This tunic fabric is cotton. It might be Kanchi or south Indian cotton. It came with a woven  border on it. The embroidery is worked after the tunic is sewn. The tailor stitched the border on the tunic beautifully and neatly.

pinborkut-before emb

pinborkut-before emb

The idea was to work kutchwork borders just below the borders in the front of tunic and use mirrors to further embellish it. Presently the designs I am working on are exclusively kutchwork, without any other stitches, influenced by Armenian Marash embroidery. The small kutchwork borders were drawn free hand with pencil. When I started embroidering on the tunics, this is how the designs were drawn on sewn tunics. Going down the memory lane, the kutchwork embroidery was worked with yellow anchor cotton skein# 304.

pinbotkut-left

pinbotkut-left

The second border is made of square kutchwork motifs. I was still in the stage of adding mirrors below this border. The detail-

pinborkut-rightdet

pinborkut-rightdet

The completed second border. When looking at these two borders, I felt the embroidered borders were quite attractive below the woven borders by themselves, and if the mirrors are stitched, they might take the focus away from the beauty of the woven border.

pinborkut-right

pinborkut-right

While buying this fabric, I could get a cotton ikat with similar colour scheme of the woven border for matching salwar [Indian pants].

pinborkut-salwar

pinborkut-salwar

The completed tunic.

pink border kutchwork tunic

pink border kutchwork tunic

Since the patterns were drawn on the tunic itself, the pattern on paper is not available for sharing.

I went to Chennai, India for two weeks. It was a whirlwind trip. A wonderful combination of spiritual, religious, social and shopping. The embroidery was not even looked at during this period. After returning to Muscat, first started with the Randje per week challenge 2015 catching up.

WIPW61-RPW2015

WIPW61-RPW2015

Shopping included some handloom fabrics for tunics, of course! This tunic is printed soft cotton, with cotton crepe salwar.

WIPW61-whipinkgreent1

WIPW61-whipinkgreent1

With an urge to use a contrast fabric as yoke for this tunic, a striped mangalagiri green fabric was chosen. The idea is to use the stripes as base for linear stitches, started with zigzag back stitch and chain stitch outline.

WIPW61-whipinkgreent-2

WIPW61-whipinkgreent-2

An idea to revive the kutchwork border designs which were drawn in the year 1992 has created another activity now. The process of coping these designs [the papers became old] started 3 days ago.

WIPW61-kutchborders1

WIPW61-kutchborders1

Today we’ll see how to draw neck on paper using a sewn tunic. Ensure that the tunic is perfectly sewn and  has a simple neck design.

sample tunic-neckline

sample tunic-neckline

I have chosen this tunic as sample

st-nm-depth

st-nm-depth

Place the tunic flat on any surface. Imagine a line on the middle of the tunic. Place a scale[ best is using an inch tape, I couldn’t hold the tape and take a picture, so used scale] on it. Here, we are measuring the depth of the neck in front. Stretch the fabric, measure it and note it down. It is 6.5 inches.

st-nm-width

st-nm-width

Now we’ll measure the wideness of the neck. Placing a paper [keep a scale] on the middle line, using it as the starting point, using an inch tape measure the width of the neck. It is 3.1/4 on this sample.

paper sample-neck

paper sample-neck

Fold a large paper [ A3 or B3 size]  in the middle. Meaning the narrow side should be folded in half. Mark a point on the fold at the top of the paper leaving a 5mm space. This is the starting point. The depth is noted on the fold [y axis] from the starting point. And the width is noted from the starting point perpendicular to the fold. Now draw a neck design of your choice.
V-neck, U-neck are easiest.
Remember that, this is half of neck, whatever you draw will be half pattern, after drawing or tracing or copying the pattern on this half, place a carbon, red, blue or black, this ink side should face the other half of the paper. When we draw along the pattern placing the carbon like this, the original half pattern  gets copied on the other half. This technique is simple, fool proof.
Now some sample tunics, where embroidered borders are worked on separate fabric

eonwnl-1

eonwnl-1

After drawing the neck line, individual motif patterns were drawn around it. The tunic material is chiffon. It does not have a lining. The neck required a fabric which will hold the shape. The neck is deeper in this sample, it requires a vest to wear underneath it.

eonwnl-2

eonwnl-2

This sample is to show that sometimes pattern can be drawn and embroidered after the tunic is sewn. We just need to have some basic idea to the work on. The tunic fabric is cotton ikat. The embroidery is Kashmiri couching. The tunic was sewn with this  cross over neckline in beige fabric. Marking with scale the pattern was drawn. The pattern was two lines and points at equidistant. And embroidery commenced at that point.

eonwnl-3a

eonwnl-3a

The fabric with the copied pattern was sewn on the tunic first, and the embroidery was worked on that later.

eonwnl-3b

eonwnl-3b

In this sample, the square neck I had drawn and designed seemed too broad, so added a small triangular motif on both sides, to narrow the neck .
These samples here are to show that, it is better to have some idea of necklines before drawing the pattern and embroidery.
Things to note- if the embroidery is done very well but sewing it on the tunic is not done properly, the whole project will be constant reminder of the shortfalls made by either party. And, it is difficult for the person sewing to rectify any mistakes of the embroiderer.
Next we’ll see about yoke worked on separate fabric, which can be attached to the tunic

These are samples to further explore embroidery borders worked on separate cloth, and are later attached to the tunics.

eonwb-5

eonwb-5

In this ikat mercerized cotton tunic, Black work embroidery border is worked on aida cloth. This easy in the sense, the pattern tracing is totally avoided. Cross stitch, black work, kasuti , chicken scratch embroideries can be worked on aida, matti or any other fabric with checks, dots. Measure the length of the border required and start the embroidery.

eonwb-6a

eonwb-6a

These are mirrorwork/ phulkari borders done on dark blue fabric. These are for sleeves. note the extra space on either sides for the seam allowance.

eonwb-6b

eonwb-6b

The same embroidered border along with a small motif attached to a Bengal cotton tunic. I did not attempt the neck because the tunic fabric is fine count cotton, the mirrors and embroidery might have weighed down the neck.

eonwb-7

eonwb-7

The tunic fabric is cotton ikat. The same black work border notion is elaborated here. The length of the tunic below the neck, the sleeves, two panels on the sides were measured. The black work pattern was drawn on black mangalagiri cotton fabric. And the embroidery was done with threads and some silver beads. The pattern tracing was in full swing for this tunic!

eonwb-8

eonwb-8

This tunic is a recycled tunic. Meaning, the embroidery on the green fabric was done on another tunic, which became too tight. So these borders were attached to this violet mangalagiri tunic.
This is the first level in embroidering on wearable. The focus is on colour coordination, pattern choices and the embroidery itself. And this is an attempt to give an idea to start .These borders are faster to work, and chances of making mistakes are minimal and they are also easily rectifiable. It is better to start with small borders.

Once we are comfortable working this we can move on to drawing the neckline on paper.

I have been embroidering on wearables – tunics, blouses for quite some time. On hand embroidery lovers group on Facebook, there was a request to provide the details about this work. I am starting this short series hoping it would benefit the people who are searching for instructions to embroider on wearables.

When I started embroidering on wearables, I started with stitched blouses for sarees. But on this series, I‘ll start with simple embroidery on tunics, sleeves with some samples.

We’ll start with borders worked on separate fabric, which can be attached to the tunic sleeves later.

Requirements-

Tunic fabric

Another suitable fabric for embroidery

Border patterns for embroidery

Inch tape

Pencil, scale, white, yellow carbon.

Start with the measurements. Take a tunic which fits you perfectly and measure around the sleeves, it can be half sleeves, three fourth sleeves, or cap sleeves. Note it down. Give an allowance of 1.5 inches on both sides extra. Same way choose the length required for the front of the tunic. This is individual preference, it can be long, short or medium or just a single motif. The same way, the length of the side slits can also be measured. Sometimes a border attached at the end of the tunic gives an elegant look. This kind of borders are fairly long. Ideal thing would be to use woven borders from sarees or dupattas.  These borders can also be embellished with embroidery. For all these embroidered borders, leave a seam allowance of ¾ inch on all sides. When using an embroidery hoop we need more fabric around the pattern to fit the hoop. These extra fabric can be cut after the work.

Fabric for embroidery-

This is an interesting task. With the tunic fabric in hand choose the matching fabric to work the embroidery on. This can be the base colour or contrast or small speck of colour from the tunic design itself. This is a very wild field.

For choosing the pattern for embroidery, it is required to have some embroidery patterns. I generally use the available pattern as an inspiration and create my own designs.

Here are some samples which can be used as guidelines for choosing the fabric for embroidery and the embroidery patterns

eonwb-1

eonwb-1

In this sample, the tunic is plain chiffon, the fabric used for embroidery is of the same colour in silk cotton. The pattern is single flower motif which is repeated for the length required. The width of the border is doubled for the tunic front. The length is medium. And the embroidery is done in contrasting colours.

eonwb-2

eonwb-2

The tunic fabric is silk chiffon, and the embroidery was done in white cotton fabric. The pattern –a design of flower with leaves is continued for the length of the border.  The border is short in front of the tunic.The embroidery is used to bring in some colour on white background.

eonwb-3

eonwb-3

The tunic fabric is silk. The fabric used for embroidery is cotton of the same colour. A simple circular pattern is repeated here. The threads used are chosen from the leaf colours on the tunic, and worked with dark brown seed beads. The embroidery does not extend to sleeves.

eonwb-4

eonwb-4

The tunic fabric is block printed cotton. The embroidery is done on contrasting half white colour fabric. The motif is repeated along with some mirrors on this border.  Colours for embroidery was chosen from Gujarathi embroidery  and the colour of the tunic which inspired this pattern.

We will continue with some more samples on borders. These samples are given here to get an idea about working embroidery on tunics. more details on patterns will come later in the series.Feel free to ask questions on comments, it would help me to improve this series.

After completing the randje per week 2014 challenge, I thought of concentrating more on embroidery on tunics. Satin stitches with cotton skeins were started on the central panel of blue/green crepe tunic.

wipw38-blugrecrepet-3

wipw38-blugrecrepet-3

While working on this my tailor came back from his visit. A pink crepe silk fabric was given to him for marking the centre and sleeves for a tunic, which he marked. I had thought of a simple creeper design for the centre for this tunic [some idea malfunction]. This design required a full front and not just the central panel alone. Now the front panel and sleeves were sitting there. A new pattern was drawn for those. I have a green leggings which does not match any tunic. Matching it with this tunic seems a nice idea now. It is floral pattern. Started the leaf stitches on leaves [what else?] with cotton skein and silk thread. It is hard to use the hoop on this fabric, may be it needs some fusing in back. Where to look for this? Spending time on searching and learning is not practical now. The work started on sleeve-

wipw38-pinkcrepet-1

wipw38-pinkcrepet-1

Have drawn some dots on white paper to try some ideas of chicken scratch on dotted fabric.

wipw38-chicken scratch

wipw38-chicken scratch

The tunic fabrics are block printed cottons. The violet fabric for the sleeves was pin-tucked.

violetaquagreenmirror-fabrics

violetaquagreenmirror-fabrics

The embroidery was based on two elements, a tunic I saw on the net, which had heavily printed borders in the front and sleeves and Balushi embroidery from Pakistan. The Balushi embroidery patterns with mirror work are very different from this pattern. I just mix and matched along the fabrics the two ideas. The pattern for the front, the same border was used for the sleeves.

violetaquagreenmirror-pattern

violetaquagreenmirror-pattern

The embroidery work before working the mirrors in violet thread.

violetaquagreenmirror-emb

violetaquagreenmirror-emb

Diamond mirrors are worked into the spaces between the embroidery.

violetaquagreenmirror-mirrors

violetaquagreenmirror-mirrors

The tunic

violet aqua green mirror work tunic

violet aqua green mirror work tunic

I feel the contrasts- fabrics, prints are quite intimidating, and the tunic fits the label of –gypsy costume!