After finding some lucious plush leopard print fabric, I wanted to make a choli out of it. The big problem was the fabric, for all its plushness, didn't stretch. After one attempt at using our original choli pattern formula, I realised something more was needed, and have come up with this. It took a while, but I did manage to draft the pattern to proper scale.

Black Swan Tribe Non Stretch CHOLI PATTERN

The formula is:

Print out the pattern picture below (To print from browser: Firefox: click on picture to see full sized. IE click on scale icon. File, Print Preview, 100%.). For a small size multiply the printed pattern by 5, for a medium 6 and for a large 7. It would be a good idea to do a "dummy run" with some cheap fabric first and fit it to yourself. Remember, you will have draft your pattern and do some individual adjustments (ie shortening the shoulder measurments, lengthening the torso, measuring from shoulder to under the arm) to make it a perfect fit just for you.

When you draft your pattern, be sure to use graph paper to keep the angles correct.

Choli pattern, for non stretch fabric

Designed and created by Black Swan Tribe. P.M. Copyright 2005


material for making choli from non stretch fabric

For small and medium size you will need 1 metre fabric. For large size you will need 1.2 - 1.5 metres.
If the fabric is laid out just right, you can make two cholis from each metre or 1.5 meters of fabric.

Matching thread.
Cotton tapes. We used to use leftover strips of the choil fabric, but found they tend to either loosen, or they would irritate the skin. So we use cotton tape now. One narrow piece 1 metre long and one thick piece about 1.5 metres long. You can use decorative tapes too, but they should be fairly sturdy or make tapes from the fabric, again we find cotton tapes last the best and can be tightened and tied up securely.

First lay out the pattern with the arrows going in the direction of the most stretch on the fabric. Pin the pieces to the fabric and cut out. You will notice that the sleeves and arm holes are a bit larger than on the stretch panne velvet pattern. This is to compensate for the lack of stretch. Allow at least 1cm (half inch) for seam allowance.

Sew Panel A and Panel B together at the center seam.
Sew the backs and fronts together at the shoulder seams.
choli pattern step 1

Then hem the two pieces, starting at the backs and working to the front centre lines.
When both pieces are hemmed, sew on the sleeves. To fit sleeves, pin the centre dot first, then pin to the edges and sew.
choli pattern step 2

I find it easier if you sew the sleeves on and then do the under arm seam and the sleeve seam all in one.
choli pattern step 3
Then sew the two front and back pieces, with sleeves attached, together at the front centre line.
choli pattern step 4
You may want to play around with this line a bit depending on how low you want the front to plunge. Lastly sew on the tapes. I sew the narrow top tapes at the shoulder seam, but those of you with a large bust may prefer to set the shoulder tapes further back on the choli for a bit more support (again, play around with that until you are satisfied with the fit). To put the thick lower tape on, find the centre of the tape and place it on the centre front of the choli, matching the lower side of the tape with the raw edge of the choli and sew from the centre to the edges of the back of the choli in a square so you end up with two lines of stitching on the tape.
choli pattern step 5

Gather or dart the fabric at the center seam for a snug fit.

This pattern not only works with non stretch fabric, but it also works great for the larger bustlines.
If you have sewing experience, you can experiment with our original pattern to combine the front panels of
the non stretch with the regular pattern to get a truly custom fitted choli.

  1. Plush Leopard fabric, front. Medium
  2. Plush Leopard fabric, back. Medium
  3. Non Stretch leopard fabric, Front view, Large D-DD
  4. Non Stretch leopard fabric,closeup front panel, Large D-DD
  5. Non Stretch leopard fabric, back view, Large D-DD

If you get hung up on anything, please feel free to email me. Just remove the spam block from the address.

Feel Free to print this pattern out. We only ask you not to sell it as it is freely given.
If you wish, you may link to it here, or post it on your own website, if credit is given to The Black Swan Tribe.

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