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Learning Traditional Indian Kawadi Quilt

When there was Kawadi Quilt workshop a few years ago in Bangalore, I really wanted to go but couldn't. It's been on my bucket list to learn this Indian traditional quilt. 
When Brinda Ma'am from Moments of Quiet announced on Desi Quilters Group on Facebook that she will have another workshop, I quickly registered. And I am glad I did.

 I already learned so much during the first lesson. The story and the wisdom behind Kawadi Quilt, also what set it apart from the other form of quilts in India. Kawadi or Kawandi is originated from Siddi tribe in North Karnataka. Apparently, every tribe has a different unique design. 

We are given a list of materials we have to gather. Preferably old muslin saree or muslin dupatta. I have this pink muslin dupatta which I don't use and it's just perfect. 
Also, we have to provide some kind of saree borders. I decide to use this fancy one. Though traditionally they are using saree border. 

My stitches are not even as yet but I thoroughly enjoyed this! I finished sewing 3 lines running stitches around the border and looking forward to the next class where we will add more fabrics and special design! 

Check out the Moments of Quiet Facebook Page if you want to know more information about the next class. Choosing fabric was fun, cos I have lots of Indian mulmul/muslin scraps and pre-cuts

In the second class, we learned to add patches to the border and also make a special design. The special design is quite tricky for first-timer, I had to rip it several times before I managed to do a decent one. These special designs or motifs symbolizes everyday life like Kites, Angan (Courtyard), and temples. The Kawadi quilt also always has 4 flowers at the corners. This a must-have. Without the flowers, the quilt will look incomplete. 

As for the quilting, it is done by doing running stitches from the outside border going around towards the inside. We don't use any measuring tape or ruler, instead, we learn to measure using our fingers. The space between stitch lines is usually 1 finger apart and you can use any fingers. 

Another unique thing is we should "feed" the quilt before we finish with a few grains of rice. The wisdom behind it is that the quilt must be nurtured, and that is by feeding the quilt so that it will last for along time.

While doing Kawadi, I learned that I should only focus on the patch and stitches that I am working on, don't worry about how it will turn out cos this is supposed to be organic. When we reach the end of one patch, we simply pick up another one, fold and cover the raw edges and move on. We don't need a design wall. The result will always be a surprise. It reflexes who you are and how you feel at the time you make the quilt. It's liberating! 

Most of us finished our quilts before the last class. So on the 3rd meet, Brinda Ma'am told us more history about it and we kinda have a show and tell what quilt we're working on. You can check her experience when she did a residential workshop with Nirmala Akka
Check out these few quilts from Nirmala Akka that Brinda Maam shared with us. You can also see her Kawadi Quilts  on her BLOG.

It was a really lovely workshop and I'm looking forward to more! We need to learn this ancient art and preserve the authenticity of this art. 

I'm looking forward to making more of kawadi quilts. I really enjoyed the freedom and the hand quilting process. 

Update: This post is featured on Handmade Monday! Thank you Julie!!

Thank you for stopping by!

Stay safe & happy sewing!


  1. Hi Elvira, how wonderful. There is so much beauty, history and wisdom in the project. It sounds like a great course. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! It's always fascinating to learn the history behind a quilt and tradition!

  2. This is so beautiful. What a lovely skill to learn. This will be featured at Handmade Monday tomorrow.


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