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The Ladies Who Stitch

Pushkar, India

About This Photo Gallery
(Click on a thumbnail to view larger image.)

This series of photos depicts the clothing factory in India—and “The Ladies Who Stitch” employed there—from whom Premadaya purchases some of the garments featured in our shop.

A number of our recent imports include khadi cloth kurtas and handblock-printed kurtas. Handblock printing is a meticulous process involving dipping carved wood blocks into bowls of pigment dyes and imprinting them on the kurta fabric. This is a modern twist on an age-old process—the block-printing concept dates back hundreds and perhaps thousands of years.

The result is a beautiful tapestry of color and design. The pigment inks are contemporary, permanent, and machine-washable—great for the modern person. Our fabrics are printed by the Ragwir family, who live near Pushkar, in Rajasthan, India (depicted in the slideshow gallery).

Khadi kurtas are fashioned from khadi cloth and have the same hand-stitched buttons and details as our blockprint clothing. Khadi is a hand-spun, hand-woven cloth made of cotton grown in India. The cotton is spun into threads on a simple type of spinning wheel called a charkha. It’s an ideal “all-weather” garment because it feels cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Khadi has long been considered India’s signature fabric of freedom and fashion. Its surge in popularity dates back to when Mahatma Gandhi was seeking independence from England and urged the people of India to wear and make clothing made of khadi rather than rely on imported textiles. Gandhi’s reasoning was to foster not only a better economy in India, but also an identity in the form of fashion. Today the Indian government still actively supports khadi production, as it is a means of supplemental income for the rural poor of the country.

Premadaya’s clothing is made in the region of Pushkar at a small factory that employs 6 to 8 village residents under Fair Trade conditions. Our hand-stitched details are done by “The Ladies Who Stitch,” as they are known, who are now able to supplement their families’ income, which in the past had relied solely on agriculture. They all work from their homes (allowing them to keep up with their regular domestic responsibilities), using their spare moments to work on hand-stitching the kurtas and salwar kameez. The ladies meet regularly with our contact in India to check progress and to attend small workshops in skills developments.

Below are examples of the kinds of skilled, patient, and exquisitely beautiful work these women perform.
(Click a thumbnail to see a detailed view of the garment.)

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