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Nehru vests/coats

jothwade | Posted in Patterns on

Hi…. My wife and I just returned from India and while in Delhi we saw a large number of men wearing Nehru vests. That is to say, Nehru jackets, stand up collar, 3 pockets 5-6 buttons, lined but without sleeves, as vests. Just enough formality, just enough warmth in the delhi winter coolness. They were made in a wide variety of fabrics and looked great. We visited a shop that sold, to the tourist, wonderful handwoven silks and cottons and made up vests. We were leaving in 3 hours! Not enough time to have one made, though they said they could do it very fast, and no more room left in our overstuffed bags.

I thought that I had seen a Folkways patter for a Nehru jacket which I could use to create my own, so I bought 3 lengths of handwoven cotton with linings and came home.

I cannot find a pattern. Does anyon outthere in the Threads world have a pattern or suggestions?

Would a standard men’s jacket pattern, boxy and not too tailored, with the lapels laying closed be a good place to start?

Thanks for any Ideas….. oh, and by the way I am a long time sewer, but not talented at tailoring…. the bag it ant turn inside out school of lining is about my speed.



  1. fabricholic | | #1


    I see something your wife could use: http://img.sewingtoday.com/cat/20000/itm_img/V2953.jpg


    1. jothwade | | #2

      Thanks Marcie... I am the sewer... the Vest is for me.... If she likes it, I "might" sew one for her.....lolThanks,

      1. user-51823 | | #3

        jewels of India #135 is the name of the only Folkwear pattern (NB: it's folk-wear) that has a nehru style jacket. it does not appear to open all the way down the front, so you'd have to adjust the pattern for that as well if you want it to button all the way down.

        1. jothwade | | #4

          Thanks for the hint..... I found reference on Google to nehru coats ans in that listing a place called "Alter Years" in California. I called them and asked if they had any patterns and the only one they had seen was from a company long out of business and the pattern no longer available... but they did suggest the Folk-Wear pattern #135/I have ordered it, and discussed with the woman there about contoinujing the center front opening all the way to the bottom hem and then extending the seam allowencec to make the overlapping plackets. The Jackets I saw in India did not have a patch breast pocket but 3 self welted pockets (1 chest and 2 lower.....I expect that I witll need to face and interface the front, and line the collar. I have lining materia to match from India to match the handwoven cotton fashion fabric.Thanks for your help

      2. fabricholic | | #5

        Oh, I thought you both wanted one. I will still be on the lookout.Marcy

        1. jothwade | | #6

          Thankx Marcy - I have ordered a folkwear pattern which is essentially the shape and cut, but with the wrong pockets and a half placket. I will modify to open the center front, extend the seam allowences to overlap for buttoning. I will then add self welted pockets.... should do the trick... or I hope it will.Thanks for your helpJotham

          1. user-51823 | | #7

            you got me started on a wild goose chase :-)
            i have been googling and searching for more than just that one pattern. you'd think that in the whole world, with india being as big as it is, and so many people still wearing the traditional styles, that there'd be more than one pattern for a nehru style tunic/jacket/vest. i've been to vintage sites (nehrus were so popular in the 60's i thought there might be an authentic style older pattern), costumer sites and even Ebay India, but i'm not coming up with anything. they must be out there but i'm just missing them. weird. "...lost in an orchestral maelstrom of lunacy..."

            Edited 2/2/2007 1:21 pm ET by msm-s

          2. jothwade | | #8

            like eating potatoe chips....... and then there is all the fabrice added to the stash!!! yikes

          3. user-51823 | | #9

            okay, i'm done. searched voguepatterns.com through the 328 costume patterns; no nehrus but- don't laugh, some of the men's costumes could be adapted about as easily as the folkwear pattern you are going to have to change anyway. some colonial, medieval, and fancy pirate captains had long vests that might be pretty close. also, mcCalls' (or butterick?) priest's cossack without the sleeves. good thing you already know how to make the set-in plaquet pockets

          4. jothwade | | #10

            and when you are not helping others with arcane needs, what do you like to do and sew?Jotham

          5. user-51823 | | #11

            LOL- i just got so frustrated about not finding more pattern choices for a nehru; i'm not usually so devoted to finding a solution for strangers!
            i'm an artist and i used to sew for myself more, in the hippy 70's and quirky 80's but now i find myself in simpler ready-to-wear more often than not; there's no fun whatsoever in making tasteful pants. i have been doing freelance costume/wardrobe work for about 30 yrs, from school plays to movies shooting in town. i love gorgeous fabrics and interesting challenges, making vintage style items. i have a 5 yr old boy i make things for occassionally, but boy clothes generally are not as much fun as girl clothes. i love the oilily look. mostly these days i am renovating my home and not sewing as much as i'd like.
            "...lost in an orchestral maelstrom of lunacy..."

            Edited 2/2/2007 2:59 pm ET by msm-s

          6. fabricholic | | #14

            I hope you will post pictures of your vest. We would love to see it. I especially want to see the welt pockets.Marcy

          7. jothwade | | #15

            I can do that...... I have been cautioned to make a trial vest befor the final in the handwoven fabric..... I'll do that as soon as I get the pattern. I suoppose that I shgould also practice making the pockets, lolJotham

          8. Teaf5 | | #16

            Before making your welt pockets, check out all the previous posts on that topic, plus all the nifty websites on making them.  No sense in reinventing the wheel!

  2. Teaf5 | | #12

    The standup collar on a Nehru jacket is very similar to a mandarin collar, so you might be able to adapt an Asian-inspired pattern to your needs.  And I agree with the poster who mentioned the costume and menswear patterns; there are several that could be easily adapted.  Also, in the Unisex or Accessories section of some pattern books are vest patterns with standup collars, too.

    1. jothwade | | #13

      Thanks for the suggestion.... I have ordered the Jewels of India Folkwear pattern which has a Kurta which will adape by opening the front center, creating an overlap of buttons and allowing for the addition of pockets.Jotham

  3. woodruff | | #17

    Diane Ericson, in her "Design and Sew" line, has a number of vests and jackets similar to what you are looking for, I think:


    I believe there is even a "gallery" someplace on the site where you can check out completed garments. The only thing to watch out for is that these are rather oversized garments, especially long from shoulder to armhole bottom, so making a muslin is a prudent idea.

    Her mother, Lois Ericson, has patterns of a similar type. I don't have her url, but you can find it just by googling her name.

    1. WandaJ | | #18

      It's been a long...... time since I've visited this site. Thanks for posting it in reply to a member's request. I truly enjoyed looking at the garments in the Gallery on the website as they were quite inspirational.

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