Indian embroidery


This past week was quite busy. I am yet to get back to the stitch challenge routine. Generally working the stitch sampler starts on Friday. One weekend of Dubai trip, meant there was no time to work the new stitch during that week. So this week two stitches needed to be tackled on SSS challenge.
Yesterday, I tried the Madame Totsuka’s loop stitch. It was not as difficult as it looked. It is just hard to get a neat look. A small sampler can be worked.
The Holbein stitch is the next stitch. After looking at the embroidery on internet for so many years, an idea to learn, practice, work, getting familiar with types of embroideries has been taking root on my mind. It is a long process. Procrastinating, finding excuses that there are so many UFO’s, not having enough time, involves lot of planning and hard work – all these facts will be always be there. It has to start somewhere. So seeing this Holbein stitch on SSS challenge, I decided to start on Kasuti embroidery sampler. This embroidery from Karnataka, India predominantly uses Holbein stitch or double running stitch. I bought three books on this embroidery two years ago. Planning to start working the kasuti border patterns available on the second book.
WIPW143-kasuti-book2borders
The  week’s TAST challenge stitches were worked on previous challenges.

Projects
Violet matka silk tunic
The leaves worked on pink fabric for violet matka silk tunic are also embellished with zardosi beads. Detached chain stitch with the green zardosi in the middle is the detail I am working now.
WIPW143-msilkzardosi-7
Green blouse
The embroidery is worked on black fabric for this blouse. Stem stitches and detached chain stitches are worked in cotton skein, the same colour as the green fabric.
WIPW143-greenbl-2
This is the progress made during the week.

Last week’s stitch half bullioned chain stitch on SSS challenge was attempted, struggled and completed on Saturday. This week’s stitch looks a bit difficult, have to try after this weekend.
This week’s stitch on TAST challenge has closed herringbone stitch, which was worked on earlier challenge. This stitch was worked on allover continuous pattern, which did not require any variations. Posting on FB group page may not be necessary.
Project details
Cream linen tunic in kutchwork

The designing is nearing completion. Then begins the process on tracing. The pattern has three parts. Neck, and two borders. These have to be coordinated while tracing the pattern on the cream fabric. This fabric is a light weight soft cotton, easier for this work. The kutchwork design is drawn on 5 mm graph, so the embroidery may not be too thick worked with two strands of thread.
The simple embroidery on bright green tunic was completed. The tiny pleats are used as outlines and two borders were worked – back stitch in dark green and double cross stitch in light green threads.
WIPW141-pargreepinktmir-2
Round mirrors were worked on the neck with pink thread. It feels good to work simple embroidery and complete the project in two days work. The green cotton fabric is not very soft, still looks bright. Have to see the effect after washing.
WIPW141-pargreepinktmir-3Cream
This week there was not much time to work the zardosi embroidery. I have started filling with the violet zardosi beads on the flowers.

Stitch challenges
By starting the SSS challenge stitch early, I had time work more stitch combinations on the sampler.
The TAST stitch was worked on earlier challenge, just posting the link on FB group was the only thing to do.
Projects
Last year I had seen a half white tunic on pinterest. The is tunic had geometric borders around the neck
and front in black. It was hard to determine whether the design was printed or embroidered. An idea to
convert the borders into kutchwork designs was on mind. Found that, it is easier to convert the borders
to kutchwork design, but drawing them on paper is taking a long time. After the designing part is
completed, this pattern has to be traced on cream colour cotton fabric and after that the embroidery
work will begin. Seems like a long and tedious project, still having waited this long to start on the idea, it
is better not to postpone it any further.
A block printed fabric was bought some years ago. When it was matched with a dark green fabric and small patch of mirror work, my previous tailor made this block printed fabric into a salwar[ Indian pants],  and the dark green fabric into a tunic. The dark green fabric was thick , synthetic  fabric and was not comfortable to wear and it was disregarded after some time.
WIPW140-green mir
This printed fabric underwent another change of trying match with a brown/pink fabric with medium size embroidery. At that time it seemed a like a good idea to work the embroidery in light colours, but the fabric which had grains on it was not showing the embroidery properly. I don’t seem to have the picture of the tunic. This was also disregarded at a later date and the printed salwar was hiding in the closet. This time on my Chennai trip, I decided to play safe by buying a plain green fabric. This was given to the tailor last week.
WIPW140-pargreepinktmir-1
A simple embroidery has to be worked in between the pleats and five mirrors have to stitched on the neck. Planning to start the work tomorrow. A simple embroidery is required at this time.
I moved on to lighter green thread on this pink silk cotton fabric for the violet matka silk tunic. the stitch is leaf stitch.

WIPW140-silkzardosi-5

After the holidays, this week was fairly productive week on embroidery.
Stitch challenges
This week’s stitch on TAST challenge is woven trellis stitch, the samples of which were worked twice on earlier TAST challenges. The post linking them was uploaded on FB group page.
Today I started working this week’s stitch on SSS challenge. The details of the samples will be posted after the sampler is completed. conclusion- favourite stitch – buttonhole.
Projects
The work on green benarasi georgette was completed. The details will be posted soon.
Two kutchwork borders in red thread were worked on this cream neck pattern. It is ready to go to the tailor.
WIPW139-blublot-kutch-5
After working another chain stitch outline in pink thread, I started to work the stem stitches in green.
WIPW139-msilkzardosi-4
This week’s fascination was rilli applique technique on the net. When the professionals do the work it looks easy, but it needs to be practiced.
We have a few regions in India- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan, Gujarat- where this technique is used. In Uttarpradesh and Bihar it is used on clothing on light colours. In Rajasthan this is used on bridal dresses with metallic ribbons, in Orissa it is worked on home décor, including umbrellas and hall decorations, it gives a totally different look. The colours are bright and eye catching. In Gujarat it used with other embroidery techniques.

We are having Ramadhan holidays now. It is a leisurely routine this past week. It is a day late to post this week’s progress.
It was revision week on SSS challenge. The new stitch of this week is yet to be explored. The TAST challenge stitches were worked earlier.
Projects
After working the outline stitches in chain stitch with various violet threads, outlining the flower started this week. These flowers will later be filled with zardosi tubes.
WIPW138-msilkzardosi-4
On the kutchwork and other embroidery stitches on the neck line for this blue block printed tunic, some progress was made. The outlines were worked in black thread. the triangles are outlined in back stitch with dark red thread.
WIPW138-blublot-kutch-4
I am hoping to complete the bead work around the neck on green benarasi georgette tunic this week.
Many tunic projects are there to be designed, still my evenings are spent browsing the net for tatting patterns. An idea of designing kutchwork patterns based on kolams [decorative designs drawn with powder on floor during festivals] has been brewing in mind for some time. This is an interesting project, but will consume a lot of time. Still dreaming about the possibilities gives pleasure.

The second part of the cream mirror work yoke starts with the cream tunic being short. It was not matching well with the striped salwar because of the length. An idea of attaching another fabric was considered and rejected. The new fabric might clash with the salwar again. So a decision was made to keep this tunic aside and a lavender colour fabric which will go well with the striped salwar was chosen on the last visit to India. The lavender fabric needed some embroidery. While browsing through the wardrobe, it seemed like a good idea to stitch this cream mirror work on to this lavender fabric. Tailor did a nice job of taking out the embroidered pieces and stitched them on to this lavender tunic. The gold beads had to go.
The sleeves on lavender tunic.
lavmirt-sleeves
The tunic with cream mirror work attached to the front.
lavender mirrorwork tunic

lavmirt
Now this piece does not have enough lavender elements. I started with working chain stitch in variegated silk thread inside the curves.
lavmirt-1
There was some unworked space near the shoulder. The embroidery was extended to cover the space. It was helpful to have a record of the thread colours worked earlier.
lavmirt-2
After working chain stitch with variegated thread, a line of stem stitch and up and down buttonhole stitch combination was worked beside the orange outline in antique violet thread.
lavmirt-3
To reduce the cream colour on fabric and enhance the lavender colour, small triangles were worked with herringbone filling.
lavmirt-4a
The yoke after working these triangles.
lavmirt-4b
The same idea of triangles worked in herringbone filling was extended to neck border too.
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The completed yoke.
cream mirror work on lavender tunic
The tunic set is ready to wear now.

The story of this yoke starts with this striped cotton fabric.
cremirt-salwar
Thinking all these colours can be used for embroidery on a cream base, a cream cotton fabric was chosen for the tunic. This cream mangalagiri handloom cotton fabric was given to the tailor for marking the front and sleeves.

And  a simple border design was embroidered on the sleeves.
cremirt-sleeves
The pattern for the same.
cremirt-pats
The embroidery for this mirror work started with green colour skein. The mirror outlines were worked n chain stitch, the curls were worked in stem stitch and the leaves in leaf stitch.
cremirt-1
The second stage was to work the orange colour skein. Chain stitches and buttonhole stitches were worked with this thread.
cremirt-2
Next in line was the antique violet colour skein. The triangles around the neck were worked in buttonhole stitches and the second mirror outlines were worked in chain stitch.
cremirt-3
The last outline around mirrors were worked in polyester gold colour thread.
cremirt-4
The diamond shaped mirrors were outlined with variegated polyester thread.
cremirt-5
The remaining chain stitch outlines were worked in yellow colour skein.
cremirt-6
The same yellow skein was used for working all the mirrors.
cremirt-7
Oval shaped gold bead was the last detail to be worked on this embroidery.
cremirt-8
The pattern for this yoke.
cremirt-paty
The completed tunic.
cream mirror work tunic
This was the story of this tunic in 2014. After two and a half years, the same yoke became a part of another tunic. Which will be narrated later.

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