Patches & Patchwork

Kantha quilts (a type of traditional embroidered patchwork quilt from India) have become popular within interior design communities, home decor retail & home decorators for their effortless ‘bohemian’ look. They are excellent for rustic queen bedding, floral quilt cover, hippie Indian tapestry, beach throw blanket, cotton sofa throw and even kantha cushion covers.

Originating from India and naturally made from upcycled saree cloth, hand-stitched together in sections and mended with patches over time, they are also considered one of the most sustainable quilts.

Kanthas don’t have any wadding, they are made from layers of sarees to create the thickness and texture. They can be quite insulative because of this construction.

These brightly coloured, incredibly versatile cotton quilted throws originate from generations of Indian mothers and daughters passing them down within the family. These true bohemians, are the originators of this method of re-use and repurposing.

PATCHWORK

The dreamy patchwork of kantha quilts may seem like a bohemian aesthetic, but actually the kantha technique has been used in India as a method for re-use and recycling old fabrics and clothes. Indians never waste anything – everything can be re-made into another item by repurposing and reviving materials. In the case of the kantha, layers upon layers of cotton are stitched together, creating a wonderful array of colour and texture. The patchwork of these fabrics make unique quilts – no two are ever the same. With a simple running stitch over the entire surface of the quilt or throw, the fabrics are quilted together in a simple but ingenious method, requiring only hand-work. The patchwork usually consists of cotton sarees, sometimes silk sarees, or a combination of both, as well as other fabric scraps. Large or small pieces are stitched together with incredible contrasts of colour and pattern.

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PATCHES

Once the pieces of fabric have been laid down, the next step is to cover up any fabric imperfections – due to their recycled nature, any marks and holes are patched up with small pieces of fabrics mostly to revive, but also add character and charm to the finished quilt. Because of the vast array of textile materials produced in India, including various dye methods, block print fabrics and traditional sarees, there is a great amount of scrap fabrics.

Look out for our exciting new collection of handmade individual patches – that are handmade in Australia, ready for stitching onto jeans, jackets & bags – reviving all your favourite clothes!

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To view our range of beautiful vintage Indian kantha quilts and throws and other kantha items, handmade in India and Australia, visit The Kantha Project shop

Eco quilts: Kind to the planet, many times over

Vintage, handmade and often containing natural Indian dyes (such as turmeric), kanthas are one of the most eco-friendly, cruelty-free & sustainable quilts available.

Vintage kantha quilts are either; made over 30 years ago; or made recently with vintage fabrics. New kantha quilts are made from new fabric, recently. Here, we are passionate about the vintage kantha throw and in this post we go into detail about the benefits of buying a vintage kantha:)

GOOD FOR THE PLANET

You can call Kanthas The Eco-friendly Quilts due to their composition of recycled & repurposed fabrics as well as their natural dyes. In place of synthetic dyes, India is known for using the spice turmeric as well as other natural dyes to create the wonderful earthy colours that are so abundant in their culture. (For more on turmeric dye, view our post here.) Superior to synthetic dyes which harm the environment with chemical waste run-off, turmeric comes from the earth and is returned to the earth. 

The longevity of the quilts themselves and their many uses adds to their positive impact on the planet = less production of new materials and products.

Kantha production sustains small communities. There is a wonderful harmony in how giving new life to old sarees provides a livelihood for the women and artisans who create these stunning textiles. It’s important to support cultural traditions, so that we stay inspired. It’s raw, it’s real and it’s often what we need to remember the important things in our busy technology-crazed society.

GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE

Not only is re-use an environmentally-conscious option, the kantha trade helps support small rural communities and keeps traditional craftsmanship alive.

Historically and culturally, the kantha technique of re-using, repairing and carefully stitching is the beautiful solution to the limited availability of materials. The kantha has it’s beginnings in the home; the passing down of handmade kantha quilts through generations was an age-old tradition; a symbol of family, comfort and togetherness.

Often, kanthas are made by women in Bangladesh and Calcutta’s slums, as well as in rural communities, giving these women the chance to be independent through their earnings.

The Kantha Project seeks out kantha items that are fair-trade – providing work & livelihood for these women, as well as supporting the growth and development of small craft-smiths with fair work agreements.

Cotton is a natural fibre and thus is perfect for someone who is allergy-prone, as there is no synthetic wading, nor does the vintage kantha contain wool, unlike many quilts.

GOOD news FOR ANIMALS

Supporting vintage gives life back to old products thus halting the excess production of new products and materials, ensuring no further animals are harmed. Buying vintage or pre-loved is the best way you can reject the exploitation of animals – because it’s hard to know the exact content and process of any given new product. Therefore, repurposing and re-using is highly regarded for it’s ethical standing.

Kanthas don’t contain any wool products, unlike most quilts. And although silk is a common textile material used in India (and may be present within the kantha layers), we believe that all we can do is improve life for all (big and small) in our time. Since we can’t change the past, we’ll do our best to fix the present and future.

As well as being one of the most sustainable quilts made from layers of cotton saree, because of the Indian embroidery design of the kantha stitch hand embroidery and vintage print textiles, these cotton quilted throws are always one-of-a-kind which makes them that much more special. They have quickly become the favourite hippie Indian tapestry.

SIENNA [SOLD]

SIENNA is a tapestry of wonderful warm red & orange waves within an intricate textile print. We fell in love with the varying degrees of hues that have naturally become lighter in some parts, and deeper in others, due to the beautiful vintage saree fabric.

She is an excellent example of a light weight kantha throw – useful in a multitude of ways such as a couch throw for added colour and brightness, hung over the back of a chair in the kitchen, or even a tablecloth. This happy bright throw will lighten every space.

For more rustic queen bedding, handmade patchwork quilts, beach throw blankets and cotton bed throws, see our range of sustainable quilts here!

NAAHIL [SOLD]

Ohh NAAHIL, one of my personal favourites. Beautifully constructed, with a perfect weight suitable for all seasons, and a lovely soft ripply texture throughout, typical of a good kantha quilt.

NAAHIL’s gentle humbleness, reserved nature & careful consideration is spliced together with roaring passion on the reverse side.

The multiple layers of vintage saree fabric, that are completely hand-stitched to create this type of reversible quilt or throw known as “kantha” are always unique one-of-a-kind. This is the art of sustainable quilts from India.

Shop our vintage collection here.