I am excited to begin the series on applique work in India. Applique work is practiced in many parts of India and some are more popular than others. It is mostly done by hand but sometimes, it is done on a sewing machine and later hand-embroidered. The work you see today are examples of the applique work from the state of Rajastan and are completely done by hand.
I am sure that most of you know what applique work is. It involves cutting pieces of a fabric and stitching them on top of another fabric to form a design.
This white on white/white on cream appliqued pillow cover is characteristic of Rajastani applique work. "Tree of life" which is the central design here is a widely used motif.
Here is a a close up of the bird that is appliqued. If you look closely you'll see some stitches to mark the eye and the neck of the bird.
Here is another close up of the animal that is appliqued again with a few stitches to mark the eye, neck and the body.
Next comes an interesting twist to applique - the reverse applique. It is just as or more appealing than regular applique. In reverse applique also, two layers of fabric are used. The bottom fabric is revealed when the top layer is cut, tucked under and hemmed. It is a beautiful piece, isn't it?
Here is a close up. I hope you can see how the top fabric is tucked under and stitched.
Finally, a treasured piece from my wardrobe. This piece has Rajastan written all over it!! The lower fabric is a red 'Tie and Dye', otherwise known as 'Bandhani' in India. (It is a dyeing technique practiced in Rajastan). A long strip of this fabric is first hemmed in place, and then the design is carefully cut out from the upper fabric.
I hope you can see the design better here. The applique design is continued to the sleeve as well.
Another close up of the same design.
I have more to share on applique work including a short tutorial. Will see you soon!!