A cut above the rest always

Published on March 09, 2015 05:30:00 AM
Shapely cutwork on the right fabric would highlight the intended part of the wearer in ways that cannot be matched by any exotic surface technique, suggests Zubin Vakil

Be it Kantha, badla, zardosi, chikankari or any of the other ancient methods, India has an array of beautiful, indigenous surface techniques that bring abiding interest and add value to apparel.

A typical Indian garment has a strong intrinsic appeal that makes it distinctly recognisible in the world of fashion. Indian women have always evinced an undying enthusiasm for ornamentation during their dress rituals. The Indian karigari or workmanship has been applauded by many. One such prized fabric design technique is the cutwork. Whether along with embroidery or simply as a network of patterns, cutwork has gained considerable momentum in the last two decades.

This intricate method of creating patterns on fabric by perforating the surface has found many takers, both in the ethnic as well as the Western wear segments. The effect it creates when worn has mesmerised every consumer that has experienced its unrivalled beauty.

Cutwork is blended with a plethora of beads, sequins, stones, tubes and crystals to form the intended design. Traditionally it is done by placing the fabric on a frame and by tightly winding it over the edges. The pattern is stenciled and then dexterously cut from the inside so as to result in the desired formation.

Cutwork patterns are intended to highlight a specific area such as the neckline, hemline, cuffs, etc.
In western wear, cutwork ideas look great on the waist of a dress or just on the side of the shoulder. On upper garments, cutwork can be used on sleeves to emphasise a certain part. Cutwork on the shoulder line can add interest overall to an otherwise simple style. Trousers, if designed imaginatively, can incorporate cutwork. The thigh region or the lower part of the trouser can appear fresh and innovative with this fascinating detail.

Bridal wear is another popular category of fashion where cutwork is hugely in demand. Known to make ethnic wear grand and glamorous, designers and dressmakers largely use this detail. The advantage of this unique workmanship is that it can be done on any fabric.

Raw silk famously forms a great base for cutwork as it is a firm textile. Pure silk, georgette, cottons and certain woolen blends also carry cutwork and make it look innovative.

Jackets, blouses, corsets and skirts appear uber stylish with this surface technique. Garments with cutwork can be worn in many interesting ways. Layering adds drama and display infuses attention to any ensemble. Cutwork stoles and dupattas make Indo-Westerns appear dazzling. A window with cutwork on a jacket will add verve whenever sported. Cutwork on sarees will always be evergreen.

Just make sure that you do not overdo the concept and only sport this detail on a focal point of a garment. It is better to have cutwork done on a quality fabric, rather than a cheap one as poor quality fabrics will not hold the work well.

Experiment with a wide range of designs from leaf patterns to wildlife, aquatic creatures as well as cobweb-like and geometric shapes. With such uniqueness in this craft, cutwork is sure to induce super style in your wardrobe as well as make the wearer stand out of the crowd.