How to Sew Patiala Salwar

Genie pants! That's what you might call these... but their "original" name is Patiala Salwar... a traditional Indian folk pants worn under a loose tunic. (unless you're a genie... named Jeanie... in which case, you'd wear something tight fitting and beaded...)

Here are some basic instructions to make your own pair!


  1. 1
    Obtain approximately three yards of material. Light cotton works best for your first attempts... but most light weight fabrics would work.
  2. 2
    Pre-wash your fabric and dry it. Iron if necessary.
  3. 3
    Fold the fabric in half the long way...
  4. 4
    Mark off two 45 inch (114.3 cm) lengths of folded material.
  5. 5
    Cut the two 45 inch (114.3 cm) lengths. You should have around 6 inches (15.2 cm) left over for later use as ankle and waist bands with ties for closure.
  6. 6
    Measure your hips.
  7. 7
    Measure your ankles.
  8. 8
    Transfer HALF the hip measurement To the "top edge" of the pants and add 5 inches (12.7 cm). Mark the spot with a pin or tailors chalk.
  9. 9
    Transfer the ankle measurement to the "bottom edge" of the pants. Mark this spot with a pin or tailors chalk.
  10. 10
    Measure down along the "open edge" approximately 12 inches (30.5 cm). This will be the front flap closure and the back seam later on. Mark the 12 inch (30.5 cm) mark with pins or chalk.
  11. 11
    Cut the diagonal line from the ankle measurement to the bottom of the front opening.
  12. 12
    Set aside the four resulting triangles to use later as gussets.
  13. 13
    Line up each selvedge edge of the gusset with diagonal cut line at the top end or "crotch".
  14. 14
    With right sides together, sew each triangular gusset to one side of a pant leg.
  15. 15
    Repeat for each gusset (4 seams total).
  16. 16
    Sew the insides of the legs together.
  17. 17
    Turn the pieces right side out.
  18. 18
    Pin the two legs together at the crotch with right sides facing and seams aligned.
  19. 19
    Sew the two legs together along the crotch, leaving the front open for a flap closure. (you can put in a zipper if you like, but a flap is usually sufficient.)
    • You should now have a HUGE pair of pants that is at least TWICE your size. The next step is to gather or pleat those huge openings down to your actual size, creating the traditional "poofy" look.
  20. 20
    Pleat the ankle openings to fit your ankle. Pin or baste the pleats into place and test fit.
  21. 21
    Use a seam ripper to open the ankle seam up again.
  22. 22
    Place the strip of cloth for your ankle cuff/tie strap around your ankle and hold the ends together. Pinch them down to mark your ankle placement in the center of the strap. Mark with pins or chalk.
  23. 23
    Sew the ends of your ankle cuff/tie strap closed, leaving the center area between the pins open for sewing to the bottom of the pant leg.
  24. 24
    Turn the ties right side out. (hint: mitering the corner seam first will make them look better when turned.)
  25. 25
    With right sides together, Sew one edge of the center of your cuff/tie strap to the pleated (or gathered) bottom of your pant leg.
  26. 26
    Fold the remaining edge to the inside of the pant leg and hand sew it to the inside to complete your cuff/tie.
  27. 27
    Repeat for the other leg.
  28. 28
  29. 29
    Pleat the waist opening to fit your waist. Pin or baste in place.
  30. 30
    Add a waistband/tie to the waist opening in the same manner that you completed the ankle cuffs. The only difference is that you will have a MUCH larger opening, and therefore may need a much longer strap... (should be the length of your waist plus 14-20 inches on each end for the tie strap.)
  31. 31
    Add snaps, zipper or buttons to the front flap closure if desired.
  32. 32
    Tada! You've got your very own pair of folk pants / Genie pants / Patiala Salwar!


  • Add zipper BEFORE the waistband if you are not going to use a tie closure, as there is no overlap with a zipper, and the waistband will need to be more precisely measured for a button fastener at the top end of the zipper.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 yards (2.7 m) of light weight fabric.
  • Sewing notions: Thread, Needle, scissors, button, zipper, etc.
  • Sewing machine

Article Info

Categories: Sewing Pants