On a visit to Bahrain in 2018, Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, sought to find crafters talented in silver embroidery (naqdah). She was advised to meet with Zakiyah Ali, from then on, they became good friends and Zakiyah began to source old articles of dress to help build the Bahraini section of The Zay collection. Dr. El Mutwalli has also commissioned Zakiyah to create a sample of her work, one specifically to be added in Zakiyah’s name in due course.
This overgarment was handmade by the late Maryam Ali Nasser Al-Hayki, famous for her skills in sewing and craftsmanship. Zakiyah Ali, her daughter, inherited these skills from her mother and excelled especially in silver straw technique (naqdah) . Thus, she is known as Zakiyah Naqdah.
This open net, synthetic, black, machine stitched, Bahraini overgarment (thawb kurar), is sewn in the traditional T-shape, with just three equal size, horizontal panels creating the wide sleeves. The fabric is accentuated with woven silver coloured tinsel specks.
It is decorated in a 2 cm wide naïve machine embroidered, zig-zag line, in silver tinsel, which accentuates the neckline creating a central axis. A cheaper alternative, mimicking the placement of more prized traditional kurar work.
Such a garment is customarily worn over underpants (sirwal) and a tunic dress (dara’ah) while carrying out everyday chores at home.
Kurar work requires a group of skilled handcrafters, two or three women, called (dawakhil), led by a group leader called the (qattabah). The women sit opposite the leader, and each takes a turn organising the thread on her fingers and transferring it from one hand to another, for the thread to interlace. The result is a flat woven ribbon, that is then hand stitched directly onto the fabric of the overgarment (thawb), accentuating the sleeves, the neckline, and the centre axis on the front of the gown.