Working on a period piece with small budget? Need lengths of fabric? Fiqar not! (Don’t worry!) Manjarpat is there for your rescue. Select the appropriate density and get that dyed in the colour you need and you are set..
From Buddha’s life story to Euripides’s ancient tragedy everything can be draped in manjarpat. Although it is not historically accurate fabric to use, it does create the same look as the historically accurate fabric would have created.
So what is this manjarpat? Manjarpat is actually a low quality muslin like fabric. It has low absorbance, shrinks like hell after wash. Dyes differently than regular cotton. Ironing does not stay. Wrinkles on its own. Mainly used for packing, lining in sofas n chairs n things like that. Rarely used in clothes.
Well then what is so great about this Manjarpat? and why n how do I use it in period costumes?
It’s the ‘to die for’ texture that you get after you have washed all the starch out of the fabric and off white colour of unbleached cotton. The softness, the way it falls, the natural wrinkles everything is just beautiful. And regarding why n how I use it in period costumes, it is a topic of discussion for another blog post.
Coming back to beautiful texture of Manjarpat…
I had few meters of fairly thin manjarpat lying around unwashed. I decided to wash it to remove the starch and ready to be used for when needed. Once washed, I once again fell in love with the texture.
I had my wire jewelry collection opening recently and had too much of wire. So I had decided to not to touch anything in that arena for a little while. But my craft brain was not happy with this. So it started working and I decided to make hand painted stole out of this manjarpat.
A fabric can be dyed in n numbers of ways. But it requires a big setup. Fabric painting with fabric colours take up smaller space. I am not a big fan of typical fabric painting with thick paint sitting on top of the fibre. Also fabric paint stiffens the fabric and texture is lost. I did not want to do that.
Long before I had stumbled upon watercolour like fabric painting tutorials. I remembered that and googled it again. All the tutorials I found resorted majorly on use of water in excess. They all were interesting and seemed not too complicated. I needed the basic technique and not the actual design.
The basic technique was use lots of water and let the paint bleed through the fabric until it dries of. Some tutorials told me to dilute the paint with lots of water, some tutorials told me to wet the fabric nicely and touch the area with paint brush full of paint and let it take its own form.
I started with wetting an area of fabric with water, one end of it to be precise The part of fabric was sitting in pool of water. I took blue paint in my paint brush and made few spots and then with the help of paint brush I smoothed out the whole area. Then took green and made small lines along the length and smoothed those again. I picked up the whole piece and hung it so it is dried. The water along with paint dripped ran through the fabric as pulled by the gravity. It gave a beautiful green-blue wash to the area with dripping lines on one end.
Once that end was dried, I did the same for the other end as well. Now I had the ends covered but needed something in the rest of the stole. Going with same colour scheme, I decided to make squarish patches of green n blue with less diluted paint. Again the part was sitting in the pool of water and I made squares with paint directly. Smoothed those only in the square. And hung it dry after a bit. This time the dripping line were less longer but paint had travelled in all direction from the main squarish area.
The dripping lines gave me an idea and I decided to paint the next part of the design while it was hung. The paint did bleed and ran along the dripping lines but since it was hung, the beginning curves and strokes of the lines were saved.
I had the ceiling fan turned off until the paint was dry. It was important because the paint needed to take its own course without drying before it was supposed to and it needed to take its own direction without any push by ceiling fan wind.
Once the paint was dry enough, it was okay to turn the ceiling fan on.
Repeated the process, on the other side as well. The stole turned out nice and without losing the original fabric texture.
The fabric was 44 inches wide. This fits two stoles width-wise. So While cutting one stole from the fabric, I already had the second one cut as well. And I did have ideas about the next one.
This time I directly hung the wet fabric. But hung it on selvage edge with length of the fabric going parallel to the ground. Poured water along the selvage until the fabric start dripping. Then the pink colour paint was diluted. I drew straight lines of paint starting from selvege and going to the other edge. Sprayed the beginning of the lines with water.
Once it was dry I repeated the same procedure with other edge up and with orange paint. This is the beautiful output I got.
Now I just need to bind all the edges and these will be ready to flaunt. And I have more ideas and I might start making these stoles. You never know..