The art of embroidery is very alive in Morocco. Women learn to embroider at a very young age and some embroidery is so intricate it takes months to do and costs hundreds of dollars.
Below are typical embroideries made in Fez. The "Fez stitch" is a very fine mix of cross and straight stitches that often covers the cloth entirely.
Antique embroidery from Fes in a purple border.
Antique pillow in Fes stitch.
A tablecloth in Fez stitch
The women don't mark the cloth. Positioning of the stitch is done by "eye" at an incredible speed.
|photo: J R Pelmont|
More to the south is another type of traditional embroidery from the area of Rabat, the Moroccan capital. This type of stitch is often done in silk, gold or silver thread and gives a beautiful shiny aspect. It is a very rich embroidery and is used on garments as well as cushions and bed covers.
These traditional embroideries are used by contemporary designers as in this superb room photographed for the magazine "Coté Maison" by Bernard Touillion.
Some embroidery is now done with special sewing machines. That makes embroidered garments affordable.
This proud tailor made the embroidered caftan below for a friend in just three days. We bring the fabric, choose the style of embroidery and thread colour and he starts working.
Djellabas are often elaborately embroidered and worn with co-ordinated scarves and babouches.
The main diffference between a caftan and a djellaba is that a djallaba has a hood while a caftan does not and a caftan is often worn for special occasions and sometimes heavily embroidered.
The linen chambray caftan I wear for lounging at home:
Simpler hand embroidery on a blouse by Ludovic Petit, a french designer in Marrakech.
Hand embroidered placemat and napkin by abanjà. This pointed example is called the "dars" stitch and is traditional moroccan embroidery.
Dark brown hand embroidered velvet cushion by Abanjà...
...and olive green linen with chartreuse and silver embroidery by Ludovic Petit for abanjà.
Photos: Sylvie Pellet, Jeanne-Aelia Desparmet-Hart, Joelle Desparmet and others as sourced.