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Kantha embroidery

November 3, 2018

I’ve discovered, and fallen in love with, Kantha embroidery. It’s a traditional craft in this part of the world (Bengal/Bangladesh). Old saris are stitched together to make a blanket or throw for the home (or for children). Not only is it beautiful but it’s recycling done right. I bought a cheap cotton tunic to wear whilst here as it’s so hot, but when I got it back I realised that it’s too tight across the chest. I was inspired by the Kantha I’ve seen to try to adapt the top to fit me. The top wasn’t expensive by western standards at all – I got it from a street market – but I’m aware of how much that probably cost someone to make somewhere so wanted to make it my own, and to settle into Bengal a bit more. I’ve been planning this journey for a year now and can’t believe I’m here, which is absolutely and utterly amazing, but I’m also only human, and I’m jet lagged, and a bit nervous about all the new people I’ll meet (although everybody has been so so kind and generous) so spending the day stitching has helped me to just decompress, slow down, and look forward to the journey ahead.

Here’s some photos of my friend’s Kantha blankets, as well as my own attempt at modifying this tunic. The chest was too tight so I split it down the front and stitched the white cotton panel into it for room. First attempt at this ever, so I’m please with the results (although I’m aware I’ll never win a stitching contest).

(Note – my stitching is not the embroidered bird! I bought it because I liked that – my stitching is the very plain horizontal bands across the chest).

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