For my textile-y friends

For my textile-y friends

The best bit about buying goods in Fabindia, is that their provenance is explained.  Though the fabrics and some of the techniques are familiar, the details are so clearly explained that I thought I’d share.


First of all, the (in)famous indigo Kurta.  The main body of the garment has a resist pattern of dots, the neckline has stripes with handstitched accents in red cotton.


It’s really well constructed with french seams and all neatened edges, but has no shaping whatsoever.  The fact that it fits very comfortably suggests the same might be true for moi!


The two dupatta are specific techniques, though, and are labelled as such.  The white one is an example of Chikankari “a fine and intricate embroidery traditionally done using white untwisted yarn on white muslin fabric.  The word chikan comes from the Persian word chakeen meaning the renderings of delicate pattern on fabric. These patterns and motifs are generally floral or geometric with exquisite delicacy of detail, lending it a light gossamer-like quality.  The stitches are unique and of three categories: Flat stitches which are delicate, subtle and lie close to the surface of the fabric; Embossed stitches highlighted from the fabric surface, lending it a characteristically grainy texture and Jali work, which creates a delicate net effect.”


My piece is sprinkled with small twinkly silver beads – applied regularly throughout the whole dupatta, including through the embroidery.


On closer inspection, these aren’t beads at all, but small metal pieces, bent into place almost like paperclips through the fabric.


I’m hoping that, once home and able to wash it properly, it will soften up a little more.  But it is really beautiful and looks great with the indigo blue.


The other dupatta is altogether different in character and, for me, sums up the colours of Mumbai.


It’s a piece of Chanderi fabric, printed in hot pinks, oranges and corals with a hint of gold woven into it.

“Chanderi is a small town situated on the flats of the Vindhyachal and has been a well known centre for beautiful woven saris.  Chanderi fabric is renowned for its gossamer quality, placement of motifs and design intricacy and has been the chosen fabric for saris produced for royalty.  The fabric’s unique qualities result from the traditional method of sizing and handweaving developed over centuries”


Finally, a close up of the shawl I bought in Cochin.  It’s a fine wool covered completely with this tight pattern of chain stitching.  Beautiful.

We’re at sea today enjoying a chance to catch up with things,to try to repeat our Trivia triumph from yesterday and generally enjoy the warm journey through the Arabian Sea.

To Oman and back

To Oman and back

The Wedding

The Wedding