How to Sew a Burqa

By Jody Hanson

A burqa is a loose, head-to-toe garment worn by women because of their culture or faith. It ensures modesty and prevents them from being seen by men who are not family members. The burqa is particularly popular in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, but also is worn in North Africa and the Middle East. The burqa, which is worn over ordinary clothes, is generally made from black or light blue fabric. There are two standard sizes for a burqa. The smaller size is 28 inches wide by 69 inches long; the larger size is 28 inches wide by 78 inches long.

A burqa can be sewn on a sewing machine or by hand.

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Step 1

Pick your material. If it is summer, choose light blue cotton for a cooler garment. If the winter winds are blowing, go for black wool. Some women, however, prefer polyester because it lasts longer than natural fabrics.

Step 2

Design or download a burqa pattern from the Internet. Another choice is to use a burqa you already have as a pattern; with this option you know it fits.

Step 3

Pin your pattern carefully to the fabric. Every three or four inches, pin again so that you don't go too long without a reinforcement; otherwise, your seam may gap.

Step 4

Cut your fabric carefully. Be sure to leave a half-inch seam allowance.

Step 5

Sew the front and back of the burqa together. Leave the materials turned inside out and stitch in the sleeves. Be sure the sleeves are long enough to cover the tips of the fingers.

Step 6

Use an existing burqa to measure the distance from the seam on the top of the head to the space for the eyes. For some patterns the material is doubled over and pinned across the lower face; in others, it is attached.

Step 7

Mark the eye slit area with dressmaker chalk. suggests that after you cut the eye slits, make a ruffled top by sewing a seam and forming a sleeve. Then use an ice cream stick in the middle seam of the ruffle to hold the burqa straight.

Step 8

Snip tiny holes across the eye area if you don't want to have a full opening for the eyes. Pull back the fabric and hand-stitch the material for an embroidered look.

Step 9

Hand stitch the hem of the burqa and make it a rounded edge. Turn your burqa inside out and press.