Sunday, September 8, 2013

And she's ready!!!

I have been working on this quilt ever since I came back from my Bernina workshop. I have been really patient. Had to stall my work twice for 4-5 days! But just went on, and on, and on...

But yes, she is ready...

My Apsara quilt!!! - though i need a better name for her - she cannot be apsara - an angel - with the heavy load she's carrying on her head! Once again, suggestions are welcome!!! But I am guessing that this one's going to stick!

The quest for the photo started about 2-3 months back... I was always intrigued by the many different ways in which a saree is draped in India. The length of the saree also varies regionally.

In Maharashtra - the state in India that I live in - the 9 yard saree - called nav vari (nav = nine, var = yard) is the traditional gear for women. It has its own variants too! It looks especially beautiful from behind!

I wanted to capture the grace of that saree, without making it look like I was trying to make a quilt of a woman's bottom!

I might be a good quilter, but an artist - I'm not! But I know my limitations and instead of taking the chance I began my quest for a perfect photo that I could use as a guide for my quilt. A friend suggested Madhuri Dixit's pose from the poster of Gaja Gamini - a film made by the famous painter M F Hussain.

The pose was from one of my most favorite songs in the movie, music by Bhupen Hazarika. You can watch the song here... 

It was exactly what I was looking for!

I used the poster as a guideline and divided the picture and tacked it one part at a time!

It made things really easy...

And about 4 months after the initial idea started brewing, here is the quilt - ready in all its glory!

 I finished it late today night and just could not wait to share photos, I'll be doing a photo shoot with her tomorrow!!!

Here, you can see the details of the saree... 

 Here you can see how instead of sewing down the folds of the saree, I let them stand out to give it a 3D effect...

I was totally skeptical about doing the ties of her blouse, having never done something like that before. But it turned out alright!

I hand dyed fabric to make the central panel... I quilted it with a paisley design! Its my favorite one...  I used Aurifil invisible thread for all the applique work and the quilting. I also used a little bit of Superior and Madeira Mono filament thread, but I was the happiest when I used Aurifil. It is thin, fine, kink-less and smooth. I must add that the spool was about 3 years old! I had received it in a swap but was too scared to use it before! Plus the thread breakage and tension issues were non-existent when using Aurifil! My special note when working with a mono filament thread : Reduce tension - as much as you can. Reduce stitch length. Use the Stretch needle. I have no idea behind the technology of this, but I just know it works! I tried a lot of permutations and combinations before coming to this conclusion!

All the piecing was done with the 50 wt thread in black or white - as per the situation.

I made the bundle on top 3D too! And I actually stuffed it with batting scraps to make it fluffy!

The back was also given a lot of thought...

I wanted to make a window and then have a silhouette of  her as if seen through a frosted glass... Does it look like that? I tried to match the front applique to the silhouette on the back as fat as possible, there is a difference of about 3/8" at some points! But I'm happy with it!

I made the silhouette by layering a white fabric on black and sewing it down along the outline traced from the figure. I then cut away excess black fabric. I layered this with a semi-transparent white fabric. It was actually a leftover from my room curtain linings and was not cotton! Then I put a frame and a wall around it! I think it looks pretty cool!

I am planning to enter this one in multiple quilt shows...  Wish me luck!

I even put a proper sleeve on the back, and did not forget my trademark ribbons and my elephant charm!

Quilt Stats :
Name : Apsara aali...
 Size : HUGE : 40" x 80"
2. Material : Fabric - from stash - ALL OF IT!Including the Saree and the blouse fabric! A lot of cotton poplin, some linen and curtain lining remnants!
I used a LOT of Pellon Fusible (#805) I am nearing the end of my bolt purchased from Dubai! I'm wondering what I'll do when it finishes off! I also used a lot of local interfacing - mainly to sew the entire figure on, before sewing it onto the final quilt!
Thread - Aurifil Invisible (90% of the work) and Aurifil 50 wt Black & White as per the situation. I used a little of Superior & a little of Madeira Mono-filament thread as well.

Experience : In one word - Surreal!

Do you like her? I am very proud of her!!! She turned out better than what I had imagined!



  1. I don't just like her, I LOVE her! She came out just amazing. I really like the realistic fabric folds in her saree. The way the it drapes is beautiful, and then the back of your quilt is really neat. I love the silhouette. I'm awed and humbled by this work of quilt art. I would really like to see this quilt in person. Have a super day!

  2. She is lovely. You have done a marvellous job on your quilt.

  3. Wow! This is absolutely gorgeous. I love how you combined your culture with art to make this unique quilt!

  4. Shruti, it is so beautiful! I am not from Inia but have worked with a lady that wore saree's to work every day. You really captured the beauty of the saree! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  5. That's lovely and so well thought out. Thanks for sharing.

  6. wow--I'd say you are an artist!

  7. I think this is the most amazing quilt I have ever seen - the silhouette on the back makes it even more special. For someone who grew up in India I absolutely love love this one :-)

  8. This quilt is absolutely beautiful! I don't think I have adequate words to describe... wow! Truly amazing!

  9. this is so beautiful.. so much work too x

  10. Shruti... this quilt truly could not be any better... it is an amazing work of art! I have no doubt that you will win many awards at Quilt shows, this is simply wondrous

  11. Absolutely stunning work! What a gorgeous quilt this is.

  12. She's so beautiful and you got the posture perfectly. Congratulations on realizing your vision! The back is a treat, too.


Thank you for your comments... I try to reply to all of them personally, but sometimes life is just too fast to do that... But I love hearing from you...