This is the last past of the series in hand embroidery on wearable. In this post we’ll consider some ideas of designing embroidery on tunics which are marked for necklines and sleeves. By this method it is possible to work any type of embroidery of our choice on wearable. Ready to wear tunics are made this way on large scale.
The fabrics are marked for necklines, sleeves, slits, shoulders, borders. The chosen embroidery designs are transferred on to the fabrics. These fabrics are secured on big rectangular embroidery frames. The embroidery is done by embroiderers trained for this. After the embroidery is completed, the fabrics are taken away from the frames and sewn by tailors.
But we can do it on a small scale. After choosing the embroidery design, we can ask the tailor [or if a person is good tailor, then help themselves] to mark the places on the fabric to work the embroidery. Using these markings as guidelines, we can transfer the pattern on the fabrics. After completing the embroidery, the fabrics can be sewn into tunics, blouses, shirts… as the case may be.
Here are few samples of embroidered tunics, which were marked, embroidered and sewn into tunics.
This mangalagiri cotton tunic with stripes was marked with neckline. This was in early days when I was trying this idea. Though it was marked, the pattern chosen for this kutchwork embroidery was set apart from the actual neck line. After embroidering on the pattern, I added some small kutchwork motifs below the neck.

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The shirt fabric is linen and the idea was to work white work on this. The markings were made according to the pattern, which was to be worked on both sides in the front. Crochet edging was worked later on the sleeve. This embroidery was a tough project, linen fabric did not help.

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This yellow tunic is cotton. The pattern was transferred on to the front, where a marking was made for the neck. White and yellow carbons were ruled out on this colour. Green carbon paper was used to transfer the pattern. The marking is still on the neck to show the difference between the neck line on pattern and the actual neckline!

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This mangalagiri cotton tunic has kantha embroidery on it. The tailor had marked a simple round neck. The pattern transfer and embroidery were worked on front and sleeves based on that. Seeing the work, he changed the neckline to this beautiful one. Sometimes it is better to leave some small space around the neck, to facilitate these kind of surprises. There is also a possibility of the tailor cutting off a small part of embroidery during his course of work.

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The pattern for this kutchwork embroidery was drawn with this neck design. It was transferred on to the marked fabric. This tunic sample is a proof of a good coordination of pattern neckline and the tunic neckline.

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The embroidery design for this cotton mangalagiri tunic was picked from a salwar design magazine. The tailor had this magazine with him. When I wanted to do this project, he not only marked but also explained where each and every element should be placed. Based on the inspiration and the guidance, this pattern was drawn and embroidered. Around the neck I had to draw the elements by hand to get the same effect. Still it was worth it. This embroidery has surface satin stitch on it.

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Each and every design on these samples was chosen for that particular tunic in mind and they were all worked with the help of the markings made by the tailor.
We can work any embroidery on the tunic fabric in this manner. Important thing to note is to check whether the fabric is suitable for that embroidery. It is not just designing the embroidery, the tunic style is also kept in mind. It is a very interesting work. Practice, perseverance, eye for colours, basic calculations and understanding of fabrics and embroidery are the tools.
Enjoy designing and embroidering on wearable.

In this part of the series we will see the possibilities of working embroidery on sewn tunics. We all have some plain tunics either sewn by a tailor or bought from the shop. These tunics inspire us to work some simple embroidery to enhance the look. Big shops have same tunics in different sizes, how to make them unique? is the question. Sometimes printed salwars or patialas or leggings, jeans help us to jazz up a plain tunic. The necklines, the sleeves and the style are already there. The first thing to choose is the embroidery itself. The options are- our embroidery skill and use of mirrors or beads or stones. There are embellished pieces available in the market. These pieces can be glued or sewn or appliqued on to the tunic fabric. Now moving on to the colour choices. Generally colours are chosen with tunic in mind or are based on the salwar or leggings. Sometimes a colour in our mind also brings about a project. Tracing the design. This is the trickiest part in embroidering on sewn tunics. A well sewn tunic may look odd with wrongly placed design. It is hard to erase the mistakes of the copied design. Ensure the design is placed at the right place before tracing. Some tips- Please work at one sitting, instead of moving away for some other purpose. Use a steady hand. Stabilize the pattern with pins. Lift and check at different points before tracing. If there are pleats, seams on the tunics, ensure the pattern papers placed properly and careful in drawing over and around them. These are the vulnerable places, where if the pressure applied is more it may cause tearing of the pattern. Place the tunic on a flat surface. Spread it well. Be careful while securing with pins. Pierce with the pin the paper and the tunic together. Smoothen the surface of creases after the pins are all in place. Check often to see the placement is as perfect as possible. This part is not to be done when we are tired. Tracing any pattern on to the fabric is tedious. There is another option. When we want to stitch mirrors, beads on to the fabric, we can mark the points with the help of scale. Small lines and curves can be drawn with the help of pencil and scale if we have a steady hand. Now let see some samples of embroidery on sewn tunics. This tunic has a kutchwork motif element which is repeated to make a border. The single motif element is extended a little and used for the centre. The border was traced without much difficulty with the use of .the lines on this checked cotton mangalagiri tunic. The centre was folded and midpoint of the design was placed on it before securing with pins.

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This tunic fabric is Kanchi cotton. The border on the fabric was horizontally sewn in front. The centre was folded and the midpoint of this kutchwork design was placed over it before it was traced. The border was too plain, some line stitches are worked on them and around the neck.

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This design with the square especially for this neck was traced in the centre on this cotton tunic.

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The tunic fabric is tussar. It was sewn with lining. The embroidery was worked with single strand of anchor cotton. To fill inside the design space with running stitches, the lines on the fabric were used.

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Here are some samples were the markings are made with the help of ruler. In this border, points are marked with the help of pencil and ruler. Fly stitch variation is worked on those marked points in black thread. Mirrors and beads can be worked in this manner.

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This cotton tunic  in maroon colour was sewn with these borders in the front. The sleeves were made in cotton ikat fabric. After copying the motif below these borders, the markings for the mirrors, kutchwork squares were made with the help of ruler. The individual kutchwork elements were drawn by hand.

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In this tunic, the sleeves, the border and the fabric below the neck were all sewn by the tailor. The paisleys on the printed yoke was highlighted with white thread. The space around the fabric was quite thick, it would have been hard to work the embroidery on it. Using the outline, the kutchwork elements were drawn at equal intervals around it. Gold sequins and beads were added as embellishments.

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This linen tunic was sewn with tiny pleats in front. Markings were made with the ruler for the flowers, the stems were drawn around it.

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It was difficult to use the embroidery hoop on these four tunics, so I did not use it. These samples are shown here to explain some ideas on embroidery on tunics. The samples used are my own. Use this as a reference and move ahead and work to create your own beautiful tunics. The last post on this series will be embroidery on tunic part two, where the tailor cooperates and marks the neck, sleeves for embroidery.

In this post we’ll see some other options of embroidery on tunics. We have come across embroidered pieces of fabrics on stores. These pieces can be sewn on tunics, blouses, cushions, bed sheets etc. Let us see some choices, If we are interested in making our own embroidered pieces. We can design the pattern, choose the colour of the fabric and determine where it can be sewn.
While designing the pattern- There are pattern books, patterns from the net, used patterns from other sources.
Before using these patterns, they have to be adjusted to our requirement. Best thing would be to enlarge the design on photo copier to A3 or B3 size. If this is not possible. Enlarge parts of the design and paste them together. The design thus enlarged can be copied on to the fabric directly with carbon paper. Embroidery work can be done on this separate fabric and sewn on the tunic.
Choosing the fabric- the fabric used for embroidery can  be of same colour, of contrasting colour or of some colour from the tunic fabric itself, or made of two fabrics. This gives lots of options for creativity. Best places to look for inspiration are the online shopping sites.
Placement of embroidered piece on tunic. The embroidered piece can be kept in front of the tunic below the neckline, on the sleeves, on the shoulders,or around the arm hole or the same motifs can be sewn in front. This placement of the piece also depends on the style of the tunic or blouse.
Now let us see some samples of the tunics with separate embroidered pieces.
This tunic is silk georgette. The embroidery was worked on black cotton fabric. A simple embroidery with wooden beads.

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The tunic fabric is synthetic trouser material. The mirror work embroidery was done separately on the same material.

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The tunic fabric is silk chiffon. The bead work embroidery on front and sleeves was worked on silk cotton fabric.

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These are some samples where the design includes the neckline.
This tunic is in printed silk. The zardosi work yoke was done on cotton fabric. Since the embroidery covers the whole yoke, the choice of fabric does not have much significance.

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This tunic is silk chiffon. The bead work embroidery in the front is worked on handloom cotton fabric.

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The tunic fabric is silk georgette and the stone work embroidery is done handloom cotton fabric. The fabric differences is noticeable when they are of same colour.

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I had worked this embroidery piece on a black mangalagiri tunic. That tunic became too tight [ or I became fat] . I used that piece on this cotton ikat tunic

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The fabric is printed cotton. Three embroidered pieces on red cotton fabric were made for the front of the tunic [last one not seen] and the sleeves were also worked on this same red fabric. Enough allowance of fabric to sew the sleeves was given on the red fabric.

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All these fabrics were first embroidered and sewn on tunics. The designs were my own. They are all a result of trials and errors. I learnt to contain the errors, before they reached the embroidery stage. So that, the only task was to choose the right colours of thread and the stitches. Still people will have their opinions depending on their taste. These samples are to show that how we can design our own embroidery pieces, which can be sewn on tunics. If any of the steps need elaboration or clarification please ask on the comments.
We’ll see about embroidering directly on the tunics on the next post

The yoke and sleeves of this tunic are completed. Small sequins and beads are stitched to the centre of the yoke to give the effect of buttons.
The completed yoke and sleeves-

beige and green tunic-yoke 4

The embroidered pieces are sewn to the tunic. It now looks like this-

beige and green tunicthe closeup- beige&green tunic closeup

Choosing a green colour for the yoke and sleeves would have a been a better choice.But I wanted to try this in brown colour to learn the effect. This yoke pattern leaves some empty space , a crowded pattern could have enhanced the look of the tunic. These are just other options to work with.

The beige thread was first worked for the central pattern on the yoke. Then the same was used for the zigzag pattern on the outline and sleeves.
The details of the embroidery on borders –
The outlines were done in back stitch in green and yellow. The round patterns were done in satin stitch[ fearing the surface satin might alter the small rounds into ablong shapes] in majenta thread. small fly stitches were done in the valley in light green thread.
Now the zigzag pattern was worked in phulkari- surface satin stitch.

beige &green tunic -3 yoke

 

The next post on the completed yoke and tunic.

This beige fabric is printed with traditional Indian pattern.I loved the colour , print and the combination.

beige&green tunic fabric

Generally I would have chosen a green fabric for yoke , but this time it was brown [with maroon mixed up some where]
Pattern- This was a simple phulkari border used for yoke and sleeves.
Colours- Though beige and green with traces of golden yellow would have been perfect, I found the green did not show well in the brown fabric, I kept the beige, yellow and added majenta to enhance the effect.
I started with some green outlines, worked the circles in majenta, then the some triangles in yellow[ the yellow from the tunic fabric did not go well on this brown too].
the yoke-

B>unic- yoke 1

The progress on the next post.

This tunic I started a few months ago. The tunic fabric was in cream printed with green, yellow , orange and red colours. I chose a light green fabric for the yoke, sleeves and salwar[Indian pants].
I wanted to do a continous kutch embroidery pattern, and some fillers with other stitches.
The continous patterns in kutch embroidery, is done in one thread. A variegated thread can be used, which will have slightly different effect . When one colour is used , it is sure that, only that colour will dominate the whole pattern. I wanted to study and work this aspect in this tunic piece.
With the green base for yoke, I chose yellow for the kutch work[because that colour will accommodate red and orange for filling patterns]. The other colours were- red,orange, copper orange, medium green, and cream.
The embroidery done on sleeves-

green& yellow kutch- sleeves

I’ll continue with the yoke on my next post.