Shisha Embroidery Tutorial

January 7, 2008

Well I will try for better pictures but here is what I have for now :

step 1

step 2

step 3

You can find the mirrors for embroidering in craft shops often where they have rhine stones etc.. i lucked out and found real glass ones recently, as usually I find plasticky ones.   I was lucky enough once to have my friend bring me back a bag of hand cut mirrors from India and every now and then I find some in my craft stuff.  I love mirror embroidery, it is by far my favourite.  With a little practice you will find it easy once you understand how to start.  You can also use fancy coins, round beads, or shells. smooth stones.. sometimes I add a bit of glue first if it is something really slippery.

Once you have it figured out its a beautiful way to embellish things, this is a pillow I made for my sister years ago with cotton velveteen, some featherstitching and a handful of mirrors:

Mirror Embroider

I found this excellent tutorial here :

http://www.embroiderersguild.com/stitch/stitches/shisha.html
shisha

This is the version of shisha stitch most often used on Indian textiles. The foundation stitches do not have to be neat, but they do need to be tight, and not too close to the edge of the shisha. If the stitching is loose, or too close to the edge, the shisha may drop out.
1 Work a foundation of four straight stitches over the shisha glass (figs a and b).
2 Work four more stitches across the first four, as shown (fig. c).
3 Now bring the needle up alongside the shisha, pass the needle under the foundation threads, with the thread under the needle (as though it is a blanket stitch). Make a small stitch alongside the mirror, with the thread under the needle again and pull tight (fig d).
4 Pass the needle under the foundation threads, with the thread under the needle as before. This time, when making the small stitch alongside the mirror, stitch into the previous loop stitch (fig.e).

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4 Responses to “Shisha Embroidery Tutorial”


  1. This is really cool! Thanks for posting!

  2. sue Says:

    This looks great. Just bought some mirrors and can’t wait to have a go. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. shisha Says:

    has shisha embroidery got anything to do with shisha, how did it take the name?

    • sewfunky Says:

      I found this online, very interesting!

      Textiles decorated with embroidery and mirrors, called shisha, are a hallmark of Indian handiwork. While the exact history of embroidered mirror work is not known, it appears to be related to the ancient custom of sewing metallic plates or spangles onto clothing. The Mahabarata, compiled circa 800 – 700 B.C. refers to a garment that was fringed with pearls and Persians and Afghans decorated their clothing with gold medallions. Shisha could also be a continuation of the habit of using gold and jewels to decorate textiles. People in the state of Gujarat, India, adjacent to Pakistan, create the mirrors and use them to embellish their textiles. A shishger, or mirror maker, makes glass which is broken down into chunks. They are sorted by their size and quality and then shipped to others who cut, trim and distribute the tiny mirrors to women who round the corners off of the small squarish shapes. Girls are trained to embroider with mirrors at an early age. Embroidery is a significant part of a girl’s dowry and is used for festival blouses, skirts, veils and a boy’s first outfit. Shisha embroidery is used on the headpiece for a camel ridden by a groom during his ritual arrival at the bride’s home as well as worn by the groom himself as a sash or a chin wrap during the wedding. The mirrors are used to deflect the evil eye. In the desert, the flash of the mirrors create a light similar to the sun’s rays hitting a body of water. Mirrors are also associated with vitality, magical protection, beauty, the mystical, as well as being a reflection of reality.


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