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!

Cheers!!!

14 Comments

  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!

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

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

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  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!

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

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

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  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 :-)

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

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

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  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

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

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

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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...