The fine art of decorating fabrics with mirrors

The basic purpose of mirror work was decoration on a plain fabric. Traditional belief of the evil eye being warded off, through the deflection of the evil gaze from the wearer’s body, was also partly responsible for the popularity of mirror work fabrics in certain regions. Today even the fabric would be offended if it is not rewarded with multiple gazes.

Known as Shisheh (Persian) or Abhala Bharat embroidery it involves the affixing of small mirrors or other reflecting metal in different shapes, on clothes or apparel, hangings, tapestries, and other uses on cloth.

How it is done

Mirrors are fixed to the fabric by placing the mirrors in the desired places and putting cross stitches over them in a pattern. The patterned stitches not only hold the mirrors in place but additionally contribute to the beauty of the saree as designs. Stitches that are made to hold the mirrors in place are generally chain stitch and herringbone stitch, though sometimes you could see the spot step stitch, satin stitch or the blanket stitch being used.