Among the most popular items in our shop are the Kantha scarves and shawls made from upcycled saris.
Purple, pink, green, gold, turquoise and red. Bold, bright colours that are contrasted without regard for convention. Sometimes the design is the same on both sides - but more often not as you can see here.
Two pieces of fabric which look wonderful are paired together and will form the two layers of each scarf.
They are handstitched using both long and short strokes giving texture to the silk that you just want to reach out and touch. This is called a ‘running Kantha stitch’ and it covers the whole fabric, adding to the texture and design without detracting from the pattern of the printed silk.
The result is not flimsy or flyaway, they hang beautifully. They give a stunning flash of colour, make a beautiful accessory and a perfect gift.
What we love most about these is the vintage appearance - mostly due to fact that they are just that, made out of saris that have worn out and can no longer be worn by the women of the village. Saris can often be kept by families over generations of shared history and experience.
Kantha stitching has become popular throughout India but originates in the eastern states, especially Bangladesh and Bengal which is where our Kantha scarves and shawls originate.
Some communities will reuse the saris themselves, others could sell to a trader and barter for other goods such as pots and pans that might be needed. It is common for a woman who wants to trade in a sari to call out to the ‘bhandiwali’ (trader) who will buy from her.
We enjoy the backstory of these scarves, reusing fabrics in this way to create such beautiful pieces. We have a selection online but since each one is unique we have a much larger selection in our Sheffield shop.