Making of: Miao Folded-cloth Piecework, China
Words, photos & video by Sharon Tsang-de Lyster for The Kindcraft
The Miao people of Guizhou, China practice a seemingly endless range of decorative textile techniques. From folded-cloth piecework, couched braid embroidery, jacquard weaving, and the making of silver plaques, these heritage craft techniques are essential to making intricate Maio ethnic costumes.
Folded-cloth piecework is an intricate appliqué technique: Starched, thin silk cloth is cut into small pieces and multi-folded into triangular shapes like origami. Layered and meticulously arranged, they are then stitched into place and the result is reminiscent of three-dimensional parquet.
In Wengxiang, China, folded-cloth piecework is placed along the lapels, shoulders, and sleeves of women’s jackets. In Shidong, piecework is worn on neckbands and as shoulder decoration - sometimes including striped patterns made from parallel sticks of rolled silk cloth. For full festival dressing, Miao children’s outfits are topped with hats made with folded-cloth piecework. Mothers labour over their children’s clothing as a form of protection, intricately stitching and decorating their hats with exceptionally folded cloth piecework. Designs of birds, dragons, fish and other talismans are thought to offer protection against mishaps and evil spirits. The black, pink, and red handcrafted child’s hat was appliquéd with over 3,000 small pieces of fabric, all carefully layered and stitched. View the full article on The Kindcraft.