Technique – supports and reserves

The supports on which the reserves are made vary according to the raw material used and its treatment, and according to the structure of the fabric. They reflect availabilities in the natural environment but also aesthetic and cultural choices.

Two large groups of reserve can be seen : reserves that are tied and others that are sewn. They can be made without a mark or, on the contrary, follow a pattern inscribed beforehand in or on the fabric. The link itself is by nature variable : A thread of cotton, a strand of raffia, a strip of plastic or rubber, etc.

  • locally woven cotton

    locally woven cotton

  • industrial cotton

    industrial cotton

  • plaited raffia

    plaited raffia

  • plaited pandanus

    plaited pandanus

  • woven silk

    woven silk

  • woven camel wool

    woven camel wool

  • sheep's wool and sprang

    sheep's wool and sprang

  • double knot

    double knot

  • tying


  • tying pinched fabric

    tying pinched fabric

  • sewing and gathering

    sewing and gathering

  • reserve by sewing and concealment

    reserve by sewing and concealment

  • Embroidery


  • tied stencil

    tied stencil



Ceremonial shawl Senegal, Saint Louis, Wolof, 20th century Cotton Collection Ministry of Cooperation 73.15608.14

Importation of damask « basin ». The quality of the fabric favours making fine and precise patterns. The reserves are carried out by sewing flower stitches and bumblebee cross stitches. Then the fabric is dyed in a vegetable indigo bath. Once the sewing threads are removed, it is carefully calendered with the help of mallets, which makes it shiny. The fabrics, passed on from generation to generation, are worn during large ceremonies, in particular, the day of a woman’s marriage. This type of design is characteristic of dyers from Saint-Louis but the embroidery technique and the patterns today spread further afield. 220x127 cm