August 2011


I am a fan of Indian traditional designs.
South India, where I come from, is also famous for kanjeevaram silk sarees.
The colours of these silk sarees also captivate me. I liked this blue and green combination, which I thought would work well for tunic design also.
The pattern for this embroidered yoke is a combination paisleys, florals and mirrors.
The stitches used were-chain, longand short, stem, buttonhole frenchknots and mirror work.
A part of the yoke, starting from the neck-

blue&green tunic-closeup1

The yoke design is spread over half of the front side of the tunic.I did not work on the sleeves. Will continue with the tunic on my next post.

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This is the first time I tried working zardosi embroidery.
This embroidery is quite prevalent in north India and Pakistan. The embroidery is very old. I do not know whether it came during mughal period or before that. In this embroidery , metallic tubes[ I think, Lupions] are used to fill various shapes- flowers, leaves, paisleys etc,.
Sometimes these shapes are outlined with threads , other times they are left as it is. This embroidery is worked on wedding and other festive clothing.Men’s wear also are embellished with zardosi.
The embroidery patterns are generally, florals, geometric shapes.
The embroidery is done in aari work, the metallic tubes are stitched by hand. the work is quite time consuming. So they are costly also.
These days , there are lots of commercially done pieces , which are easily available. The embroidery done on them are not of good quality, especially the work done on sarees and lehengas.the fabric used is also very cheap.
When I wanted to do this embroidery, the lupions were not easy to buy, I got these from Hyderabad, near Charminar.
With the materials in hand I started with a medium sized paisley motif with neck design.
The tunic fabric was mercerized cotton in green colour.
The embroidery was done in light green for leaves and very light green for stem. The flowers I worked in zardosi embroidery. I did not outline the flowers[ at that time I did not know that could be done].
The tunic-

green zardosi

In the close up it is clearly seen that Iam yet to acquire the technique if this art-

green zardosi-closeup

After looking at lots of zardosi embroidery pieces , now I have understood other aspects of this embroidery. Still, Iam in the learning process. And this tunic is also one of my favourites.

The rest of the yoke-
As mentioned earlier, the rest of the yoke is designed as a continuation of the paisley pattern.
I drew semi-circles around the buttons, and worked them with mirrors, chain st and kutch work.
For the central motif, a regular kutch square, with mirrors were worked , around that motif, a chain stitch line and kutch work line , similar to paisley was worked . It was completed with kutch work in semi circle, and a single mirror.

yellow tunic - centre design

The tunic with fully embroidered yoke looks like this-

yellow tunic

I wear a black churidar or black tights for this tunic. I played safe in choosing the colours. This combination always works out fine. Whenever a design is borrowed [ in this case from a book] I tend to go with time tested colours .
I don’t know, whether this pattern can be called my own or not.
Earlier , I had worked a yoke , fully worked in kutch work in black. There , the fabric had more orange, this tunic fabric has more yellow.

I have a book of embroidery patterns. In that I found a paisley pattern done in kutch work.

 The pattern included mirror work and outline stitch on it.
I have seen small paisley patterns in kutch work, this is a fairly medium size paisley.
An apt size for using as a part of yoke design. This  yoke design is a mixture of the pattern from the book and my own.
For the rest of the yoke design , I followed the paisley design and added a few mirrors, and kutch work motif for the centre.
It is a golden yellow colour tunic with stripes. It was already sewn with a small collar in black and red mangalagiri border.
I used the black ,red and yellow colour cotton skeins for the embroidery .
The paisleys-

paisley on the left side

The mirror image on the other side-

paisley on the right

The full yoke design on my next post.

The design for this tunic came from an article on newspaper. There it was mentioned about a shop where Salwar suits were available. Some pictures of these suits were also there.I found this design very appealing. I bought a similar cream fabric , and a block printed[borders] black fabric and went to the shop and showed him the picture, and said I wanted the same pattern.
Once it was sewn, the embroidery was worked .
The tunic-

cream tunic with black border

 

The embroidery was done only in the front. I drew a scalloped pattern around the yoke and on both sides- where the border was attached. This pattern was worked with chain stitch in red colour thread.Over the scallops,I worked a oval shaped pattern in herringbone stitch, this was done in black.
The closeup picture of the embroidery-

cream tunic wit black border-border

Very simple design for a tunic. I have had for over ten years now, still Iam quite fond of this tunic, I try to incorporate the borders on the sides for some tunics even now.

The last item that was embroidered on this motif pattern is the outlining in back stitch with cream thread. I thought I‘ll outline all the filling stitches in this motif pattern,.
Few curves were also worked in back stitch. Thus the whole motif yoke is completed.

yoke motif -completed

The close up picture of the completed motif-

yoke motif- closeup

Now for the final result-
After completing this, I had gone to India, where I bought a few brocade materials for embellishing tunics. One of the material was in peach colour, since this motif has peach in it, I thought of attaching the brocade to the tunic .
The idea was to stitch the tunic with alternate panels with the tunic fabric, attach a chiffon fabric for the sleeves with brocade border, attach the yoke with the brocade fabric outlining the yoke.
The tailor also had an idea of lining the body part of the tunic,and so with so many layers- lining, tunic fabric , brocade , the yoke, the tunic is very thick and heavy, but the sleeves with the chiffon[without any lining], is kept intact only with the weight of the brocade border. The tunic looks pretty funny, and definitely Iam not laughing!
Lessons- If Iam doing motif patterns for yoke, they have to be arranged in a different manner.
Maximum of only 1 inch outlining allowed with brocade material[ it is too thick, too bright]
The yoke fabric should have been in complimenting colour
The embroidery work and thread colours should have been bold not subtle for this pattern and colour.
The tunic now-

tunic with yoke motif

Here, the flowers are outlined with peach thread, the same peach is used for the satin flowers too.

brown motif yoke-WIP3

Generally with brown, maroon and green combination,I choose yellow colour. This time the peach was chosen. The yellow was not completely left out, I used variegated silk thread[ which has yellow in it] for the extra leaves in the centre.

brown motif yoke- WIP4

Peach satin flowers and dark green petals are outlined in back stitch with copper colour thread.
The completed yoke on my next post

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