Thursday, March 21, 2013

Susani and Velvet Patchwork Cushion Cover

Susani for wedding with symbols of fertility

I was so excited when a friend told me that she got me gift of two Tajiks' Susanis from Taskorgan, Xinjiang Province of China, a town which majority population made up of Tajiks people. According to the Tajik lady who sold the Susanis, the Susanis were brought in from neighboring Tajikistan.

Susanis are an embroidery technique practiced across Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries. Susani literally means "needle" in Persian. They were and still are a major part of girls' dowry in those regions. Some mothers would even begun embroidery Susani during pregnancy. The girls would eventually join the embroidery work when she is 8 or so. The rectangular piece on the first picture obviously must be prepared for a wedding. It depicts symbols of fertility with motifs of wombs, ovaries and sperms; close-up Tulip which attributes to Anahita, the ancient Goddess of fertility.

Vagina & Sperms

Wombs and Ovaries

Close-up Tulip

The bigger piece of the two pieces Susanis that I have was just the right size to make into a cushion cover for the big cushion in my family area.

The heart shapes - new element?

I have been planning to make patchwork cushion with my velvet and upholstery fabric sample books. A patchwork with these fabric is just perfect for the other side of the cushion cover.

I have been longing for Susani after I came across Vogue Living Nov/Dec 2010 issue feature of the Bokja founder- Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri , two talented women based in Beirut, Lebanon. The duo had created stunning designed and eclectic in style furnitures by an elaborate assemblages of embroidered tribal textiles and tapestries found along the Silk Road.

Bokja is a design studio that produces furniture and creates artistic installations. Bokja aims to blur the line between art and design, and to add a touch of bold color and texture to any interior.
Bokja Design on
I have already placed my order more Susanis from my dear friend and I look forward to receive them next year. By combining Susanis with my other Southeast Asian tribal textiles, I am going to start a new project-assemblages different textiles for the upholstery of my ottoman. Wow, can't wait to start it soon!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Refashion a clutch into a shoulder bag

I always love Indian tapestry. To name one is the Kutch tapestry that is distinct with its mirror embroidery. I had cushion covers, wall hanging and torans (doorway hangings) but never have a bag. Hence, when I came across some beautiful Kutch Paako tapestry clutches recently, I certainly wouldn't resist having one. I would have grabbed few if the price is more affordable. This one that I picked is adorned with Indian 25 paisa coins which are no longer be used in legal tender after June 30 2011. The local artisans had creatively used the coins to design their handicrafts.

Original form of clutch purse

I don't like to use clutch purse because I can be somewhat careless and forgetfully left it somewhere. Besides that, I feel handicap when holding one. For this reason, I decided to add strap on this clutch purse that I bought. I also added a bag charm to comprehend the design of the bag. I was hoping it gives a resemblance to Malaysia front line lifestyle brand British India and Anthropologie merchandises. After the makeover, it turned out pretty cool and its status updated.

Anthropologie clutchJust as I was writing this post, I saw on pinterest this clutch from Anthropologie made with the same Kutch tapestry and similar charms. What a coincident of idea! But of course the Anthropologie's clutch has better finishing.

I bought the PU handle and lobster hook for the bag charm in this project from a Malaysian online sewing supplies shop- maymayshop. Give the code of "Yanns Journal "and enjoy 10% discount for minimum purchase of RM100 and above.

All images except the last image in this post are my personal photographs, please do not use them without my written permission - I can be contacted at Thank you!