Fabrics from Around the World – Tiffany’s Mission Part 2

Written by Tiffany Tolliver

If you read my previous blog, “Love is the Final Fight – Tiffany’s Mission Around the World",  then you learned a little about my journey over the last year as I traveled to South America, Europe, and Asia.  Living life around fabrics for seven years prior to this trip altered the way I see the world.  I now have a “fabric doppler” that always finds new and beautiful fabrics!  


Ecuadorian textiles date back to the time of the Incas where pieces of ancient pottery show imprints of textile designs.  Fabrics have remained a staple in the export industry for the local Ecuadorians throughout centuries.  The fabric process is entirely vertical with the source of their yarns, dyes and production process being mainly located in the highland Andean region running through the center of the country.      


Life jacket graveyard is a sobering place to be on the island of Lesvos, Greece.  More than 5,000 life jackets fill this area and are removed periodically just to have this place fill up again.  Unloaded from one of the boats, this chair may represent the presence of the top tier of the Syrian upper class passing through as they fled the war in Syria.  Most boats are filled with three and four times the suggested capacity of people.  Many families who travel through this island have lost loved ones in Syria, Turkey, and/or in the Aegean Sea during the 4-mile voyage to Lesvos.  The striped pattern clothing this chair resembles traditional Turkish motifs that fill the markets on the other side of the sea.          


Elaborate embroideries and Dhaka designs decorate Nepali textiles in an array of vibrant colors.  The cultural pride of Nepali people is evident in their beautiful fabric designs.  Their craftsmen use traditional weaving and embroidery techniques for bedding, draperies, pillows, and wall hangings.  The above fabric is a bed covering made entirely with the crewel embroidery technique.  This technique has been used for more than 1,000 years.  The pattern is drawn on the background fabric and then the design is hand-stitched following the lines in a free embroidery style.    


Let’s talk about the Indian Saree.  The beautiful flowing silk Saree’s adorned with breathtaking embroidered designs worn by Indian women have been a world-wide curiosity almost since their inception.  Living in India for a month, I saw thousands of women dressed in these beautiful vibrant fabrics.  It is a single piece of fabric woven on a loom with silk or cotton threads.  Silk charmeuse is a high end lightweight fabric woven in a satin weave which creates a smooth surface on one side of the fabric.  The resulting product has a soft hand and insulates well.  


Silk weaving in Cambodia dates back to the 1st century.  True to their roots, patterns found on silk throughout the country today reflect the clothing details on ancient stone sculptures.  Lattice designs, stars, and spots are common motifs still used.  The above pictures are taken under a house on stilts on Silk Island in Cambodia.  Most of the inhabitants of the island make a living by hand weaving silk on looms like the one in the picture.  They weave skirts, scarves, blankets, and wall hangings.  An uneven twill technique is used to produce a single or two-color fabric.  Three threads are woven so that one color dominates on one side of the fabric while the other two colors dominate on the reverse side.  Natural dyes they use come from insect nests, tree bark, and the indigo plant.

Thanks for joining me on this fabric journey around the world! 

Greenhouse Fabrics offers a stunning selection of globally inspired fabrics.  To learn more visit us at greenhousefabrics.com or connect with one of our Customer & Fabric Specialists, 866-755-5000.