A new range of Kantha worked salwar kameez
In recent times, two new varieties of Kantha embroidered fabrics have entered the market through Unnati Silks.
One, the pure Tussar silk sensations with nature inspired figurines and images from daily life on the kameez with plain salwars but accompanied with Kantha embroidered double colored chunni. A nature-inspired effort that has made quite a few loyalists go gaga over the unique look. The unstitched dress material for the salwar allows for customization keeping the kantha worked chunni as a lovely accompaniment to a fitting dress.
Tussar Silk is mainly found in India, in the states of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, and Bhagalpur in Bihar. Eastern parts of India like Orissa and West Bengal and a small portion of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh also contribute to Tussar Silk production in India. The woven Tussar Silk has a coarse texture, is light on the body, airy and has a comfortable feel about it. Hand-woven Tussar Silk fabrics are well known for their texture, zari borders and motifs and the hand crafted designs that enrich them. The use of leftover silk from woven fabrics, are also used to create designs on the main fabric
The other Kantha variety is the wonderful cotton silk range of Jaipuri Cotton silk salwar suits. What is interesting is that the pure cotton Jaipuri salwar kameez has the same sort of figurines and images on the kameez. The salwar is plain while the odhni or chunni is dual colored and in chiffon. The Kantha worked chiffon dupatta with the spread out motifs in kantha works beautifully on the cotton Punjabi suit.
Jaipuri cotton is generally of very good quality in texture and there is a slight luster due to the fine count of the weave. This too follows the same format of unstitched dress material with a ready-made kantha worked chunni.
Kantha as can be seen is beautifully worked on both silk and cotton and remains true to its claim of universality. Pricing is judicious and excellent for most people interested in fabrics.
Unnati already has a good collection of Kantha worked salwar kameez. You have kantha worked varieties like Chanderi Sico Salwar kameez and Chanderi Silk where the kameez has attractive mango bootis, zari borders and kantha work on it, the salwar is plain and the dupatta a designer multi-colour affair with sensational borders. There is the Jamdani handloom cotton, with self colour jamdani weaving, kantha embroidery on the kameez, plain salwar and a designer chunni with a lot of floral designs. There is the Punjab cotton salwar kameez with beautiful self-colour Kantha work on the kameez, a plain contrast salwar and a dupatta with kantha work all over.Then you also have the Pochampally handloom cotton salwar suit with vertical design kantha work and ikkat embroidery. Plain salwar and matching dupatta with kantha work complete the nice picture.
A traditional art that has gone fashionable
Once upon a time Bengali women in rural areas used to mend their old clothes by making designs from a strand of thread off the colorful border of their saris. The wrinkled and wavy look on old apparel used to transform the look to a new work of fashion. The idea was to use the running stitch in a criss-cross manner or like a darting hare through a plain meadow in order to make the used apparel look better and seemingly new. Though the running stitch was and still the most prevalent one, other stitches like darning stitch, satin stitch and loop stitch are also used.
Kantha is a way of life; a tradition that is still followed meticulously in the heartland of Kantha. Kanthas even today are prepared for small babies to lie on, wedding kanthas are made by mothers and gifted to their daugthers and Kantha is present on the ceremonial cloth meant for funeral rites.
Once unique arty thread work from Murshidabad, Bengal, for old garments and other cloth, layering them with the Kantha stitch to make small blankets and bedspreads, for children has with the passage of time, taken artistic forms and become a novel idea of extending the life of used garments. In more recent times, fashion designers saw its enhancing potential on newly woven garments as well and a variety of Kantha embroidered fabrics took shape and motifs such as animals, birds, flowers, simple geometrical shapes and scenes from everyday life gave a new meaning to clothes that had Kantha embroidery on them. Based on the use of the fabric, Kantha is divided into seven different types, of which Lep Kantha and Sujani Kantha are famous.
Kantha, once traditional thread art, has now occupied a prime position in designer clothing. Its universality in application has opened new doors to the possibilities in churning out unique designs and lovely combinations.
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