Get our Medieval Choli pattern and dress like a goddess!
You need our medieval choli pattern based on ancient Indian artwork and reconstructions. Fits busts 28" through 48" with instructions how to alter for larger or smaller sizes. Designed to support the bust for the perfect coverage under your sari.
All sizes are included in one pattern. Detailed instructions, period tailoring directions, embellishment suggestions, and historical notes are also included.
All sizes come in the same envelope. Also included are assembly instructions, embellishment suggestions, and the extensive historical notes you've come to expect from Reconstructing History.
Notions: thread, twill or fabric ribbon tape, ribbon binding or trim (optional)
Yardage Requirements: 1.5 yards at least 45 wide (lined) or 1 yd 60" wide
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Below is an excerpt from our choli historical notes:
The Medieval Indian Choli
Contrary to the popular belief that the choli or saree blouse was introduced into India by the Mughals, who were modestly-dressing Muslims from Persia, pictorial evidence of the choli dates at least as far back as the Ajanta cave paintings (2nd century BCE to 600 CE). In fact the choli appears to have Buddhist associations rather than Muslim as it is depicted in Buddhist and Jainist artwork throughout the Indian middle ages right alongside saree-clad women with bare breasts.
The history of the choli seems to defy classification. As costume historians, we want to say, “The open-back choli is a product of Jain influence in Utter Pradesh” or “the long-sleeved choli is only seen in Kerala in the 7th century of the Christian era.” But the choli is none of these things. Backless, apron-front choli are seen in the same paintings as full-back, midriff-baring choli. Long- and short-sleeved versions intermingle in contemporary art. And even bare-breasted and choli-wearing women are seen in the same art with very little rhyme or reason to their difference in costume. Clearly the distinction between different types of choli is artificial and many of these styles existed contemporaneously. It seems it was purely a matter of the taste of the wearer which style she chose to wear or not wear.
The oldest photo-realistic picture we have of a woman wearing a choli where we can see clear seamlines is this 1640s picture of a Hindu woman holding a covered cup of Mughal manufacture. This is the painting upon which the construction of the choli in this pattern is based. Another contemporary painting showing seams is duplicated on the reclining figure at right.
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This information © 2012 Kass McGann and Reconstructing History