Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Introduction to Industrial Knitting


Most of us love to wear knitted fabrics that are so comfortable due to their perfect fit and stretchability. However, I am doubtful as to how much each of us know about the knitting process followed by the apparel manufacturing companies for making highly popular clothing such as sports wear, underwear, sweaters, suits, coats, rugs and other home furnishings.

Industrial Knitting
Knitting is the second most popular method of fabric construction, after weaving. The complex knitting industry has two primary divisions, one of which manufactures knitted fabrics for garment manufacturers, sewing centers, consumers etc. and the other one produces completed apparels such as hosiery, sweaters, underwear etc.

A knitted fabric is made with yarns formed into interlocking loops with the help of hooked needles. Crocheted fabrics are the simplest form of knitting where a chain of loops is constructed from a single thread with the help of a hook. When the interlocking loops run lengthwise, each row is called a wale identified with the direction of warp in woven fabrics. When the loops run across the fabric, each row is called a course which corresponds to the filling or weft in woven fabrics.

Apart from the number of stitches or loops per square inch in a knitted fabric, the needle quality also decide its properties. With varying thickness and length of needles the stitches will also get thicker and longer respectively. There are three types of needles that are mostly used for industrial knitting- the latch needle, spring-beard needle, and compound needle.

Types of Knitted Fabrics

Depending upon the wales and courses, there are two types of knitted fabrics
1.Weft knit fabric, where one continuous yarn forms courses across the fabric.
3.Warp knit fabric, where a series of yarns form wales in the lengthwise direction of the fabric.

Weft Knitting has three basic stitches- Plain-knit stitch; Purl stitch; and Rib stitch. Any other stitch is a variation of these three stitches. basic stitches of hand knitting can be identified with weft knitting. When done on weft knitting machines, individual yarn is fed to a single or multiple needles at a time.

In warp Knitting, each needle loops its own thread. The needles of warp knitting machines produce parallel rows of loops that are interlocked in a zigzag pattern. The stitches on the front side vertical with a slight angle. The stitches on the back are horizontal as floats at a slight angle. These floats are called laps or underlaps and are a distinguished features of warp knit fabrics. There are seven basic types of warp knitting- Tricot knit; Milanese knit; Simplex knit; Raschel knit; Ketten Raschel knit; Crochet and Weft-insertion warp.

Warp knit fabrics are smooth, sheer, wrinkle resistant, shrink strength and abrasion resistant as such they are very popular with the masses. Warp knit fabrics are considered better than the weft knit fabrics as these fabrics do not ravel easily, are less prone to sagging and have superior dimensional ability.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Color Trends for Summer 2009!


Summers are here and the sun is set to work without rest! In summers, heat and high humidity levels make our body to produce more sweat in order to cool off. And therefore, we all know what summer fabrics should be- breathable, lightweight, and light-colored! Skin has to be literally pampered so it's wise to stay away from chemically dyed fabrics and wear more herbal textile that use natural dyes to produce fantastic colors. And if these colors are chosen according to the current color trends, what's better then that?

Say Bye to Metallic Colors!
If we believe the predictions made for Spring-Summer 2009 the trend seems to be moving away from metallic colors towards more earthy and subdued color palette.

Color Trend for Classic Looks
The classical color palette holds vivid and saturated colors that bring with them cool breezes of beach side – blues and the sandy hues. Deep sea blue, aqua sky or midnight sky, dark, medium or light brown, sand color - all will give that classical touch to your clothes.

Color Trend for Stylish and Trendy Looks
The Chic color palette holds the nature inspired hues. They represent simplicity with style including the Earthy colors heavily on the side of brown but more than just brown. Go for any color inspired by mother nature- morning grass green, subdued orange, violet or golden yellow!

Color Trend for Casual Looks
The Casual color palette makes a move from nature based colors to city life inspired colors- glassy blues, unnatural pinks and street light yellows.

Color Of the Year 2009!
Now hold your breath to know the top color of year 2009! It's none other than the Superb yellow! Match it with black, brown, plum or blue and get as bright as you can!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Accent your dining table with beautiful napkin rings


Setting a beautiful table is an art. An ordinary looking table can be made highly decorative just by making few changes and adding few products. First of all dinner time is the most important time of the entire day when the entire family gets together to have dinner. This time can be made more exciting and enjoyable by creating that wonderful aura. Similarly, when you invite someone for dinner, make your guests have a memorable evening. Give that extra touch to your dining room's decor.

The first thing that you can do to make your table special for any occasion is to choose a clean tablecloth, that will add instant ambiance to your room. Rather than using your traditional dishes, you can opt for good china or porcelain dishware that will elevate the status of the meal that you are preparing. Another great way to set a beautiful table is to create a special centerpiece for your table.

Your napkin rings can also really take your table decorations to the next level. Instead of just keeping the napkins folded on the side of the plate, it is better to use napkin rings to secure the napkins, that will instantly jazz up your table.

Napkin rings have today redefined modern dining style. The elegant and stylish ornaments of the napkins have made a dining room more aristocratic, cozy and warm. Crafted from various materias like metals (silver, aluminum, brass, nickel, iron, copper, alloy and pewter), wood, plastic, ceramic, glass, beads, these cute little napkin rings are available in varied colors, designs, shapes and styles. Designed and stylized, the rings can be utilized for various purposes. They can be used to adorn other tablewares like placemats, tablecloths, and table runners. The shapes vary from square, rectangular, round, convex, geometric, twisted, and various other figural shapes.

Besides adorning the napkins, they add to the overall beauty and dazzle of the dining table. Napkin rings create a perfect luxury setting for breakfasts, teas, coffees, luncheons and dinners. Whether formal occasions or festive dining or any casual setting, napkins without the rings look incomplete and unpleasant. The napkin rings whether expensive or inexpensive with their aesthetic creativity, finesse in craftsmanship are highly demanded in the market for modernizing any table setting. Napkin rings can also be used to offer as gifts in any kind of occasions.

So are you ready to create a truly magical and beautiful setting for your family to enjoy? Just create a beautiful table to serve your meal on. By choosing the right table decorations, you can be sure that you will be creating a memory that will be appreciated for many years.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Facts Behind the Eco-Friendly Fibers


Everyone these days seem to be talking about eco-friendly products. Textile industry too has become aware of the trend and has introduced many eco-friendly fibers for manufacturing eco-friendly fabrics. There is a common understanding among the masses that all natural fibers are eco-friendly and the man- made fibers are not. However, There are certain if's and but's regarding this general theory. Let's know what the actual meaning of eco-friendly fibers is!

What are Eco- friendly Fibers

All natural fibers are not eco-friendly. If there is extensive application of harmful pesticides or insecticides while cultivating, say, cotton- it doesn't remain eco friendly. Also the textile chemicals applied during the finishing and other processes of textile production goes to kill the eco friendly character of these fibers. However, if it's an organic cultivation without any pesticides etc. and if they are processed with mechanical or other ways without any chemicals then only a fabric can be termed as eco-friendly. The same is true for animal fibers like wool where pesticides are used in sheep dips and harmful drugs are given to cure animal diseases but then organic wool is there which is eco-friendly fiber.

As far as man made fibers are concerned, they too can be eco friendly. These are regenerated fibers. They are of two types- having protein origin and having cellulose origin. Protein origin regenerated fibers are obtained from plant protein like corn, soy, peanut etc. or from animal protein like casein from milk. Regenerated fibers of cellulose origin are derived from cellulose of wood pulp or leaves such as rayon fiber. If manufactured in environmental friendly way, they can be very well put into the category of eco friendly fibers.

Some Eco- Friendly Fibers

There are many eco- friendly fibers that are gaining popularity these days. Stinging nettle fiber comes from the Brennessel plant, naturally resistant to vermin and parasites and can be grown without pesticides, herbicides and with very little fertilizers. They are often blended with organic cotton to make a very eco-friendly fiber. It is stronger than cotton and finer than linen having fine weft and glossy look. Then there is eco-friendly pineapple fiber, the pina fiber made from pineapple leaves. The pineapple fabrics are lightweight, soft, transparent and a little stiff fabric with glossy appearance.

Milk yarn derived from milk protein fiber is yet another eco- friendly fiber that goes into making skin friendly, antibacterial, antifungal, and highly absorbent fabric. Bamboo fiber, the cellulose fiber- mechanically processed from bamboo plant, makes smooth, soft, antibacterial and luxurious fabric which has become very popular in present day fashion circles. Yet another eco- friendly, strong, shiny, lightweight and bio-degradable banana fiber is used extensively for fashion clothing and home furnishings.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Artistic Skills Revealed in Ancient Indian Stone Crafts


The tradition of stone carving in India is a very ancient one and a very rich one too. The skills were handed down from one generation to another another, a practise prevalent in some parts of the country even today. Stone carving is very closely linked with architecture. There are magnificent structures showing the artistic skiils of the craftsmen of the ancient times.

Stone monuments are very common all over the country. The rich tradition of India stone carvings are visible in sculptures of the Mauryan period, Buddhist carvings at Sanchi, the rock-cut caves of Khajuraho, Ajanta and Ellora, the temples in Thanjavur, Tiruchirapalli, Mahabalipuram, Ramanthapuram, Kanyakumari, Konark, Puri, and other places. The innumerable stone figures and monuments with their exquisite expressions, detailing of ornaments and dress, the poses of the epic heroes from Hindu mythology, marble inlay work of Taj Mahal, floral, trellis, creeper and geometric patterns on stones are all gifts of creativity. The colourful stones inlay on marble and sandstone surfaces were typical characteristics of the Mughal period.

Different states of the country have their unique originality of certain stones. For example, some of the common stone products of Tamil Nadu are vessels for storage, bowls and simply ornamented single-wick lamps. The black stone bowls and plates, multi-coloured stone statuettes and delicate soapstone articles are famous in Orissa and Bihar, red sandstone articles are widely available in Rajasthan. Several artisans in Gujarat are engaged in the art of cutting and polishing semi-precious stones. Jhansi in Bihar is known for its lampshades, incense stick stands made out of a dark brown stone called sange-rathek. The karga craftsmen in Midnapur in West Bengal produce the famous phyllite stoneware. Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh is famous for a number of small greenstone items like animals, boxes, trays, etc. There are the stone carvers in Himachal Pradesh producing traditional stoves (angithi), circular pots (kundi), pestle and mortar (dauri danda), and other things.

Different stones are used ranging from soft-brittle sandstone and white marble to hard granite. Stones are not only used to make monuments and builidings and structures, they are also used in making various decorative and ornamental products like candle holders, jewelry boxes, planters, garden fountains, lamps and many more. Sandstone, marble, granite, slatestone in the form of pebbles, cobbles, tiles, bricks, blocks, slabs are widely used for flooring, wall cladding, landscaping, roofing etc. The glory of stonework is truly revealed in sculpture and architectural facades and decorative products.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Crocheted Fabrics - An Introduction


Man has always been attracted towards beauty and in his pursuit of beauty, he has discovered many beautiful things too. Crocheted fabric is one such inventions of men which are made from simple materials like yarn or thread using a crochet hook. Crocheting is very similar to knitting as it is simply pulling loops of yarn through other loops. However, in crocheting, only one loop is active at a time with the exception of Tunisian crochet. It also differs from knitting in respect of its crochet hook which is used instead of knitting needles.

Development of Crocheted Fabrics
It is believed that primitive man did crocheting with the help of bent forefinger and as such there is no material evidence of its existence in those ages. However, crocheting as a tradition was prevalent in Arabia, South America, or China though there is no decisive evidence regarding this. It became popular in 19th century in Europe as craft. With industrialization, when the inexpensive cotton threads became readily available, crocheting saw a boom in its popularity. It saw a downtrend after World War I but again became popular after World War II when people regained their interests in various crafts. The crocheting patterns reappeared in many magazines and in the present times, it is such a popular craft that most of the yarn stores offer crochet lessons along with the traditional knitting lessons apart from full magazines dedicated to the craft of crocheting.

Crocheting Process
Crochet patterns are based on mathematical structure and are quite difficult to understand when viewed in a two-dimensional presentation. Crocheting is done by placing a slip-knot loop on the hook, pulling another loop through the first loop, and repeating this process a number of times till a chain of required length is created. The chain is used in two ways- it is either turned and worked in rows, or joined to the beginning of the row with a slip stitch and worked in rounds. Rounds can also be made by working many stitches into a single loop. Stitches are made by pulling one or more loops through each loop of the chain. At the end of a stitch, there is always only one loop left on the hook.

Types of Crochet
There are many types of crochets that include Filet crochet, Tunisian crochet, broomstick lace, hairpin lace, and Irish crochet among others. Filet crochet is a type of crocheted fabric or a crocheted lace made with chain stitch and the double crochet stitch. It is mainly used to create decorative items such as doilies, tablecloth, coasters, placemats etc. Tunisian crochet is the most unique as it keeps many loops active while crocheting and thus it is sometimes equated with knitting also. Broomstick lace uses a crochet hook and a long slender item like a knitting needle and the fabric made from this type of crochet is used for clothing and blankets. Hairpin lace is made with the help of two parallel metal rods. Strips are made by this method and then joined together to create a lightweight fabric. In Irisish crochet, motifs are made separately and then assembled into a mesh background.

Aluminum Crafts – The Masterpieces of Art


Are you thinking of purchasing a perfect handicraft item to enhance your house decor? Are you felling a little confused among the vast range of items available? Well, we can help you out. Aluminum Crafts can prove to be the best choice in this context. Indeed, they are the most contemporary type of handicraft at present.

Basically aluminum crafts refer to all types of decorative and non-decorative items made of aluminum, finished by skilled artisans. Nowadays, they are in fashion. Unlike the traditional handicraft items like wall paintings, wooden coasters, lanterns, photo frames and so; aluminum crafts have emerged as an all new segment. They are not less than a revolution in the handicraft world.

Also referred as aluminum decoratives, the aluminum crafts are comprised of various unique features like smooth finish, gleaming look, precise carvings, eye catching appearance, durable nature and more. Contrary to the traditional handicraft items made of wood, cardboard, plastic, paper or other such stuff, the aluminum crafts are totally exotic and imperial in character. This is one of the reasons of their popularity and wide usage. Now, the interior designers have also started using aluminum crafts for decoration purposes in both residential and commercial spaces.

There are various varieties of aluminum crafts available in the market these days. Some of the most prevalent one include picture frames, candle stands, jewelry box, aluminum animals, bowls and hurricane lamps, among others. These aluminum crafts are used for both indoor and outdoor decoration, according to their type and nature. For instance, aluminum animals, which are a recent trend in the aluminum crafts sphere, are being widely used for garden decoration.

In a nutshell we can say that, aluminum crafts are really proving to be the masterpieces of art and they are giving new dimensions to the handicraft. We can surely expect to see more improved and bolstered handicrafts and especially aluminum crafts in near future.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Keep Cool with Summer Fabrics!


Beat the Heat with Natural Fiber Fabrics this Summer! Your comfort in the hot season depends largely on your fabric choice. To stay cool, dry and comfortable, choose fabrics that are made up of smooth and absorbent fibers. Avoid Spun fibers, or napped, pile or fuzzy fabrics. Go for open, smoother, looser weaves or knits like mesh or seersucker. Light-colored and lightweight fabrics are good choices as far as summers are concerned.

Cotton: The all time favorite cotton is the best deal in summers. It is soft, breathable, soaks sweat, allows the body heat to escape, thus giving you cool feeling. It is available in lots of qualities, colors and blends. As it wrinkles a little, you can opt for cotton and polyester blend with a bigger proportion of cotton. Cotton will keep you cool and polyester don't needs ironing.

Linen: Pure linen that comes in different weights from ultra thin to heavy, is ideal for summer clothing- lighter ones for blouses and dresses and the heavier for summer jackets and slacks. Linen is strong, durable, absorbs perspiration and dries quickly, doesn't lint and softens as it ages. It feels cool and comfortable more than any other fabric. However, it wrinkles a lot so you can go for the luxurious blend of linen and cotton.

Rayon: Rayon derived from cotton linters or wood pulp, comes in many types-viscose, high wet-modulus, lyocell (tencel) etc. and is often blended with other natural and synthetic fibers. A comparison of rayon with other fibers show that rayon is a a good conductor of heat and thus is appropriate for summer clothing. It is one of the most absorbent fabrics, even more than cotton or linen.

Denim: Denim is also a popular fabric for summer times. It is made from tightly woven cotton and is breathable, sweat-absorbent just like cotton. However, when compared to pure cotton, denim is more heavier than it. Therefore, one must go for lightweight denim in order to keep cool in summers.

Lightweight wools: Not many people know that, with correct engineering, wool can be made to act as a very cool fabric for summer heat. The astonishing and interesting fact about summer suits is that they are made of light weight wool apart from cotton and linen. Wool has excellent insulating properties and as such it keeps wearer warm in winter and cool in summer provided the fiber diameter, length, spinning technology etc. are appropriate to produce 'Cool wool'.

Beautify your interiors with beautiful picture frames


There are many who might consider a picture frame as something which surrounds a picture and is used to hang the picture from a wall conveniently. But a picture frame is something more than the 'finishing touch' that adds dramatic flair to the pictures they enclose.

There is a wide variety of decorative picture frames available. There are different styles that reflect the artistic creativity of the craftsmen. There are styles that display the elegance of bygone eras while others add dramatic flair to the art. These pieces are perfect to add glamor to your room. It pays to shop around and look at different types of decorative picture frames before you decide which ones are right for you.

Sometimes, many prefer a unified look. They will prefer to add the same type of frame to the picture that decorates every room. There are others who choose different styles that reflect the taste of the home owner. While it may not seem to be very important as to where are you going to place your new sofa, decorative picture frames can add much from the overall style of a room.

There are different styles of hanging pictures. While some pieces are shown individually, there are others who are best shown as a group. It is to be noted when keeping picture frames in a group, it is not necessary to select the same frame for every picture. While the decorative picture frames don't necessarily have to match each other, however, they should complement to at least some of the furnishings in the room. If you prefer traditional furnishings, it is better to look at wood frames first. If you prefer a modern or eclectic décor, then the clean lines of metal will probably work best. A variety of ornate frames, gilt-edged frames with different colors or textures of contemporary styles, can create a very interesting look in a room. Craftsmen create elegantly carved frames that can also reflect the social status of the individual. The value of hand-crafted frames increased as the importance of art grew in the western world.

Over the years, decorative picture frames have changed to reflect contemporary tastes. Decorative picture frames are an integral part of creating a home that is uniquely yours. Choose the ones that are right for you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Industrial Sewing- Complex Process for Simple Garments


Sewing, as we commonly know, is fastening of some flexible material like fabric, leather etc. using needle and thread. Sewing is done not only for making clothes and home furnishings but also for bookbinding, shoemaking, quilting and for many other such functions. Although the basic necessity in all sewing remains that of needle and threads, the techniques and machines used are different for different sewing purposes. For instance, dressmaking at home will require a simple sewing machine. For quilting, a machine with advanced features is required while for commercial apparel making, heavy duty industrial sewing machines are needed for high quality seams.

Industrial Sewing Process
Industrial sewing is far more complex process when compared with general sewing done at home. It requires many preparations and mathematical calculations for producing garments with perfect seam quality. For conducting industrial sewing, one must possess the required technical knowledge as the flat sheets of fabrics having holes and slits are given curves and folded in three-dimensional shapes in very complex ways that require a high level of skill and experience in order to get smooth, wrinkle-free designs. Apparels thus designed are then cut using templates and sewn by manual laborers or automatic sewing machine. The seam quality is very sensitive to cloth tension that differs from time to time in the whole sewing process. As such, the cloth has to be handled with great care while it is guided towards the sewing machine needle.

Pre-sewing Tasks
Even before the actual work of sewing starts, there are many pre sewing tasks that have to be accomplished. These can be enlisted as recognizing the fabric's shape as appropriate tensional force depends on the properties of fabric; deciding fabric edges to be sewn – whether sewing for joining two parts of cloth or for decorative purposes; planning of sewing process to establish the sequence of seams to be stitched; and identification of seam lines as the seam lines are situated inside the fabric's outer line and therefore distance between the two (seam allowance) has to be determined.

The Sewing of Clothes
The actual sewing process consists of guiding the fabric along the sewing line with a certain speed that is in harmony with the speed of sewing machine. The errors of fabric orientation are either controlled manually or through automatic machines. When one edge of seam line is sewed, the fabric is rotated around the needle till the next edge of the seam line coincides with the sewing line. The process is repeated until all the edges of seam line are sewed.

While sewing, many factors have to be considered such as thread tension and consumption because the correct balancing of the stitch and the tension given to the threads is very important for quality stitch formation. Care has also to be taken for presser- foot displacement and compressing force. Presser- foot is the part of sewing machine that holds the fabric in place as it is being sewn. If this system is not efficient then it results into irregular seams and many other defects, especially when running on high speed. Needle penetration force measurement is also very important for the analysis of quality problems or 'sewability testing' and for quality monitoring.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stay Hot! Spend Less in Recession


Cutting down on budgets don't mean that you cease to be fashionable. By keeping your eyes open and adopting thrift techniques, you can get stylish clothing and accessories enough to maintain your hot looks in college, office and even in evening parties.

Search Your Closet
First, before going out to buy a new top or a footwear, look into your closet- fronts, backs and under the stacked up piles. Now sort your inventory. Keep the clothes and fashion accessories that you wear regularly. Recycle clothes that are still in good condition but you've got bored wearing them- make bags, halter tops, scarves, tank tops, belts out of your old jeans, t- shirts, neck ties etc.- They'll look all new- check with your friends if you don't believe it! Keep some that are in very good condition for reselling or swapping.

Mix and Match
There are certain dresses that can go with a number of outfits. You get a new look everytime you wear these dresses, say a top with suit for work, with skirt for a party, or with jeans for a casual date. These versatile items can be blue jeans, a little black dress, black slacks, white blouses, printed tops, pencil skirts, cardigans, sweaters, tanks and camisoles, ankle boots, heeled sandals etc. Thinks a little and mix and match these dresses to get new looks every time without spending a penny more.

Swap Clothes and Accessories
Clothing and accessory sales have gone down last year. However, the membership in different swapping meet up groups and sites related to swaps are increasing rapidly. Many have already taken advantage of the trend, you too can go for it. Most of the women use only 20% of their wardrobe at any given time! So why not get some hot clothes, handbags, footwear that only take space of others' closets and exchange with what you consider useless. You can visit one of such many swapping or swishing sites or can organize a clothing swap among your friends!

Buy from Thrift or Discount Stores
Everyone's doing that- even those who never went to these shops- after all, its recession time, and your budget is tight! Buy a designer-inspired bag or a dress instead of paying hundreds of dollars for a name brand. But don't equate cheap with inexpensive- cheap items have lower quality that won't stay even for a season. There are many other options to get quality fashion at discount rates- Clearance Sales near the end of the season, BOGO- buy one get one – sales will give you 50% discount on selected items, Special item sales- weekly sales by retailors, especially online retailors, where they feature a special item each week at discounted price ranging from 25 & 40 %. All's there for you, just keep your eyes and ears open.

Use Inexpensive Accessories a Lot
Matching or contrasting accessories with your outfit can surely change your looks in a big way. A single dress can be worn for a business conference, to a friend's gathereing, or cocktail party by just changing the accessories. There's no need to go for expensive ones. You can find a lot of inexpensive jewelery- bangles, earrings, bracelets, handbags made of inexpensive fabrics or recycled handbags made from textile wastes, they can all make you look cool!

Decorative World of Indian Ancient Weapons


It is a known fact that in the ancient and medieval history of India warfare played a prominent role for all maharajahs and kings and emperors who tried to attain supremacy and dominance of a particular region. Conquest by military arms and means were more than an expression of power and strength. Victory in war brought honor, dignity, fame, glory and territorial gain. This was an important element of ancient Indian society and culture.

The ancient Indian army was composed of four divisions: elephant, chariot, cavalry and infantry. The soldiers were normally armed with a variety of weapons, which were both defensive and offensive. The chief arms of ancient and medieval armies were bows and arrows. The curved bow was widely used in later times. Even in the age of firearms, because of effectiveness and reliability of bows and arrows, they continued to be the most important weapons of armies .

Together with bows and arrows, swords had been used in Indian warfare. Available in many shapes and sizes, each piece was designed in terms of ease of handling and striking an opponent. The mace, was another weapon, a symbol of authority, and used for jabbing or hurling. The battle-axe was first developed as a weapon of the aristocracy. Metal and leather armor were seen used by soldiers from an early period. Helmets came during the medieval period. Daggers were used both on and off the battlefield. They were used both as fighting weapons as well as ceremonial weapons . In terms of design and style, daggers were definitely the most creative and colorful of all Indian weapons.

The manufacturing and using of firearms and gunpowder changed the face of Indian warfare as also in other parts of the world. A highly unusual weapon was the jamadhar-tamancha. This was actually half-dagger and half-pistol. They were used side by side with traditional weapons such as bows and arrows.

Thus there were a whole range of weapons used in ancient times to kill, injure or hurt people. The same objects are today beautifully decorated and used as antique collections. They are kept in museums. Commercially they are sold to be used in hotels, restaurants and other elite places. There are many who manufactures and supplies exact replicas of these weapons. This shows to what extent Indians love ornamentation. The artistic creativity of craftsmen can be seen in the ancient weapons. No doubt, ancient weapons could be beautiful, attractive and decorative without impairing its effectiveness in war.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Candle Holders – A Combination of Elegance and Utility


Candle as we all know is a piece of wax (in shapes like cylindrical, circular, square etc.) with an embedded wick, used for lighting and sometimes heating purposes. These candles are commonly fixed on a stand for providing them proper balance and to enhance their look. The same stand is known as a Candle Holder.

When people at large started using the candles, especially for decorative purposes. It compelled the manufacturers to create the candle holders. As is said that, necessity is the mother of invention, so is the case with candle holders. They were invented when their need arise. The candle holders have really come a long way. Today's holders are much advanced in respect of design, utility, elegance and color, than the earlier one. Candle holders not only serves as a stand for the candle but they enhances its beauty, due to the various designs and shapes in which they are made. For this characteristic of theirs, they are sometimes remarked as, a combination of elegance and utility.

Candle holders are made out of various materials. Traditionally, they were aesthetically designed, by skilled artisans. Now a days, with the advancement of technology and automation in various industries, these holders are also started to be made mechanically. The advanced machines work with precision, to make numerous designs of candle holders, out of the metal, stone etc. from which they are fabricated. The commonly used materials for the manufacturing of candle holders include iron, brass, bronze, aluminum, pewter, stainless steel, marble, wood and many other.

There are not only many designs in which and many materials from which the candle holders are created, but they are also created in a wide range. There are numerous types of candle holders available in the market now a days. The most common types are as mentioned below:

  • Antique: These candle holders are unique in appearance and decor. These holders are praised for the historical theme, on which they are made.
  • Christmas: These holders, as the name suggest are made specially for the Christmas festival. They serve the purpose of Christmas and after that can be used for decoration.
  • Candelabra: This variety of candle holders have two or more arms for holding candles. Thus multiple candles can be arranged in them to give a pleasant look.
  • Floating: As the name suggests, these candle holders can float over water. Thus, they are used mainly in ponds, bathtubs, bowls etc. They are really eye-catching.
  • Wall Mounted: Unlike others, these holders can hanged on the wall. They are made in different shapes and sizes and look very attractive.

However, there are many more types of candle holders in use at present. But, it is not feasible to explain each and every one them here. The types given above are the most prevalent one. Although, electricity had replaced candles but still, candles holds an important place in our life. Today also they are used for many purposes like in parties, for decoration, in worshiping and so on. As long as candles are in use, candle holders being complementary to them, will surely remain in demand. So, the future of candle holders is quite secure.

Global Recession and the Fashion Industry


No industry has been spared by the global recession, not even the fashion industry. This industry that comprises various enterprises functioning in the apparel, footwear, home furnishings and fashion accessories markets, is also bearing the burnt of financial meltdown.

The “eagerly waited for” fashion shows are getting canceled. Many big names in the fashion industry have filed for bankruptcy and many others are negotiating for a take over or a partnership deal in order to help their finances. Jobs are being removed from many companies, and governments are being asked for bailing out the fashion industries. This has all started to show from last two- three months of 2008 and the growth graph is steeply falling in the present year. So, what is the industry doing? What strategies are being followed by the fashion retailers and fashion houses for surviving in tough times?

The fashion industry is focusing on individuality and innovation. The fashion businesses are following the changed patterns of consumer spending habits and offering them value added services. For protecting their gross margin, they are trying to prevent losses, optimize prices and manage their inventory systems efficiently.

Internet is in. Online selling, social commerce sites, blogs, mobiles, etc. are being used frequently for providing consistent brand and services. Social media channels are increasingly being used to reach consumers for promotion of brands, knowing consumer needs and for establishing brand loyalty.

Private labeling has, all of a sudden, become more prevalent. Private labels provide higher margins, increased flexibility and the capability of responding fast to the changes in fashion trends. Direct retail channels are being established and managed by stronger brands as it gives them tighter control over their brand identity. However, Weaker brands are looking for opportunities of becoming private-label suppliers to retailers.

The upcoming markets of Eastern Europe, South America and Asia are presenting new growth opportunities in the wake of already saturated U.S. and Western European markets. The companies committed to environmental friendly products and process are and will be far ahead than their competitors. Apart from it, the companies that offer customized fashion through online templates are also in positive stand as the technology savvy consumers demand fashion tailored to their individual lifestyle needs.

All said and done, the fashion industry is hoping to survive by building intuitive relationship with their customers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Textile Designers- Converting Fantasies into Realties


We all love to have beautifully designed fabrics for our garments, home furnishings and other accessories. Have you ever thought, how these fabrics get their design? Who is behind creating the innovative textile designs? And how much effort goes into making a fabric which we might reject in just a few minutes? Do you know the textile designers and their creative but very complex work of textile designing?

Textile Designs- The Vision of Textile Designers
Textile design is the process of making designs for knitted, woven or printed fabrics. It is a technical process which includes both- surface design and structural design of a textile.
Textile designer must have knowledge of yarn making, weaving, knitting, dyeing, finishing processes, as also of different types of looms, knitting machines, and printing processes. He conceptualizes new and innovative designs, creates sets of design samples, experiments with color, fabric & texture and finally designs fabrics as per the prevailing fashion trends.

Creation of Textile Design
The Textile designer makes a sketch of the finished design envisioned by him. His sound technical knowledge of production and the properties of fibers, yarns, and dyes help him in visualizing the final textile product. Earlier, drawings of woven textile patterns were made onto special graph paper called point papers. Weavers used these drawings for setting up their looms for producing the fabric. However, today, the professional textile designers use some or the other kind of computer-aided design software for the purpose. The modern CAD/CAM technology helps in easy creation of virtually any kind of weave and design, helps simulate the created weave or design into the virtual fabric in different color combinations even before the fabric is manufactured.

Textile Designers
There are two basic fields in textile designing- fabrics for home furnishings; and for clothing & other textile accessories. The textile designers make creative, stylish and contemporary designs as per the market demands. They also keep regional, historical and cultural factors while creating these designs. They can work as one of many professionals- freelance designer, in-house designer, stylist, color specialists, curator, printing supervisors or managers.
The textiles designed by these designers only go to make fashion clothing that fashion designers offer you along with the home furnishings, textile accessories and other textile products.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Table Linen for Memorable Wedding


Planning and organizing a memorable wedding party requires a good amount of attention. Table decoration is an integral part of any wedding ceremony. As such, a thoughtful selection of table linen is a must for such an important occasion. However, there are so many fabrics available these days that everyone seems to be puzzled about how to find wedding table linens. I've made an attempt to categorize some of the fabrics that can lend a special feel to your special moment.

The popular fabric choice for wedding table linen is the formal one made of damask, linen, or lace, in neutral colors like white or ivory - plain, monogrammed or embroidered. You can always deter from this formal choice and decide the look you want for your wedding table linen.

Pintuck fabric – They can be defined as narrow, sewn rows of fabric. Pintuck fabrics have interesting diamond or square patterns on them. They'll give a little bulge to the table without looking odd. However, choose your glass crockery with wider bases because the tucking on the fabric might make it difficult to balance things on it.

Bichon fabric - This fabric has a "crushed" or "wrinkly" texture, and thus, sometimes, it is referred to as crushed linens. These fabrics are a little shiny and are made of more delicate fabrics, therefore costs more than some other luxury linens.

Dupioni- It is also called Shatung Silk. Dupioni has an interesting stubbled texture with a slight sheen. Its unique double weave lets the two colors shine through at the same time. It is crisp to touch and doesn't wrinkle badly. In fact, many bridal gowns and bridesmaids dresses are also made of this royal fabric.

Lamour – They are shiny linen, very soft to touch. Lamour is best when looking for a little shine in your event.

Bengaline – It is a poplin-like fabric having a crosswise corded effect. Therefore, it adds texture to the table design. It also has a shiny surface which makes it perfect for special occasions.

Organza or Chiffon Fabrics: If you want a softer effect, use sheer fabrics like organza or chiffon. Sometimes fitted linen is used on tables. If you want to have an overlay on the top of such regular poly cotton or damask table linen, then also, sheer fabrics are the best choice.
When you've selected the fabric of your choice, just follow some table decorating ideas and make your wedding a memorable event for yourself and your guests.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pineapple Fiber- For Healthy Eco-Friendly Dresses


Man has always been innovative. When talking of textile fibers, man has made natural fibers many plants. One of such inventions is Piña, a textile fiber obtained from pineapple leaves for making fabrics. This time it happened in the Philippines, many many years ago, tracing to Hispanic times. The people there used to extract fibers from pineapple leaves and through hand spinning, made a soft, sheer and a little stiff fabric- the piña fabric. It's regal and exotic!

Characteristics of Pina Fabrics

Pina fabric is lightweight, easy to care for and elegant in appearance similar to linen fabric. It is also blended with other fibers such as cotton, silk and polyester to make fabrics having maximum qualities. Pineapple silk is, in fact, considered the queen of Philippine fabrics.

  • Naturally glossy.

  • Sheer but stiff so that creative works like embroidery can be easily done on it.

  • Lightweight.

  • Blend very efficiently with other fibers.

  • Very soft, even softer than hemp.

  • Very good texture, even better than silk.

  • Easily cared for.

  • It is eco- friendly like other plant fibers such as banana fibers, bamboo fibers etc.

Uses of Pina Fabrics

The most wide application of pina fabrics is in making traditional dresses of the Philippines, the Barong Tagalog, wedding attire for men, and blouses for women. Other dresses such as kimonos, panuelos, gowns etc. are also made from it. Apart from clothing, handkerchiefs, table linen, mats, fans, bags are also made from different varieties of piña fabrics.

Caring for Pina Fabrics

Fabrics made from pineapple fibers are very easily cared for. They are completely washable and there's no need of dry cleaning them. Following steps can be taken to keep them as new forever.

  1. Mix a little amount of mild detergent in warm water.

  2. Soak the pina garment or other item to make it free from dirt and stains, then gently hand wash. If the fabric has yellowed, add vinegar to the water and soak overnight.

  3. To take off stubborn dirt, always use a soft toothbrush and never scrub the embroidery on it.

  4. Rinse in an up & down dipping motion. There's no need to twist or wring.

  5. Hang on a hanger and shape to drip dry or lay flat to dry.

  6. Iron on low to medium setting while still damp.

    • never pull fabric to straighten

    • Spray starch can be applied to make it more stiffer.

    • iron the back side where embroidered

    • hang carefully

  7. Store hanging and coved with some dark & breathable fabric to prevent discoloration.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Paintings : Expression of Human Creativity & Imagination


Paintings from India have got immense popularity across the globe. The art of painting is a way to express the inner creativity and imagination of an artist. Since prehistoric period, the art of painting is there in the blood of Indians. Today, this art have got high value and and they have become collector’s items too. Indian paintings like Miniatures paintings, Thangka paintings, Madhubani paintings, Warlis paintings, Tanjore paintings and various others are now an art freak's greatest temptation.

Most of the people love to adorn their wall with oil paintings. The Indian styles and varieties in paintings are as diverse as the nation itself. It thrive in many forms - from art painting forms to oil paintings to paintings on various on various canvases - rock paintings, glass paintings. Indian artists depicts a variety of subjects - be it folk art painting, portraits, landscapes, nature, lifestyle; the Indian painting canvas has many forms, not to mention colors to it.

Paintings Schools in India

Some of the famous painting schools in India are Madhubani Paintings, Rajput Paintings, Kangra Paintings, Mughal Paintins, Batik, Frame Paintings, Glass Paintings, Kalamkari, Madhubani or Mithila painting, Marble Painting, Miniature Paintings, Palm Leaf Etchings, Patachitra, Religious Paintings, Silk Paintings, Fine art paintings, Tanjore Paintings, Velvet Paintings, Thangaka paintings, kalamkari paintings, Landscape painting, Rangamala paintings, folk art paintings and many more.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Cool Beachwear! Trends 2009


Whether it's about early spring break, or a vacation on beach in summers, beachwear is an essential clothing item. Beachwear carries different meanings with it- for some, it's comfort, for others it's style and for yet some others, it's just a garment.

Beachwear- What's It!
Beachwear, when introduced, was intended to be worn while participating in water sports and activities such as swimming, water polo, diving, surfing, water skiing etc. However, now it has become an important fashion clothing too. It can be skin-tight or loosely fitting garments designed to cover either the whole body or its parts. For women, it can be either a two-piece swimsuit consisting of bra and panty or a one-piece maillot style. Other than swim suit, womens beachwear also include skirts, kaftans, pareos, sarong and wraps. Men's swimsuits can be either a bikini-style brief or the longer and fuller swim trunk. Pareos can also be included in mens beachwear.

Women's Beachwear - Trends 2009
This season beachwear will be seen in period style. The styles that were prevalent in 60's and 70's are making a comeback. They'll be accompanied with oversized sunglasses and cool hats. Swimsuits are an indispensable part of beachwear. One-piece swim-suits in bold prints will be the in thing this summer. The cover-ups like sarongs and pareos will be available in lively colors and prints. They can be worn in various styles- hiding or showing skin. Totes with interesting graphics will be loved by the people, for the simple reason that they can carry things to the beach as well as look stylish. Cool flip-flops or beach shoes will complement the beach goers' looks.

Men's Beachwear - Comfort and Style
For men, the classic beachwear is the lifeguard bikini briefs. It has become wider at the sides for a more comfortable fit- neither too tight nor too revealing. The classic board shorts are always loved by men. They can be worn as regular shorts during the day too. This summer, men's beachwear is brightly colored, with prints like tribal safari style and flower prints. A printed t-shirt with a solid bathing suit pant also look good on men at beach. Polo shirts and a stylish hat are also good partners for your shorts. Accessories like a nice fedora hat and cool leather beach sandals will complete your looks for beach time.

So, now when all's known about beachwear for this season, just go through some beach tips and be ready for a great vacation on beach!