Fabrics from India

A few months ago I had the pleasure of visiting a friend in India and in addition to the expected fabric buying frenzy, this trip was a feast for the eyes.

If you’re like me, one of the clichés that comes to your mind when you hear “India” is a multitude of colorful fabrics. It is a cliché for a very good reason : Sarees and Shalwar kameez of all colors brighten up the streets of polluted major cities and small villages alike.

Hand block printed fabric

During a trip to Jaipur, a city renowned for its hand-printed fabrics, I had the chance to see craftsmen in action. Here are some pictures :

Hand printed fabric jaipur

You can see, at the top of the picture, the tray that contains the golden paint.

hand block printed indian fabric

The artisan dips his block in the tray and press it onto the fabric in order to print the pattern.

indian printed fabric

After a first pass with the golden paint and a stamp block, they do a second one over it with another block and a different color to complete the pattern.

india fabric jaipur

Printed fabrics hung out to dry in open air. The white fabric is not paint but the result of a previous dyeing with the “tie and dye” technique.

 

Buying fabric in India

During my trip to India, I went on a fabric shopping spree. From the outdoor markets to the chic district shops, I bought fabric everywhere ! And came back with 70 meters (over 76 yards) of cotton, crepe, georgette, silk and wool. Yes, I had planned an additional empty suitcase for the return trip from the beginning. 😉
I didn’t buy any saree. I would have never worn them and cutting in these beautiful 6 meters pieces would have made my heart hurt. I hardly bought fabric by the yard either… And now you’re wondering how I managed to bring back 70 meters of Indian fabrics, right?
Well, in India fabric is very commonly (mainly actually) sold in precut bundles to sew Salwar Kameez ensembles.
Indian fabric

some of the Indian fabrics I brought back

This bundles are called “suits”, they include three coordinating fabrics to make a long Indian tunic (kameez), pants (salwar) and a scarf (dupatta). The edges of the scarf are usually finished unless you purchased your “suit” at the market, in which case you may need to finish the edges.

A Salwar Kameez bundle is about 4.5 to 5 meters (5 to 5.5 yards) of fabric (excluding the dupatta).
indian fabric Nalli silk saree

Indian fabric “suit” from Nalli silk sarees

Buying fabric at Indian markets

At markets, and almost everywhere in India, be prepared to bargain. As a tourist,  you’ll most probably be announced a price 2-3 times higher than the regular price. I was in company of  Indian friends so I mostly paid regular prices (150 to 250 rupees for a suit bundle).
I was in India in December and on markets I have seen almost only synthetic fabrics, from average to poor quality. I’ve been told that in summer I would have been able to find some pretty cottons.
Indian market in Delhi

Indian market in Delhi (no it’s not fabric ^^)

Buying fabric at high end shops

In the high end shops (Nalli Silk Sarees, Kilol …) prices are displayed. There are high-quality fabrics (I still drool thinking about the beautiful silks) and prices can get very, very high. You will not find “suit” bundles for less than 500 rupees and expect in most cases a average price of 800 to 2000 rupees per “suit”. And much much more expensive (5000-10000 rupees) if you want very high quality fabric. As a reference, the the wool suits that I bought (very fine quality) were around 2000-2500 rupees.

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Red and black Indian fabric  from Nalli Silk Saree

Red and black Indian fabric from a Nalli Silk Sarees shop

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Indian fabric from a Kilol shop

Indian fabric from a Kilol shop

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So here I am now with my beautiful fabrics. And over a year later I still haven’t made a big dent in my “Indian” stash (that sounds weird !). Just a tiny one ! I need more time to sew… In fact I need more time for everything and I think I’m not the only one !

Easy breezy pillowcase tutorial

Easy sewing tutorial to make a removable pillowcase without any buttons or zipper.

And all this with a single rectangle of fabric and achievable in half an hour for beginners. I have a little practice and sewed three in 30 minutes.

 

easy pillowcase tutorial

Coordinated fabrics – Salt water

Envers du coussin : on voit le rabat par où insérer le coussin dans la housse.

Back of pillowcase : you can see the opening through which you’ll insert your pillow.

 

+ More pics of the easy pillowcases

Cut

 

A rectangle of fabric :

Length = (length of pillow x 2) + 10 cm (=4″)
Width = height of pillow + 2 cm (=3/4″)

Seam allowance are included and is 1 cm (= 3/8″)

 

Tuto coussin portefeuille

Cut a rectangle.

Examples

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  • For a 40 x 40 cm pillow:

Length : (40 x 2) + 10 = 90 cm

Width : 40 + 2 cm = 42 cm[/one_half]

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  • For a 50 x 50 cm pillow :

Length : (50 x 2) + 10 = 110 cm

Width : 50 + 2 cm = 52 cm

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Trace

With chalk, trace the fold lines on the wrong side of the fabric. This fold lines will be used in step 2.

Here is how to trace them :

L = length of pillow

  1. 1st fold line  at L – 5 cm (= L – 2″) from the edge
  2. 2nd fold line at L from 1st fold line
Tracer les repères de pliage à la craie

trace the fold lines with chalk

Examples

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  • For a 40 x 40 cm pillow:

1st fold line at 35 cm from the edge

2nd fold line at 40 cm from fold line #1

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  • For a 50 x 50 cm pillow :

1st fold line at 45 cm from the edge

2nd fold line at 50 cm from fold line #1

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Sew

Step 1 : hem the 2 short edges

Create a narrow hem by folding 0,5 cm (=3/16″) to the wrong side and folding 0,5 cm (=3/16″) again.

Stitch.

Press.

Ourler les bords courts

hem the narrow edges

 

Step 2 : Fold

Fold the fabric, right sides together, along the two fold lines.

Fold the large panel first and then the small one.

Press the folds.

Tutoriel coussin facile

Fold along the lines

 

Step 3 : sew

Sew along the 2 open edges, with a 1 cm (=3/8″) seam allowance.

Tuto housse coussin facile

Sew to close the sides

 

Step 4 : finish the seams

Finish the 2 previous seams, with a serger or your sewing machine using a zigzag stitch.

Finir les marges

Finish the seams

Step 5 : final touches

Turn the case right side out and push out the corners (with a chopstick for ex.)

Press the pillowcase especially the upper and lower edges.

 

Just slide your pillow inside and your done !

Tissus coordonnés - Salt water

Coordinated fabric- Salt water

 

Ze so easy pillows

Three pillows, very easy to make, which covers have no buttons, no zipper … But are still removable!

I made these pillows for my friend Thierry… Yes he’s a guy… So it’s really not sure he’ll wash his pillow covers someday ^ ^. But if he feels the urge to do so, it’s best if there are the least possible obstacles (buttons, zips, …) between the covers and the washing machine!

Tutorial

These are simple wrapped covers, made ​​from just one rectangle of fabric with a few straight stitch lines : simple and quick to make !

The tutorial is already on my French blog, I’ll be translating it soon.

Fabrics

All 3 fabrics are from the Salt Water by Tula Pink collection, bought at Hawthrone Threads.

I loveeee them (especially the one with the octopus) and I struggled to use them to make something for someone else….  Even if I bought the fabrics especially for Thierry.

So, why did I picked these fabrics for Thierry?… Warning : this is the “I’m-a-grown-up-with-geek-teenager-hobbies” moment !

You should know that Thierry is our GM (= Game Master = the one who leads the scenario in a role playing game) for Cthulhu (= mystery game set in the 20’s, inspired by the books of HP Lovecraft, where the big bad guy is Cthulhu : kind of a giant octopus *).

Illustrations of Cthulhu on Google Images.

So when I saw the octopus print, I immediately thought of him. Plus the print is lovely (even if you’re not a 40 years old who still plays Role Playing Games).

*Well… hum… This is a shortcut and reading this, it might seem… Hum… Well… Anyway…

Pictures

Easy pillow cases

Ze so easy pillows

Tissus coordonnés - Salt water

Coordinated fabrics – Salt water

Tissus coordonnés - Salt water

Coordinated farics – Salt water

Octo garden

Octo garden

Sea debris

Sea debris

Sea stripes - Envers du coussin : on voit le rabat par où insérer le coussin dans la housse.

Sea stripes – Wrong side of pillow : you can see the flap through which the pillow is inserted in the cover.

 

Warning do not watch the previous picture for too long ! It stings the eyes ! Hopefully it does not sting as much when you see it in person.