Magic on fabric

Embroidery on Kerala sari   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

This is the handiwork of women who believe that a stitch in time earns nine! And therein lies the threads of a success story of women who have mastered the art of turning a plain Jane of a sari or a material into a designer piece with a stitch here and a stitch there.

Pearly Manohar learnt the intricacies of embroidery and tailoring from her mother-in-law, Sophie Sathyasandhan. Pearly recalls: “Mummy opened Sathya Thayyal Centre at Thalassery. She was so passionate about the craft that she resigned her job as a craft teacher and started the centre. Since I had an interest in the same from the beginning, I also helped her with running the centre once I got married into the family. She always wanted to help girls from financially backward families. So she would teach them embroidery and stitching so that they could earn their livelihood. She has a lot of disciples across the state who either run their own units or work in reputed firms.”

Today Sophie’s daughter Ramola Francis and Pearly run the centre where cutting, stitching, machine and hand embroidery, cut work, net work, knitting, crochet, bead work and new trends in embroidery are taught. “We’ve separate courses for each of them. Most of them opt for the three-month course to learn blouse/salwar stitching unlike earlier years when girls learnt the basics first,” says Pearly.

The centre specialises in doing embroidery on saris, salwar sets, blouses and shirts. “We teach the designs made by mummy. Of course, we incorporate new designs as well. There is a huge demand for doing embroidery on manavatti thattam (veil worn by the Muslim bride). The quantity of embroidery depends on the need of the customer,” she says. Pretty excited about their first exhibition, she stresses that the price range of the products is from Rs. 800 to Rs. 2,000. Customers can place orders for custom-made silk saris or embroidery on any other fabric, she adds.

For your wardrobe

The exhibition and sale is on May 4 and 5 at Women’s Club, Kowdiar. Hand/machine-embroidered and stitched garments from the centre is being spread out under the brand name Alika. Shop for saris, salwar sets, nighties, towels, dupattas and so on with embroidery work. A special attraction is the Kerala saris with net work and appliqué work on them.

“We also have saris with brocade pieces stitched on them. Super net saris with satin ribbon work, kota and Kanchi cotton saris with cut work and salwar sets with peacock design would be a new experience for the customers here. The designs are unique, so too the colour combinations,” Pearly says.

The exhibition is held in association with Anila Vijayakumar, who presents her collection of hand-painted garments under the name, ‘Netta’.

Hand-made jewels, along with ready-to-stitch motifs and lace will be available at the sale. Time: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Contact Pearly Manohar (9249970252) or Anila Vijayakumar (9946201979).

A pioneer

It was in 1958 that the late Sophie Sathyasandhan launched Sathya Thayyal Centre in Thalassery. The same year Sophie also published the book Naveena Thayyal Sahayi, a one-of-its-kind guide for those who wanted to learn embroidery and tailoring. While the centre continues to lend a helping hand to girls from disadvantaged families to learn the craft, her book is still the syllabus for those who appear for the Kerala Government Technical Education (KGTE) Examinations in tailoring, embroidery and needle work.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 2:05:38 PM |

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