Surface Ornamentation – History And Types

Surface ornamentation has almost transformed from embellishing parts of building in architectural art to modern fabrics ornamenting by various kinds of threads and techniques which came from different parts of the world.

Types Of Embroidery

It's been practiced in our country for a hundred years. Every part of India is recognized for its style of presenting surface ornamentation. For example, in Rajasthan, mirror work is originated, and Punjab is famous for phulkari. Moreover, it is about embellishing with using a particular type of thread like zari or designing a nostalgic art from historical civilizations to apparel. You can also see the fashion designers creating something amazing from observing their daily life.

These are the various types of Surface Ornamentation by which you can create a miraculous art:

1. APPLIQUE: This is a modern way of embellishing fabrics. Shapes of one stuff are applied to the surface or background of another fabric using a simple twisted stitch or with a straight stitch, which overlaps the corners of each shape. The design pieces that form up appliqué are typically lined with interfacing to give them strength.

Applique Work

2.   EMBELLISHMENT: It's done by the use of a variety of techniques into one fabric. For example, a currently popular method is called Shisha work, in which tiny mirrors are adorned onto fabrics. Another stitch, dye, or print techniques may also be used to give an ornate design. Embellishment is a decorative detail that adds value to the structure and makes a fabric better than what is already. Light embroidery, different pleats, dyeing, and printing can be used in informal apparel. The embellishment is also done using loose(removable) items as it is attached by using hooks, pins, and buttons for attachments. To get a good design on fabric, the elements of the craft must be formed or aligned together. The main thing you need to keep in mind while embellishing the material is that the design must be in harmony, variety, proportion, balance, rhythm, and movement. Dabka, Zardozi, Gota usually worked for making formal dresses whereas for making informal dress printing, buttons, patch and mirror work is done.


3.   FABRIC MANIPULATION: The properties of fabric or cloth can be changed using heat or chemicals. A simplified process called Shibori, from Japan explores the manipulation of cloth in this way. The structure of the fabric can be tied in elaborate or straightforward patterns; then, the material is subjected to high steam, and the color is added. This process works well on synthetic fabrics as they have thermoplastic properties, which allow the material to retain its shape. Once heated to a high temperature, the structure form of the fabric cannot be changed unless the fabric is subjected to high temperatures again.


4.   PHULKARI: Punjab is one of the most energetic, vibrant, and culturally vibrant northwestern states of India, where people, mainly village ladies, use their time productively by joining themselves with various artistic crafts. Phulkari being one of them, is the classical and most well-known tradition which its people have and are still working to maintain in spite of uncertainty and changing times.

Phulkari Work


History Of Surface Ornamentation

The origin of Phulkari has not yet been traced. Phulkari has been mentioned in the famous Punjabi folklore of Heer Ranjha (a love tale) by Waris Shah. Its present form and popularity go back to the 15th century, during Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Reign. Phulkari plays a vital role in a girl's life. Birth of a girl traces the origin of the child's grandma of the task in building the future bride's clothes or outfits, which is worn by the bride when she walks around the divine Agni (fire) during her wedding ritual. When a lady gives birth to a boy, she is given a Phulkari, which is worn by her when she moves out for the first time after childbirth or during religious festivals. Likewise, when a lady dies, her whole body is covered with Phulkari. 


Embroidery Types

Phulkari receives its richness from the utilization of darn line in different ways (even, vertical, and inclining). In contrast to other people, weaving on Phulkari was done from an inappropriate side of the khaddar with a floss silk string called pat. Darning stitch was the most regularly used technique to make Phulkari, and the quality of a piece could be estimated according to the size of the stitch. The smaller the stitch, the best was the piece. Just a single strand was utilized at once, where each part worked in one shade. What was all the more fascinating was that the shading and variation is not done by using different tones. Instead, one shading string was utilized in a flat, vertical, or corner to corner join, which brought about giving an illusion of more than one shade when the light fell on it or when seen from various angles.

KANTHA EMBROIDERY: India has a long past associated with unbelievable and exciting embroidery. Young girls were trained to embroider from a young age, usually at around six years old and traditionally after they lost their first tooth. They were instructed not only so they could acquire useful skills, but also as a form of learning and so they could learn to see the world full of fascinating plants and animals by drawing and stitching them.

Types Of Embroidery

The Method Of Kantha Embroidery: A single running stitch is traditionally used to create a Kantha. Typically, the fabric is covered entirely with the running stitch, which gives it a slight wrinkled, wavy effect.

6.   KASUTI : This Embroidery is a typical old form of art mainly followed in Karnataka. The name Kasuti is derived from the words Kai, meaning hand, and Suti called cotton implies an activity that is performed using cotton and hands.

Types Of Embroidery

Origin Of Kasuti: They portray chimes, chariots, birds, and animals. There is a solid likeness among kasuti and Rangoli themes; just that rangoli is done on the floor at the doorsteps of houses and sanctuaries and Kasuti on textile with needle and string. The pattern is made so that the two sides of the fabric have a similar appearance. Prior, just cotton threads were utilized on the cotton fabric. Presently the silk fabric is additionally used.

7.CHIKANKARI: Chikan (Hindi: Urdu: ) is a popular embroidery style from Lucknow, India. The word signifies embroidery. Considered to have been introduced by Nur Jehan, Mughal emperor Jahangir's spouse, it is one of Lucknow's most prestigious textile designing styles.


Origin Of ChikankariThere are many theories about the beginning of Chikankari. Chikankari - the process of chikan - was created in Lucknow. It expanded quickly throughout the period when the Mughals ruled and consisted of styles encouraged by Persians.

Types Of Embroidery

TechniqueChikankari is a gentle and artfully done hand embroidery on a variety of textile materials like muslin, silk, chiffon, organza, net, etc. White thread is embroidered on fresh, color shades of light muslin and cotton garments.

Types Of Embroidery

8.   BOBBIN LACE: Bobbin lace developed from braid-making in the 16th-century Italy and ornamental braid of gold and silver-wrapped threads or colored silks steadily became more beautiful, and later on, bleach linen yarn was used to make both braids and edgings. Bobbin lace is a lace textile created by braiding and twisting lengths of yarn or thread, which are covered on bobbins to manage them. As the work proceeds, the weaving is held in place with pins set in a lace pillow, the placing of the pins usually defined by a pattern or piercing pinned on the pillow.

Types Of Embroidery

Structure: Bobbin lace can be made with fine threads. Traditionally it was created with linen, wool, silk, cotton threads, or with precious metals. Now it is formed with various kinds of natural and synthetic fibers and with wire and other threads.

By gathering awareness from our blog, we are sure that you got the clarity of what is surface ornamentation?. Tips and tricks to design good stuff from surface ornamentation.

So Stop thinking! and start designing. If you enjoyed this post, let us know.


  • Parita Rupareliya

    Oww thankyou so much for this informative content!
    And ya after reading this i would definately start designing😊

  • Nisha Khandekar

    Beautifuly explained

  • Nisha Khandekar

    Beautifuly explained

  • Harbhajan Singh

    Bhagalpuri silk all Coller

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