First of all, this is one of my most favourite ‘abayas that I have designed to date. It’s so easy to wear and fits perfectly – some of the many perks of designing and making your own clothes! I love this ‘abaya not only because it is exactly the right length (not too long that I am forever tripping up on it and ruining the bottom – it happens and not too short that it makes me look like an overgrown beast) and not only because it is black (black is a staple colour for anyone’s wardrobe), but I love it because of the embroidery work on the sleeves, that just add a touch of elegance and class to the whole look.
The inspiration behind the embroidery work
The inspiration for the embroidery work on this ‘abaya actually came from one of my favourite embroidery artists for a couple of years now – Yumiko Higuchi. Yumiko is a Japanese embroidery artist that primarily creates patterns out of a combination of embroidery floss (a group of threads, creating a thicker stitch) and wool. The main thing I like about Yumiko’s patterns is the fact that they are so defined and bold – similar to my Mum’s hand-sewing and the sewing style that is is often found on traditional Bengali blankets (kheta).
Hand embroidery has had a special place in my heart pretty much ever since I first got my hands on a sewing needle and a piece of thread back in primary school. The best thing about it is that you can have so much control (unlike with a sewing machine) and can add a level of detail to your patterns like no other. I am all for embroidery and this, along with bead work, is something that I would really like to incorporate into my first collection. That is why I thought it would be best for me to get the practise in now, so that by the time I am ready to produce my debut collection of affordable and eclectic ‘abayas, my designs will hopefully be seamless ? in shaa Allah.
How practical is this embroidered sleeve ‘abaya?
Very! For general outings and occasions like Taraaweeh prayers it is perfect! I’ve worn my embroidered sleeve ‘abaya out to my sisters’ houses for little gathering, or even shopping and most of all to Taraaweeh. This is perfect for the long night prayers, as it is thick enough to feel fine to go out in, but lightweight and not heavy – which means that it is airy enough to keep me cool in the summer fasting month.
Would I do this again?
Definitely! Although I had originally intended on sewing this pattern all the way up the sleeve and down the central back of the ‘abaya (very ambitious – I know) and only managed to sew the wrists of the sleeves, I really like the overall look that the embroidery gives the ‘abaya. I love the colour, the pattern and the small peachy beads that were used and would do it all over again for my debut collection. So keep your eyes peeled for something similar to potentially emerge soon!