• Samia

'Tis the [Tatreez] Season: A 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Tatreez Lovers & Practitioners

Updated: Nov 21

Use the following key when considering budget:

$ = $0-25 $$ = $25-50 $$$ = $50+

This year is ending a little differently than others, and many of us will not be able to spend the holidays and time off work with loved ones in person. However, we will still want to show that we listen and care, even from afar. I’ve compiled some great ways you can do that for the tatreez lovers in your life. Hopefully you can find an idea on any budget! Have a question? Feel free to reach out via DM (Instagram, Facebook) or email.


1. Thread: $

This doesn’t need too much explanation, but just know, for the tatreez lover in your life, there is no such thing as too much thread. When it comes to thread, I think of the playful nature of each color, the feeling evoked, and the sense of calm and balance I find when I open my thread drawers. Any tatreez lover will share their own description of these feelings with you for that moment when they peak at color stash to start a new project or just for some inspiration. Need suggestions for which color combinations to put together? Check out this previous blog post for some helpful hints.

2. An Introductory, Self-Paced Virtual Tatreez Course: $$

For someone who’s looking to learn both a little bit of the history and create their first tatreez project, this is a wonderful experience you can gift to them! Your kit includes all the materials needed to both practice and complete your project! Upon purchase, you or your loved one will receive a kit and instructions for accessing your course. You can choose your own color options as well.




3. Tatreez-Inspired Crafts & Creations: $-$$

Our growing tatreez community will always be central to the work we do together to reclaim and reimagine our ancestral craft. It is an honor to highlight and recommend for some amazing gifts, the work of Roba Yousef. Among the many roles she plays, Roba is a tatreez sister, a creative genius, a mom, a teacher, and an inspiration. Whenever I catch a glance at my Thobe Stickers, I can’t help but feel inspired even in the middle of the work day! Working virtually from home, I now get to “match” with my laptop: we’re both wearing thobes everyday now thanks to Roba’s stickers. I have personally gifted many of these and absolutely love the quality and finishes on all of Roba’s work.


4. Fabric: $-$$

Any textile enthusiast and tatreez lover always appreciates great fabric. Especially when they’re authentic Syrian silks. Here are a few fabric suggestions. I love using these fabrics to accent the thobes and garments I make and also to add hints of our heritage to accessories, headbands, bags, and more. Fabric supplies are limited, but more colors and styles will be added soon.

5. Books: $$-$$$

Tatreez books are a great way to both support Arab authors and learn so much more about our beautiful heritage and this craft. Here, I’ve only included books about tatreez by Arab authors. There are wonderful books by Margarita Skinner and others (Arab and non-Arab) as well, but here are some of my current favorites by Arab authors.


Threads of Identity by Widad Kiwar


(Available online through The Palestine Museum US)

A personal favorite. I loved every moment of this book. It is a celebration of the talent and lives of Palestinian women from whom much was learned in the preservation of these traditions. It is a testament to the resilience of Palestinian women and this craft over time.



Traditional Palestinian Costume: Origins and Evolutions by Hanan Karaman Munayyer

One of the absolute best resources for learning about Palestinian embroidery traditions and textiles is this book based on the extensive research and collection of Hanan Munayyer. The information in this book is unique and won’t be found elsewhere. I must also mention that my favorite part of this book is its incredible photography; the size and clarity of each image add incredible value to the book and to my own practice as an embroidery artist. A must have for any practitioner or admirer of this Palestinian art. (Available online through The Palestine Museum US)



6. Purchase Beautiful Tatreez Pieces and Support Women in Palestine


One more way to bring a lot of joy to the tatreez lover in your life (or yourself!) is to purchase some high quality, ethically created tatreez pieces directly from Palestine. For this holiday, I’d love to highlight the work of one of my favorite organizations, Sunbula. Check out their pieces on their website. I’ve only ever had incredibly positive experiences with them and I’m sure you will too!

(Pictured Right: One of my favorite Sunbula pieces!)



7. Gift A Spot in the Thobe Project's Second Cohort

Is the tatreez lover in your life also a practitioner? Want to gift them an experience and journey unlike any other? Reserve a spot in the next cohort of The Thobe Project. Years of research, interviews, and study later, we are able to recreate the experiences and traditions of our ancestors. The techniques and approach covered in this course are not documented anywhere else and are the result of years of personal work. No sewing machine? No problem. The historic Palestinian approach to sewing and garment construction is taught. You are supported in every step of the way as you learn to create your very first Palestinian thobe in the most authentic way. To learn more about purchasing this class as a gift and the not-yet-released details of cohort #2, please send an email to learn more about what is covered, terms, and how to pay to reserve this spot. Spots are limited and filled up quickly for the current cohort. You can check out current practitioner work as well via Instagram highlights @talesoftatreez.


8. Needles: $

Needles may seem trivial at the beginning of your practice, but once you go Tulip, you’ll never go back. Thanks to our tatreez sisters (@ReinventingNadine and @LiliasTreasures) for the recommendation. Especially if you do a lot of embroidery on garments (or if you’re making a thobe!), the right needles will make a huge difference both in the pace and quality of your work. Let the tatreez practitioner in your life give these a try! They come in many different sizes and types. My go-to currently for the thobe I am working on is the Size 8 embroidery needle.


Note: You can find Tulip needles through many websites. Personally, I have bought them through this Etsy shop and had a wonderful experience.



9. DMC Thread Color Card: $


One of the absolute best gifts I ever bought myself was this color card! Special thank you to our tatreez sister Lema (@Liliastreasures) for the suggestion. Prior to this, I was so proud of the self-created board I had invented to code all of my thread colors using the actual DMC pearl cotton thread. This card is a lot more sleek than my former invention, provides an incredible amount of value for what you’ll pay for it, and even tells you which colors come in which thread varieties (floss, pearl cotton size 5, size 8, etc.). I could never go back to a world before this color card!


10. Stitching Headlamp: $

If you work full time and manage a household like many of us, you may find the most opportune time for you or the tatreez lover in your life to get some stitching done is in the late hours of the evening long after the sun has set. There are a variety of different headlamps that provide great light, but let me tell you why I love this one in particular: the light is wonderfully strong, you can change the angle to fit your project/desired area, and it comes with 5 different lenses to magnify the area you’re working on. I find this incredibly helpful when doing tatreez on linen without waste canvas. Special thank you to tatreez sister @quadsquest for her suggestion of this wonderful tool that is sure to make the tatreez lover in your life a happy stitcher! (Pictured right: me embarking on some 2am stitching in my PJs!)