The Story Of Threads – Intertwining Stories And Lives
Posted by Indiaemporium
- 04.01.2019, 07:44 AM
A simple thread, dyed in a colour that could be anyone from the spectrum of colours in nature, could be something that brings a dream to life. Imagine how the world of hand embroidery would be without these very threads – so dull, so lifeless and perhaps even non-existent. There is no embroidery in the world that does not use threads as the base – whether it is to attach sequins or beads to a fabric, it is the humble thread that holds the entire vision of the artisan together.
Look at books that chronicle the history of embroidery and similar works and you will see that it all goes back several centuries. The first types of embroideries were done probably in 30,000 BC, because in recent excavations showed fossilized remains of clothing, boots and headwear that had been heavily hand-stitched and the decorations that could probably be classified as the first types of embroidery. While these could definitely not be comparable to the modern day zari work, it was probably where the roots of all these crafts lay.
Rather than telling you about the history of embroidery, I want to tell you the story of how a handful threads, changed my life and my thoughts about clothes. I have to be honest, I was never much of a fashionista, but I always had a love affair with clothes. I grew up spending a lot of time at my grandparents’ home – my grandmother was something of a saree connoisseur; her collection of sarees was huge! She owned almost every fabric imaginable, from Kancheepuram and Benarasi silks to cottons that came from Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. I would often rummage her cupboards for sarees that I could drape around myself and play house.
My grandmother also had a truly talented tailor, who could stitch up blouses in a matter of hours, and could also create any outfit that you told her. Of course, she knew only the traditional types of clothes, but she had a creative talent that I had not seen – with a pretty fabric and the addition of some sequins work, she could create an outfit that would put several modern day fashion designers to shame. I still remember, for a family wedding, my grandmother handed this tailor lady some baby pink silk and told her that she had to create something stunning for her only grandchild – me! She attached some brocade and gota patti and created a lehenga choli that I fell absolutely in love with. Not only did it fit me perfectly, it looked so unique that everyone who saw it wanted to get something similar created for themselves too!
My grandmother passed away when I was in college and left a void that could never be filled. As her only granddaughter, I inherited all her jewellery, but what mattered to me more was the fact that she left some of her most stunning sarees to me. When my wedding was fixed, I missed my grandmother more than anything – she would have loved to see me decked up as a bride. I struggled to find some sort of semblance and include her in the wedding, when my mother suggested that I use one of my grandmother’s sarees to create one of the wedding outfits. As I jumped for joy at the suggestion, it was my grandmother’s delicate zardozi work saree that came to my mind.
I carefully took out the saree from the old antique teakwood box, which held all of my grandmother’s most exquisite sarees and the moment I saw it, I knew that this would be the basis of my wedding day outfit. I took the saree to my designer and asked her what could be done with it, and she immediately suggested cutting it up and using bits and pieces of the saree to create the wedding lehenga. But the thought of cutting the saree up was excruciatingly painful for me. I decided to trace my grandmother’s favourite tailor and ask her if she could do something for me.
Aged and tired, my grandmother’s tailor’s eyes lit up when she saw me and mother and my grandmother’s stunning saree. It was as if she had suddenly lost ages and was once again this enthusiastic tailor and designer. She suggested that we use the entire saree to create the lehenga and use another fabric to create the choli. She promised me that with minimal cuts, she would be able to create the floor sweeping skirt. She suggested a cream choli to go with the maroon saree and with some delicate stone work, she promised me that I would look like the stunning bride I wanted to be.
A few weeks later, when I received a call from the tailor lady, it took a few minutes to come to terms that she actually had my outfit ready. Within hours, I was at her doorstep and the twinkle in her eyes told me that she was very happy with what she had created. She took my hand and led me to a room inside her ancient house and there, resplendent and shimmering in the sunlight that filtered through the window, was my wedding dress. One look at it and I knew that my grandmother was now going to be with me, on the most important day of my life!
Location: Alaska, Alaska, United States
Price: 01 USD