Fabric Suggestions for 134 South Asian Tops and Wraps

The South Asian Wraps and Tops pattern is mini-wardrobe from Southern Asia with Burmese jacket, Thai wrap blouse, and India choli, as well as information and diagrams for wrapping a sari and sarong.

The Burmese Jacket is a contemporary looking short jacket that was found in Burma (now Myanmar), but is similar to jackets of Chinese origin.  Front, back, and sleeves are cut as one piece.  An under placket extends the front opening on the right side, and self-bias finishes the faced neckline and is used for handmade frogs and knotted buttons.  Three patch pockets and fold back cuffs complete the detailing.

The Thai Blouse has been adapted from the original, to provide a better fit.  Back and side front are cut in one shaped piece, with additional panels in the center front.  A straight neckband crosses to tie at the waist inside and out.

A close fit is the main characteristic of the Choli, as it is both undergarment and blouse for the Sari.  Shaped center front pieces (darted to fit the figure) and separate side pieces join into a midriff band.  Above elbow sleeves hug the arms; the back is fitted smoothly with darts.  An added front underlap fastens with hooks and eyes; self-bias finishes the neckline, softly V-shaped in front and scooped in back.

Our pattern also gives instructions for making three types of knotted frog closures and for wrapping and wearing the traditional sarong skirts and sari. Lengthen the tops for different looks or to showcase luscious fabrics.

Suggested fabrics: For the Burmese Jacket and Thai Blouse, choose medium-weight cotton, silk, or lightweight wool. For the Choli, choose light to medium-weight cotton or silk. For the sari and sarong wraps, choose lightweight silks, synthetics, or cottons. Sarong can also be made from wool jersey, challis, or crepe. Fabrics with nap or one-way prints are not suitable for the jacket or blouse as the front and back are cut as one and the print/nap/design will be upside down on one side.

Woman in Open Burmese Jacket Two women standing side by side woman on left wears purple Burmese jacket.  woman on right wear extended length Thai BlouseWoman in Choli top and pants standing in front of white backdrop

Below are some fabric suggestions from some of our favorite fabric stores.  Please note, these suggested fabrics are based on fabrics that are in stock at the time the blog post is written, and may go out of stock from store at some point.  If link is invalid for specific product, look for a similar fabric you can substitute.


First, Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics has a nice selection of ikat fabrics.  I love this deep wine color ikat.  This fabric would make a lovely Jacket of Choli.

Wine colored ikat fabric with off white squares


This lightweight cotton voile would make a cool and breezy summer top. I can envision this sewn as a short-sleeve Thai blouse (leave off the sleeve pieces and hem the armscye) or a fun Choli.  Harts Designer Fabrics has this mosaic patterned tomato red in stock.

mosaic patterned tomato red voile fabric


One of our sample Thai Blouses is made in gold/yellow silk noil. This blouse drapes and wears very well.  Bolt Fabric Boutique has various colors of silk noil in stock. These would also be beautiful for the wraps.

Multiple rolls of silk noil standing up against a backdrop


This luscious peacock blue 45% Silk/55% Cotton from Oak Fabrics is just dreamy.  I could see this being amazing as a Burmese jacket or Thai blouse.  

Silk cotton blend fabric close up photo peacock blue color.


I also love the Burmese Jacket in something slightly heavier to make a modern top layer for dressing.  This loosely-woven heavy weight cotton from Style Maker Fabrics would be nice (there are other colors too).

canvas heavy-weight cotton fabric, color persimmon


And, finally, here at Folkwear, we have two tencel/linen blends that would make beautiful Thai Blouses, as well as some gorgeous linen (for any of the tops).  And, we have a Merchant and Mills jacquard that would make an interesting (and warmer) Burmese Jacket.  Perfect for a project that does not take a lot of fabric, because it is not cheap!