Same pattern, different technique

Snail / House Pattern

Snail / House Pattern

The snail (qwj) and house (lub tsev) patterns are very common throughout Hmong embroidery. These patterns are found in various pieces of Hmong attire and can be found embroidered using various techniques.

Pictured above are two different techniques of the snail and house patterns. These two pieces were sashes (hlab sev) that can be attached to a sev, a long piece of Hmong attire that is worn at the waist measuring approximately one foot wide by three feet long, with the length of the sev falling from the waist down to the ankles. The sev is worn in front and over the Hmong skirt or in the front and back if wearing Hmong pants. The sash can be worn separately around the waist over the sev, as well.

The image on the left is embroidered using a reverse applique technique. The pattern was cut into the white fabric, then appliqued over a background color. The white fabric is possibly a thin cotton. The purple that makes up the snail pattern and the green that makes up the house pattern are both background fabrics. The purple and green fabric may be silk, rayon, or some other type of fabric with a satin finish, as there is a slight sheen to it.

The image on the right was cross-stitched on black cross-stitch fabric. If you compare the two pieces, you will see that, with the exception of the vertical green, white, and green cross-stitch lines dividing each panel on the image on the right, they are essentially the same pattern, just embroidered differently.

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