checkout the post on sewing facings )

Step 7. Bring the facing to the other side. Understitch the neck facings so that they donot roll to the front.

Step 8. Shape the edges of the front facing in the shape of the neck. Complete sewing the back facing in a similar
way.

Here I have finished the facings of both front and back patterns

Step 9. Join the shoulders

To join the shoulders keep the back and front bodice right sides together. Open the facings and align them also.
Turn both the facings to the front side and pin in place. Stitch everything together along the shoulder line.

Finish the edges of the shoulder.

Step 10. Join the sleeves to the armholes

Step 11.Join the sides till the slit marking.

Now wear it and see if it fits. If it is loose fitting either make darts or stitch the side margin accordingly. After the slit
edges are stitched it will be difficult to adjust the fitting. A half an inch to one inch taken in at the side seams around
the waist line will be all that is needed.
Step 12. Stitch the edges of the slit and the bottom hem edge

To finish the edges of the slit, turn twice the side edges of one side and pin as in the picture below.

Stitch as in the diagram. The red lines are the stitching lines.

You can finish the side slits by adding a different colored fabric strip to the back. This will look interesting as is shown
on the picture below, though it is not visible from the outside.

Another option is to add ( stitch to the back of the


slit) a piece of golden or silver ribbon to the back of the slit with a little projection so that it looks like piping . You
can always do piping but this cheat piping looks good as well.

LINING – If you are planning to add lining to your kurta, it is usually cut as a replica of the kameez pattern. It is stitched
as one with the main fabric. If you want, make some basting stitches along neckline and sleeves so that the fabric
donot shift when you sew. The only difference is that it will be cut a little shorter than the kurta ( 1 inch – 2 inch) so
that it doesnot hang longer. You can add some extra ease as well. Turn under and stitch the hem of the lining before
sewing it up in the slit. ( Checkout the different ways of hemming with a sewing machine and also hem by hand)
Salwar:

You need atleast 2.10 meters of cloth for sewing salwar kameez pants. That is what I need and I am 5′ 2″. The way to
calculate yardage is to double the length needed + add a few inches like 5″.

When laying out to cut the fabric, Remember that for the legs part you have four layers of cloth and for the waist
part two layers of cloth. So both are cut differently. First we will cut for the legs piece.

Fold the cloth you have widthwise once ( a-b in the diagram) and cut through the line. Now fold the two pieces of
cloth ( Your two pant legs ) lengthwise i.e vertically so that you have a center fold on one edge. ( c-d in the diagram)

Mark top portion as half of hip round. or you can mark as follows ( Look at the diagram below)

For below 34 inches half of hip round

For 34 inches to 42 inches – 18 inches

For above 42 inches – 20-22 inches

Mark the length as Full length you need for the salwar pants minus 5 inch.

Crotch line on the other side ( cut edge) is marked from top as 1/6 of hip round + 1″

For easy reference

if your hip is

34″ mark this as 6 1/2″

35″ mark this as 6 3/4″

36” mark this as 7″


37″ mark this as 7 1/4″

38″ mark this as 71/4″

39″ mark this as 7 1/4″

40″ mark this as 7 1/2″

41″ mark this as 73/4″

42″ mark this as 8″

Mark the bottom edge as 6 -7″ from the fold ( This is depending on the round you want for the pants flair. I usually
want a 13″ pant flair for simple salwar pants )

Join the crotch line to the bottom flair. Add I” seam allowance.

Cut it out. Now you get two legs of pants.

Prepare the stiffening for the bottom of the pants. I definitely interface this area. Cut out an interfacing piece of 13 -
14″ with width of 1″. Press this interfacing onto a cloth strip of 13″ – 14″ length and width 1 1/2″. Press this onto the
middle so that there is a seam allowance of 1/4 inch on both sides.( look at the picture below)

Keep this cloth , interfacing facing you, to the pant piece right side facing you. ( Right sides of these clothes should
be together)

Stitch this piece to the pants. You will be sewing along the 1/4″ seam allowance and along the interfacing edge ;
donot stitch over the interfacing strip.
Turn this stitched piece to the other side of pants. Fold the raw edge inside and stitch along the edge. You can now
sew parallel lines of straight stitch or decorative stitches like wavy lines across the interfacing piece. I simple make
two parallel straight stitching lines. Here I haven’t done any – just the joining stitch. Do this for the pant pieces.

Your bottom edge of the pants is finished.

Starting from the bottom join the pant legs one after the other. Stop when you reach the crotch line.You will be
joining the crotch line of the pants to each other.

Turn the pants right side out. Join the two pants together by Keeping the crotch lines on top of the other on the
inside. Remember to reinforce all the stitching by double stitching, especially the crotch line.
Leg part of the pants is ready.

To make the waist part of the salwar kameez pants you need another cloth which is wide by atleast double your hip
round + 10 inch. Keep it on fold and mark as in the diagram below

Sew the fabric edges together making a tube. Remember to stop stitching atleast 3 1/2 inch from one edge.

Press the seam open on the inside of the tube.


Press the raw edges of the seam allowance inside like below

Stitch along the edges. Turn the upper edge atleast 1 1/2 inches inside for the casing for waist ties. Stitch along the
edge.

Now you have to adjust the excess fabric in the leg piece to fit the waist piece.Make notches at sides and center
back and front of the pant piece and waist pieces. These should be matched and pinned.

Turn the leg piece inside out. Insert the waist piece so that right sides of both the pieces are together . Pin along the
raw edge making sure that notches you have made are aligned . Where there is excess fabric make pleats like
below. Stitch in place.

Finish the raw fabric edges with a serger, overcast or zig zag
stitches. You may also use the pinking shears, though if it is going to be washed a lot this is not a good idea. Check
out the various fabric edge options available.

You need to make waist ties for this pants; Of course you can use the ready made ones but I like to make them for
myself. Use this tutorial to make fabric straps to make these ties. Basically you take a strip of fabric about 1 inch
wide, fold the raw edges inside and stitch along the edges to make these ties. You need a length of your waist round
and about 20 inches overhang. Your salwar pants is ready. Make this is in as many colours and fabrics as you could
get your hands on, like I do. A girl needs her pants.
Method 2:

If you are planning to stitch the pants many times, you can make paper stitching patterns by making the markings on
a paper (I usually join 2 full sheet newspapers or craft paper to form a big piece ) rather than on the cloth itself and
keep it somewhere safe to use it again and again. Stitching with this pattern drawn on paper will save you a lot of time
that you will spend in the time consuming pattern drawing and calculating and it will leave you free to enjoy the
pleasure of sewing.

When you go to the shop to buy cloth to stitch the salwar separately, other than as a salwar kameez set, remember
to take your body measurement, to know the correct yardage to buy. Take the measurement from the waist ( or
wherever you tie the salwar ) to the floor, then double the measurement, that is how much cloth you should buy for
your plain salwar . ie if the full length measurement is 110 cms, you should buy 210 cms (2.10 mtrs ) cloth.

Cloth needed for different pants

Plain salwar – Double the length needed

Churidhar – Double the length needed plus 1/4 meter if you want more churis

Patiala – Double the length needed plus 1/2 meter (44 inches wide cloth), for a patiala with some gathers . If you
want a real Patiala with lots of gathers you need about 4 meters of cloth. With 3.5 meters you get decent enough
folds.

Parellel -Double the length needed plus 1/4 meter extra

Plain Salwar pattern cutting and stitching

There are 4 pieces to the Plain salwar pattern

1. Waist piece

2. Pant piece

3. Canvas piece

4. Tie piece

Measurement to be taken for stitching a salwar

Full length – From where you tie the salwar to your heels.

Hip round – take measurement around the hip loosely

Pant flair round – take measurement around the ankle loosely . This is usually taken as 12 -14 ” . ( I usually take 13″.
Seam allowance is extra.

Pant Piece ( we will be cutting 2 pieces like this on fold ) Checkout How to cut fabric to know more details on how to
fold fabric for cutting.
B-E – Adults – (Full length – 7 inches) + 1 inches ( 7 inches is taken for the belt of salwar)

Kids -1/6th of hip round + I inches

A-B – This is as per Hip measurement – generally you can take half of hip round.

If you are particular you can mark as per the measurement below

For below 34 inches half of hip round

For 34 inches to 42 inches – 18 inches

For above 42 inches – 20-22 inches

B-C – 1/6 of hip round + 1 inch

E-F –half of the pant flair you want; 12 inches is usually taken.

C-F Join in a straight line ; take keep one inch stitching margin (seam allowance) outside it. (as shown in the diagram
)

Waist piece ( 1 piece cut on fold)

A-B = E-F – Half of hip round + 3.5 – 5 inches


A-E /B-F= For adults – 10 inches / For Kids – (1/6 of hip round) +1 inches

Mark A –C / B-D – 3 inches for folding inside for the tie to be inserted

salwar bottom tutorial

When marking on fabric make sure it is placed on a folded cloth and B-F is along the fold. Open the full waist piece
and divide into four parts and make a small mark with your marking tool/chalk – this is for accurately joining it to the
pant piece.

Canvas piece

A strip of canvas piece or 2 inches * the Pant flair measurement

A cloth piece which is 2½ inches * the pant flair measurement

Tie Piece (Fabric straps)

Take a strip of cloth 3 times hip round and 2 inches wide. If you have bias strip that would be ideal. Make a tie with
this strip. Another way is to take your waist measurement and add 20 inches as overhang.

When cutting the cloth you have to remember to mark the pant pieces first and cut because at times (when you are
getting the set material of salwar kameez) the cloth may not be sufficient; in that case we will have to do some
adjustments and get the piece for the waist piece from along the side C-F of the pant piece.

How to stitch the salwar bottom

STEP 1

Join the waist piece by A – E making a tube – leaving a 5 inches opening for slit

STEP 2

Stitch along the side of the slit opening as shown in the diagram: Edge stitch along the folded seam allowance from
inside
Fold the Waist piece on top by 2 ½ inches on top edge for a case for the ties. You have to stitch enclosing the raw
edges .

STEP 3 Stitching the bottom edge of the salwar. Iron the canvas piece leaving half an inch along the long side of the
cloth piece. Stitch this keeping it to the Right side (Right sides together) of the pant piece so that when turned inside
the canvas cannot be seen. Fold the cloth inside so that the whole canvas is enclosed. Join this to the pant bottom
edge by keeping the canvas piece and pant piece right sides together. Then you can stitch some 2-3 rows of straight
stitches parallel to the hem.

STEP 4 Join the pant pieces one by one along the C –F. Then Join the two pant piece parts along the cutting at the
crotch. STEP 5 Now mark the midpoint of the waist piece. Join it from the back to the front side along one side. Stop
at the side. Then likewise join from the other side till the front side

STEP 6: From front stitch 4-5 inches to the side without pleats and then make small gathers till you reach the place
where you had earlier stopped. Do the same with the other side. STEP 7: Finally make the ties and insert inside the
casing with a safety pin

STEP 8 Iron to a good finish and enjoy your new salwar


Parts of a Sewing Machine

Sewing machine Parts and their uses

 1.Head
This refers to the complete sewing machine ( not the stand )

 2.Arm
This is the curved part of the sewing machine with the mechanism for driving the needle and handling the upper
thread

 3. Hand Wheel
Wheel at the right of the head, used to manually move the needle up and down.Also called Balance wheel

TIP : Hand wheel should always be turned towards you, even when using a reverse stitch.

 4.Needle bar
The upright bar at the lower end of which the needle is attached.A needle clamp screw on this bar holds the needle
in place.

 5. Spool pin
The upright metal rod fitted on the top of the arm where your spool of thread sits while you sew

 6.Bed
The flat portion of the head under which is the shuttle, feet and lower thread handling mechanism

 7.Sewing machine foot (Presser foot)


This is a detachable portion of the sewing machine which holds the fabric or material in place while sewing. It keeps
the material flat and tight for proper sewing and lets you guide the needle smoothly through the fabric. Different
types of presser feet are available with different functions – zipper feet, button hole feet etc.

TIP : When you start to sew pull some 4 inches of thread behind the presser foot. This tail is needed so that the machine
does not ‘eat’ the thread.

It is the type of stitch you are going to make that determines the sewing machine foot you are going to use.

The type of foot you buy also depends on whether your sewing machine is high shank or low shank or snap on- You
have a low shank machine if the distance between the presser foot screw and the bottom of the feet is about 3/4
inch. You have a high shank machine if the distance between the presser foot screw and the bottom of the feet is
about 1 1/4 inch . Snap on feet just snaps itself to the lever.

TIP : Keep presser foot on down position for sewing.

 8.Presser foot lever


The lever attached to the presser bar to control the up and down movement of the presser foot. This lowers the
presser foot into place when you are ready to sew, and to lift it up when you want to move your fabric. This has to be
lifted to take out the material from the machine.

 9.Thread cutter
This is a blade fastened to the side of the presser foot bar, to cut the thread as you sew.

 10.Bobbin Winder Tension Disc (Tension angle)


Keeps your thread taut when you’re winding a bobbin

 11.Face plate ( Needle plate / Throat plate)


A semi-circular flat disc with a hole to allow the needle to pass through it. It is situated below the needle. It usually
has a seam guide that can help you in guiding the fabric edges as you sew.

Tip : If you look at the seam guide as you sew instead of the needle you will be able to sew a straight line with even
seam allowance

 12.Feed Dog
This is a device consisting of metal strips with little teeth that stick up from the needle plate and move your fabric
along as you sew. When the machine is working the feed dog moves upwards and advances the fabric as each stitch
is made. They move faster or slower depending on how hard you press the foot pedal

TIP : The feed dog will move your fabric automatically. You do not have to pull the fabric from the back – ofcourse you
know this. But once upon a time I didn’t.

 13.Presser Regulator (Tension regulator)


This is a mechanism fixed to the face plate, which adjusts the amount of presser that the presser foot uses to hold
your fabric down as you stitch. It controls the quality of stitches. The greater the presser the lighter the stitch.

 14.Thread Take-up Lever


This lever which is fitted to the body of the arm moves your thread up and down as you sew. It feeds the thread to
the needle. The thread goes through this lever when you thread your sewing machine.

This lever is always at the top when you start sewing and ending the sewing.

 15.Thread Guides
These are different points located in your sewing machine that keeps the sewing thread in place as you sew. If the
order of guiding the thread to the needle is wrong the stitch will form tangled.

 16.Needle
Sewing machine needles which come in different sizes.Twin needle is a very useful addition to your sewing
accessory kit.

Tip : Keep most of the fabric to the left of the needle so that you can look at the seam guide as you sew.

Change the needle after 8 -10 hours of use. Turn the machine switch off when changing the needle. When changing
the needle the flat side of the needle should be facing away from you and the curved side of the needle should facing
you.

 17.Bobbin case / Shuttle


This holds the bobbin thread inside the sewing machine. Bobbin case vary with different models of sewing machines
in that in some bobbin is inserted through the front, in some case from the top ( drop in) Some have separate case,
some machines come with in built bobbin cases.

 18.Reverse Sewing Lever/Button


This is the lever or button which allows you to sew backwards when pressed

 19.Stitch Length Dial


This is a regulator with which you can change the length of your stitches. Graduation marks present in the lever
indicates the length selection choices.
 20.Accessory box
This is located around the free arm under the needle. It acts as a storage for your sewing accessories like feet, bobbins
etc. and also acts as an extended table for your fabric to rest when sewing when attached to the machine.

 21.Free arm
This is a mechanism that allows you to sew tubular items like pant legs, sleeves, armscye seams etc. It has the stitch
plate, feed dog and bobbin case built into it and is revealed when you remove the accessory box.

 22.Stitch Selector
This allows you to choose different stitches available with your machine like the zig zag stitch, as well as the width of
the stitches.

 23.Rotary hook ( Oscillating hook)


The part which enters the loop or needle thread and carries it around the bobbin case to form the lock stitch.

 24.Bobbin Winder
This is mechanism for winding thread on bobbin. It fills the thread evenly on the bobbin.

 25. Stop motion screw

This is a mechanism used while winding the bobbin with the bobbin winder, so that stitching is temporarily stopped
when the screw is pressed

 26.Foot Pedal
This is the device you manage with your feet, used to apply power to the sewing machine and control the stitching
speed.You should always maintain an even and steady speed throughout

27 Needle Clamp & Screw

This is the portion of the sewing machine which connects the needle bar and needle. This is attached with the help
of a screw.

27 Presser Bar

Presser foot is attached to this bar

28 Presser Bar spring

This is a spring which controls the pressure asserted by the presser bar

29 Thread tension disc


This is a disc through which the upper thread is passed while threading the sewing machine so that the thread does
not get knotted

30 Stop Motion wheel screw

This is the smaller screw seen inside the balance wheel/ hand wheel. This an be used to stop the machine from
working.

Different Sewing feet and their functions

What I got from the sewing machine showroom ( the basic presser feet) is enough for me to sew just about anything
with my sewing machine but just like a girl can never have enough dresses a sewing girl can never have enough
fabric and sewing accessories.

You will be getting some very handy feet when you buy the sewing machine. But other special ones you may have to
buy separately. There are some feet like the walking foot and blind hem foot which once you have them you wonder
why you didn’t earlier.The main types of sewing feet you should be having with your sewing machine are

 Rolled hem foot


This one is also called a baby hem foot. You get to sew cute rolled hems which are really narrow with this foot.
You just need to guide your fabric edge into it and this feet will do the job for you.Checkout the post on
properly using the rolled hemmer foot

 Button hole foot


You can make buttonholes of any size with this foot . Even the smallest buttonhole sewing is possible with this
one.

Zipper foot

My second favourite foot. This one is the one you use to stitch zippers obviously – It lets you stitch very close to
the zipper coils. It has small notches on either sides that allows needle to pass through without hitting the foot.
You have to change the position of the feet ( left and right sides) according to the side you are stitching.
 Straight stitch foot

 Zig zag foot


This is the all purpose foot with a slight opening that allows all width of zigzag and other decorative stitches. I
use this foot all the time even for straight stitching.

 Walking foot
This also called the even feed foot. As the name suggests it walks the fabric smoothly into the needle. This even
feed helps greatly in sewing difficult fabrics easily, like satin and thick fabrics and thick layers of fabrics.This is a
great alternative to what I do now because I don’t have this foot- what I do is I diligently apply all my
concentration and pressure with the finger tips in controlling the difficult layers of fabrics to the feed. This foot
does a better job.

 Blind hem foot


This is used for blind hemming and for stitching tucks. It is especially useful in blind hemming difficult fabrics like
knits . The stitch guide in this foot is also helpful for top stitching where you need really straight stitches.Checkout
this post for tutorial on sewing a blind stitch
 Button sewing foot
Another oh so great foot which allows you to sew buttons in seconds. A zig zag stitch is used to sew the stitches
that attaches the button.Checkout this post for more details on sewing buttons with this foot

 Gathering foot
This one is used to gather fabric and make ruffles. This is an optional one but if you frequently gather and if you are
the type who loose patience easily get this one.

 Piping foot
If you do a lot of piping on your clothes get this one. It allows you to sew as close to the piping as possible. You
can also use Zipper foot to sew the piping. Checkout this post for learning how to make and sew piping.

 Darning Foot

This feet is used for darning stitches that will repair any hole in your favourite dress.

 Pintuck Foot
Sewing pintucks takes a lot of maths and accurate sewing but with this convenient foot you can make perfect
pintucks without any difficulty. You need to sue a twin needle with this one.

 Cording foot

This is a very handy foot if you need to add cording to a garment especially one sewn with a heavy fabric.
 Applique foot
This foot has a clear plastic covering that makes you see where you are stitching.

 Teflon Foot ( Non stick foot)


Have you tried to sew vinyl or laminated cotton for any of your sewing projects and ended up beating your head in
frustration. All because you do not have this darling little feet. Leather, Faux leather, ultra suede, oil cloth all sew like
magic with this feet. The plastic coating on its base helps it glide over these materials and makes stitching them easy.

 Invisible zipper foot


This foot makes sewing invisible zippers very easy and professional looking

Even the most grandiose looking sewing machine works with these same parts. Different machines have these parts
placed slightly differently from each other, that is all. Look out for these sewing machine parts in your sewing machine
and read the Sewing Machine manual you got for a more thorough understanding of your particular machine’s
structure and workings. In fact I would recommend that you read it at least two times cover to cover before starting
to sew.