Sunday, December 8, 2013

Method of stitching davani for Bharathanatyam costume

Davani of the Bhatrathanatyam dress has got two parts, front portion and back portion, which are stitched together. Stitching line sits on the shoulder line.  Front portion is pleated but back portion will be plain. strings or cloth patties are attached to the front and back portion to tie around the waist.


Front length
Back length
Shoulder line width

Method of taking measurements

Method of sewing front portion
Method of sewing back portion

Finished Davani


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Method of stitching back piece of Bharathanatyam costume

Draft of back piece

MeasurementsLength of the back piece= length from waist to hip +2½” 
1. Back piece should cover the hip
2. Waist
3. Hip round


Back piece

P-Q= length of the back piece +2½”
P-T = ½ hip round + ½”
T-U = 1” for overlap
R is the midpoint of P-T
P-S = P-Q
Join P-S-U by a curved line as shown in the figure.

Small fan

Length ¾ of the curve  U-S or to taste.
Width  34”

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Finished back piece
Method of sewing Davani will be continued.............

Friday, September 27, 2013

My trial of sewing Bharathanatyam costume continued ....


I have used drawing as well as pictures to explain the procedure. In some steps I have used only pictures as I had forgotten to take snaps.
Using the draft prepared cut pattern pieces in duplicate.
(Figure 5 & 6).

pattern pieces

Leg pieces

Fold the edges K-l and L-D of sidepieces  back  by ¼” and press.Place it on the lining material keeping right side of the lining and wrong side of the silk material together and stitch.                            ( Figure 7 and 7 a).

Leaving 4” from the bottom and 2” from crotch divide the rest of the cloth in to 2 equal parts by drawing three slant lines(Figure 8 & 8 a ).

Stitch zari borders along these lines (Figure 9 and 9 a ).

Place the silk layer on the lining material ( Figure 10& 10 a) and tack as shown .

Follow the procedure for both leg pieces.

Fold corner B of the top silk layer back( Figure 11 & 11 a)

Place one leg piece on the other, keeping the silk layers inside (Figure 12 & 12 a), 
stitch crotch lines as shown in figure .

Stitch sides of leg pieces( Figure 13). 

Turn inside out( Figure 14).


 Open the top flap out.( Figure 15).

 Stitch border to the cloth of big fan.

Stitch short edge of the fan cloth to the outer flap as shown in
 Figure 17.

Do the same thing for the other side also.(Figure 18)

Bring inside out and top stitch on fan cloth.( Figure 19)

Keeping fan cloth and outer flap together stitch one more line 1½"away from the edge.( Figure 20)

On the right side of the flap ( behind the two stitching line) stitch border as shown in figure 21

Pin the centre of the big fan to the  front crotch line and make pleats of equal width
 on either side, and turn the pleats to the centre.( Figure 22)

Secure the flaps and pleats in position by stitching 2 or 3 rows of stitches at the top as shown in the Figure 23.

Stitch border to the bottom of the costume and stitch the gap between X-Y.Stitch casing to pass the  draw thread.( Figure 24 )

Pyjama portion is ready.

 I am very  thank full to Екатерина Ш. who gave me following suggestion.It is a very good suggestion.

“Dear Vani, thanks a lot for publishing this precious method, which I coldn't find any were in the net! I had to unstitch my old costume for understanding the cutting. One little addition to pattern - sometimes crotch line of the front piece is made 2-2.5 inch longer than back piece for horizontal pleat made in crotch seam. This pleat provides easy movement such as sitting in muramandi and high lifting of the leg to the side and back”
If you want increase the crotch length in front draft of the lining will be like this.

Will be continued in newer post.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My trial of Bharathanatyam costume

Bharatanatyam costume

There are two commonly used styles in Bharatanatyam Costumes for women, the Skirt (Sari) Style and the Pyjama Style.  This costume is  made from Kanjeevaram silk sarees   or Dharmavaram silk sarees or art silk sarees and also from  polycot material.  Costume is designed in such a way that there is freedom of movement for the dancers. The pleats in these costumes open beautifully like fan when the dancer forms a particular posture especially arai mandi (half sitting) and muzhu mandi (full sitting). 

Pyjama style Bhatrathanatyam dress

Pyjama style costume contains the following parts.


Pyjama- inner seam of both the legs are attached by a fabric with   pleats which open like fan while dancing

 Back piece 

 and davani or Pallu 


Blouse is similar to sari blouse with darts.


1. Pant Length- waist to ankle:
2.Waist around
3.Hip around
4.Thigh around
5.Ankle around
6.Knee length   Waist to knee point N

Pattern making

A-E is full length
Produce E to E’ such that E-E’= ½”.This is for bottom folding.
From the point A draw A-B perpendicular to the line A-E such that A-B =⅟₃ seat + 2” to 4”.
Mark point C on the line A-E such that A-C = ⅟₃ seat +1”
From the point C draw a perpendicular line C-G to the line A-E such that C-G = A-B
Produce C-G to D such that G-D =1½” to 2”.
On the line A-E mark point H such that C-H = 2”
From point H draw a line perpendicular line to A-E. On this line mark point I such that H-I =½thigh round + 1½”.
From the point E draw a perpendicular line E-F to the line A-E such that E-F = ½ ankle round +1 ½”
Produce F to F’ such that E-E’ = F-F’.Join E’-F’
Join D-I-F-F’ by a curved line. On this curved line  mark point J such that F-J = 2½ to 3½” according to the size of the costume. Make a notch at the point J. Join B-D by a curved line as shown in the figure. Using this draft as basis we will prepare other drafts.
Make three copies of the draft.

Draft for the lining. 

Draft for the lining
Open fold of the draft ,you will get the draft for the lining material( Figure 2 )

Draft of the silk portion which is stitched on the lining.

On the second copy of draft, mark point K on the line E’-F’, such that K’-F’ is ⅔ E’-F’. From point K, draw a perpendicular line to the line E’-F’. It meets the line C-D at the point L. Cut and remove the portion D-G-L-K-F-FF’-J-I-D. This is the  Draft of the silk portion stitched on the lining. While cutting the fabric ½” more is added along the line K-L and L-D.

Draft for the silk material

Draft for the silk material

On the third copy of the draft Mark point M the middle point of E-F. Join B-M .Cut and discard the portion B-C-M-F. The rest is the draft of the silk material.While cutting the materiel add 1/2" extra along the line M-B for folding. 

 Draft  for the big fan

Length of the fan P-R= Knee length( waist to knee) + 2 to 4”
  Width of the fan P-Q can be calculated  by the formula 2 X  ²²̸₇  X  distance between the points
 B and N ( Refer Figure below)

Draft for big fan

 Using these drafts  cut the fabric

Pattern pieces

Big fan

Continued in new posts.................