Craft of decorating fabric with needle and thread is Embroidery. This thread craft is best done on natural fabrics with a tight weave like silk or cotton. Embroidery is a diverse yet distinct evidence of our rich cultural heritage. Embroidery designs are influenced by different Indian cultures and have a different flavor of its own. Thread craft of Indian Embroidery has been cherished by dedicated craftsmen and has the world obsessing over them. Embroideries of India includes various embroidery styles that vary by region and styles of clothes.


Embroidery designs are formed on the basis of texture of the fabric and stitch. Embroidery may also include materials other than threads, like pearls, beads, stones and sequins. Presently, Embroidery is available with a wide variety of coloured yarns. Fundamental stitches of hand embroidery include running stitch, chain stitch, cross stitch and satin stitch. Surface embroidery techniques are most economical. Embroidery of India stands out for unique stitches and use of fabrics and colors. While India is known for its beautiful embroidery techniques, we have simplified and handpicked some embroideries that have been inspiring generations of designers over the years.



Traditional embroidery style from Lucknow; Chikankari, is believed to have been introduced by Nur Jehan; and it is the best textile decoration style. Chikankari began as a type of white-on-white embroidery. It is a delicate and artfully done hand embroidery on a variety of textiles like chiffon, organza, net etc. Currently, Chikankari embroidery is also done with cotton and silk threads in trendy colors, in sync with the modern times. To give the embroidery a rich look, additional embellishments like beads and sequins are also adapted in recent times. Fabric used for such an embroidery cannot be too thick; thus, to highlight the embroidery, fabrics like cotton, semi-georgette, silk and chiffon are used.



Simple embroidery technique Kantha is a traditional embroidery style of Bengal and Odisha. Kantha was done on dhotis and sarees traditionally, with a simple running stitch along the edges. Thread with which the embroidery was completed, was taken from the borders of the used cloth. Generally, Kantha is described by the motifs of birds, animals, flowers and everyday activities in running stitch with small gaps. Kantha embroidery on cloth gives a slight wrinkled effect. Presently, Kantha is used on a wide variety of garments such as sarees, dupattas, shirts and also on furnishings and upholstery.



Phulkari embroidery from Punjab is the second most favourite thing after sarsoon ka saag, from the region. Phulkari consists of flower work motifs. The stitches in Phulkari are embroidered on back side of the cloth so that the design takes place in front. Hand spun or natural dyed khadi cloth is majorly used for Phulkari embroidery. Highlight of this embroidery is that it is made with a contrast of bright colors on a light colored fabric. It is made by using floss silk threads. Simple and sparsely embroidered dupattas made for everyday use are called Phulkaris. This unique embroidery was traditionally practiced by women in their free time.



Zardozi from the lands of Persia is an ancient art of sewing gold and silver threads on the fabric. During the Mughal era, Zardozi was used to embellish royal garments. Original zari work was done by using pearls and precious stones with actual gold and silver threads. However, presently cotton yarn wrapped with metallic yarn is used to create such an embroidery. Initially, choice of fabric for such an embroidery was also royal. Velvets and rich silks complemented this rich embroidery. To maintain the shine of zardozi embroidered garments they are wrapped in soft cotton or muslin.

  1. KUTCH


Traditional handicraft of Gujarat, Kutch is a perfect combination of thread craft with mirror work. It is generally done on cotton fabric by using cotton or silk threads. Because of the use of mirror work and colorful threads, Kutch embroidery stands out. This type of embroidery adorns bags, accessories, decorative pieces and home décor. Stitches involved in this embroidery are running stitch, double buttonhole, satin and straight stitch.



More popularly known as Kashmiri embroidery, Kashida evolved under the rule of Mughals. Kashidakari is inspired from nature. Most common themes include birds, flowers, trees, creepers etc. It is done by using chain stitch on cotton, silk and wool as base fabrics. Thread colors are inspired by the local flowers of Kashmir. Only one or two stitches are used to complete the entire embroidery. Craftsmen generally used shades that blend well with the background.

To revive the major embroideries of India, these are incorporated in details to enhance the overall look of the garment. Embroidery on buttons, collars and pockets are also a great trend. Shop for trendy embroidered design elements at The Design Cart.


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1 comment

  • Ritu Nagpal

    Interested to learn about embroidery stitches

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