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This unique cape is made of pure wild silk (Tussar silk) and hand embroidered by rural women in West Bengal. They are specialized in Nakshi kantha. That is a traditional basting stitch from the region, composed of motifs influenced by their rural life culture.
The cape is made from two pieces of fabric which have been sewed at a number of points: the sleeve openings and on the back so that the cape fits well at the shoulders. A very minimalist design without even a small piece of fabric loss during the making. A wonderful example of zero waste design.
Embroidering a cape is a process of several steps. Under the auspices of 60-year-old Takdira Begum, a national winner of her kantha work, skilled female artisans embroider this beautiful fabric by hand.
The first step in this process is designing the pattern to be embroidered, which is then drawn on tracing paper. This is done by Takdira Begum herself, who also determines the color palette. Then the lines of the pattern are pierced by hand with a pin and the paper is laid over the silk fabric. A paste of chalk and turpentine is rubbed over the paper and seeps through the small holes on the fabric below.
Once the pattern lines have been applied to the silk fabric, it is ironed and distributed among the women who take it home and sew the kantha. Once completed, the fabric is hand washed several times to remove any stains and the trace lines.