I needed a kurta for a family dinner I was attending but wanted to use something from my existing wardrobe at the same time. After a bit of brain storming, and with my experience in the industry, I came up with quiet a few design changes I could make to a basic black kurta I had. One of the ideas was adding embroidery and lace detailing to the kurta. I bought a piece of embroidered fabric, some lace (which I naturally dyed to match the embroidery colour) and used buttons I already had in my craft supplies. Below is a step-by-step guide to achieving the design.
Lace- 21″ (1.5″ extra from the collar measurement of the kurta)
Embroidery on net fabric (net colour same as kurta)
Sewing thread matching kurta colour
Sewing thread matching lace colour
T-pins/ pearl pins
Seam ripper (optional)
First place your design elements on the kurta and finalize them. I decided to go with the laced collar, embroidered sleeves and change of buttons.
Next open any existing elements you do not want. I opened and removed the sleeve epaulet, this left me with 1″ of open stitches which was concealed during the embroidery attachment.
Next I removed the old white buttons and replaced them with marbled mother of pearl buttons. When removing the old buttons mark the spot with a white pencil to ease the new button placement. Sew the buttons.
Double fold one edge of the lace with an intake of total 3/4″ and sew with a thread matching the lace colour. While folding the lace place it at the collar start, with the fold towards the body, to check for continuation in collar shape. Next pin the lace in place with equal height all around the collar.
I had to redo the edge in the end because I did not check for the shape and ended up with a straight awkward looking lace attachment.
Using the kurta matching sewing thread and whip stitch attach the lace to the collar. Even though the stitches are visible on the inside, I suggest this stitch because it is the strongest holding stitch type that can be used here. Make sure your stitches do not cross through all the layers showing in the front. Once you reach the end of the collar fold the excess lace into shape with the collar, you should be left with 3/4″ of lace to be folded.
Sew the excess lace into a double fold, using thread matching the lace. The second photograph shows how the finished collar with lace looks.
Roughly place the embroidery on the sleeve and cut the length accordingly. Then carefully cut around the embroidery leaving only 1/8″ of net from the embroidered edge.
It is preferred to use embroidery on a net colour same as the kurta because the net being of such loose weave will not stand out from between the embroidery design and edges. Ideally designers either embroidery direct onto the kurta fabric or the use net as the second best option.
After cutting your embroidery piece should look like the picture on the left. Pin the design in place. I placed my design on the sleeve cuff fold about an inch above the hem.
First using two-three straight stitches finish the start of the embroidery to prevent the embroidery from opening up. Then starting from this stitched end start sewing the embroidery onto the kurta using basic running stitches. Place your stitches very close to the embroidery and keep the stitch lengths small, max 1/4″. Do not make the stitches too tight or the fabric will pucker. Also stitch in the middle areas according to the embroidery design, or the net will gather in areas giving bumps.
I found the process of stitching along one edge first, then finishing the overlap and last stitching the other edge easier. Once you are done stitching one edge adjust the end to overlap about 1/2″ so that the embroidery looks continuous from all sides. Then using the same running stitch sew along the rest of the embroidery.
This is how the sleeve looks from the back side and the front side respectively after finishing.
Now place the embroidery on the other sleeves. Try matching the embroidery placement on both sleeves so that the design looks customized for this particular kurta and not like it’s been cut from different places. Sew the embroidery of second sleeves.
If you want you could add embroidery pieces anywhere on the kurta. For an example I have placed a heavier part of the embroidery from the left bottom corner in the picture above. I also placed a cut-out part of the embroidery on the corner for the shoot at the start of the post. I decided to style the kurta with the embroidered belt I had made and left the kurta bare of any additional embroidery apart form that on the sleeves and the lace collar. I had to buy a minimum of half meter of the embroidered fabric even though I required way less for the design.
This is an easy way to elevate any basic kurta you might have. You can easily open the embroidery and lace for further design changes. Even though it is a time taking process it requires very basic hand stitching knowledge. On a side note most household helps know basic stitching so you can just pin the embroidery and lace in place and request them to help you out. Also, the total costing of the piece is very low (just about Rs.1200 including the kurta and half meter of embroidered fabric) but looks classy and would definitely retail for double.
Comment below with your thoughts and questions on the idea of elevating a basic store bought kurta into an embroidered designer piece! Keep crafting. 🙂