October 2013


I had this crepe stole with traditional Indian design printed all over it. It has many colours, but red was the background colour. It suited well with t-shirts, plain tunics.
Last year I saw this chiffon fabric. It had both orange and yellow shades on it. Because it looks like a well ripened mango, it is often called mango colour. These kind of colour combinations are quite common on silks[kanjeevaram].the most popular are-
Peacock neck[blue/green],tender mango leaf[maroon and green], fenugreek[golden yellow/red],onion[dark pink/cream],berry[nagapazham-violet /brown].
From this point of view, this tunic colour is mango.
A packet of red stones also was waiting to be used. A traditional Indian pattern was drawn for the yoke. A simple border, where these stones could be incorporated was drawn for the sleeves.
The pattern for sleeves-

mantunic-slpat

mantunic-slpat

The embroidery was worked with red silk and metallic threads.

man tunic-sleeves

man tunic-sleeves

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The embroidery was worked on cotton fabric. The ideal fabrics for chikan embroidery –transparent cottons, chiffon, crepe. But the fabric I worked was not transparent. So technically it was just an use of chikan embroidery on the tunic and not the authentic chikan work.
The pattern used for the embroidery in the centre-

beige pink chikan centre  pat

beige pink chikan centre pat

The embroidery-

beige pink chikan centre emb

beige pink chikan centre emb

The tunic

beige pink chikan tunic

beige pink chikan tunic

There are many stitches used in Indian ethnic chikan embroidery.
Shadow work [herringbone worked on the reverse]is the most common.
Eyelet stitches are also widely used. Sometimes herringbone, running stitches are also used.
When I started doing embroidery, to learn a stitch, a design would be drawn with that stitch in mind. I’ll learn and practice that embroidery through that project. They were generally on tunics. In this project, raised herringbone was practiced on this tunic.
The other stitches used were back stitch , feather stitch and fly stitch. Separate patterns were drawn for sleeves, corners and centre. The sleeves pattern-

beige pink chikan sleeve pat

beige pink chikan sleeve pat

Embroidery on sleeve

beige pink chikan sleeve emb

beige pink chikan sleeve emb

Pattern for the corners –

beige pink chikan corner pat

beige pink chikan corner pat

Embroidery on the corners. The basic flower was the same for all patterns, the difference was only on the placements, depending on how they were used –either for corner or sleeve or centre.

beige pink chikan corner emb

beige pink chikan corner emb

I was enchanted with this silk crepe fabric with small zari border. The colours reminded me of red grapes.
The idea was to incorporate zari threads, gold beads, dark pink pearl beads and stones in to the embroidery,
I often choose traditional designs to work these embellishments. The pattern-

grape crepe-pattern

grape crepe-pattern

The embroidery stitches were done with zari threads and pink and green silk threads.
The embroidered centre piece.

grape crepe-yoke

grape crepe-yoke

The tunic with yoke and zari borders.

grape crepe tunic

grape crepe tunic

The fabric of this tunic is handloom mangalagiri cotton. I think it is a black fabric with beige stripes, because black is prominent. There was another fabric with block printed borders. That fabric had black prints on beige with an orange in between. With idea of using this border fabric for sleeves, back neck, a small mirror work pattern was chosen for the front.
The pattern-

black beige orange mirror-pat

black beige orange mirror-pat

The embroidery was mainly worked with shades of orange with beige outlines. Two or three strands of cotton skeins were used . The embroidery stitches were- shisha stitch, herringbone stitch for filling the triangles, buttonhole and chain stitches for outlining.

black beige orange mirror=yoke

black beige orange mirror=yoke

The back neck with printed border.

black  beige orange mirror bneck

black beige orange mirror bneck

The tunic with borders and embroidery

black beige orane mirror tunic2

black beige orane mirror tunic2

It is easy to work with big round mirrors. Even simple designs can be brightened with these mirrors.

We have been touring the  past few days. We will return Home on 19th October. We were in New York ,now we are leaving for Washington. I could visit the interwoven globe -exhibition at the MET. It was wonderful.Looking forward to Washington. It seems some govt institutions  and some museums too are closed. We will have to see which places aces re possible to visit.

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