Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shalwar Kameez Sewing Tutorial Series

Asalam Alaikum,

Before I moved to Pakistan, I spent a lot of time trying to sew shalwar kameez suits. The problem was that I had no experience and I couldn't find any directions online that were easy enough for a novice to understand. So I have decided to make my own tutorial, and hopefully it will help any one that wants to learn to make these beautiful and very comfortable suits.

Your first step is to find the cloth for your suit. If you live just about anyplace in Southeast Asia it should be fairly easy to find shops or a market where they sell matched cloth for your suit. If you live in the US, there are often shops in large urban areas(especially where there are large Indian/Pakistan communities) that sell ready made shalwar suits, and also un-sewn cloth for shalwar suits, or saris.

If you can't find a shop near you then your local fabric store should be able to help you find something nice. You could get a printed cloth for the kameez and a plain for the shalwar(or the other way around), for the duppatta you should try to find something that has a lot of drape.

In this picture, on the left is the shalwar cloth, in the middle is the kameez, and the right is the duppatta. The minimum size the cloth usually comes in is 32" by 96", although fancier suits are generally larger sizes. Cotton or lawn cotton suits are the most common for daily wear in many areas because of the climate.

Links to Tutorials in this series-
Simple Shalwar
Simple Kameez part one


UmmIbrahim said...

Oooh... yay! I can't tell you how excited I am about your tutorial, ma sha' Allah! I am in the U.S. and have just recently resorted to sewing my own Shalwar Kameez because we don't have any upcoming trips to Pakistan. Most of my clothes from the last trip are getting a bit ratty (I wear shalwar kameez all the time) so it was time to whip out the sewing machine.

I just took apart one of the outfits and made a pattern for the kameez from that, but the fit isn't quite right and my armscye is a bit wonky. My tracing skills are not stellar and the fabric was slippy slidy...

I know that aunties just do something where they fold the fabric and do some measurements and cut them without patterns, but I've never gone to someone to get the trick.

In sha' Allah you will give me the inside scoop, so know that at least one reader is salivating for the next installment!

As for fabric in the U.S. I've found the best coordinating fabrics are often found in the quilting cottons where some complementary prints and colors can be found. I usually skip on the dupatta unless I'm going somewhere special because my kids just yank on it anyway... so I only have to find 2 matchy matchy fabrics.

Ambaa said...

Yay! I've been waiting for this (I'm from Ravelry).

Umm Mini said...

Salaam alaykum,

Thank you so much. I've been looking for a tutorial. Now I found one alhamdulillah.

ehdina said...

oh my! you don't know how grateful
I am.....I have been searching all over for something like this..
May Allah reward you in this life and the way I am in the US so I am sure you understand how desperate I must have been since I only wear shalwar kamees and abayas.


Anonymous said...

I'm very exited to see this page. I live in UAE and I like Pakistani Salwar Khamis a lot. But here the stitching charges are too high and it does not come in the way we wanted. Hence I try to sticth my own wears but has no finishing. We hardly have a tailoring class in this part. I feel very happy to have seen this blog.

Sabaa said...

Aisha where is ur part 2 tutorial

Aishah said...

Salam Sabaa, part two and all my other tutorials can be found here-

Happy sewing!

Pavitraa Fashion said...

What beautiful fabrics and designs! I really love the Salwar-suit, they look really comfortable!

Unknown said...

Your suites, designs and stuff of clothes are awesome I like your stitching style.

Suit stitching online India

Orchid Lover said...

Oh my gosh, do any of you ladies live in Washington state, or know where I can send my clothes to get sewn. I am absolutely horrible at this and I don't want to ruin this beautiful clothes.

Saira said...

It was good information about sewing and can boostup girls.