In your jam-packed closet you always look for a cool outfit with light embroidery especially in summers. Most of the time you pick up white Chikankari dress for casual wear. Chikankari is also known as ‘The Shadow Work’ as it was done to create a shadow effect on the cloth. It was traditionally done with white thread on white organdie, silk muslin or chiffon fabric. The most commonly used motif was mango which we better known as ‘Ambi’ designs. The other motifs were taken from the surroundings and daily life like leaves, flowers and dots. Most common used stitches were herringbone, button hole, chain stitch, French knot, satin and stem stitch. It was done on sarees, borders, pillow covers, blouses, kurtas, caps, shoes, handkerchiefs etc. Now a day’s Chikankari work is available on different colour fabrics that too with multi-coloured threads.
Namda is traditional embroidery of Kashmir along with Kashida. Kashida was done on silk fabric with vibrant colour silk threads with satin, stem and chain stitch. The floral motifs like lotus, lily, and tulip were common along with grapes, plums, almonds, cherries etc. Whereas Namda was embroidered using chain stitch on jute with woollen threads of green, blue, yellow and mahroon colour. Motifs were inspired from nature like parrot, woodpecker and floral designs.
Kathiawar embroidery is famous in Kathiawar, Sindh. It was done on cream colour khaddar kesmant with cotton threads of red, green, blue and pink colour. Sindhi stitch was the most commonly used stitch in the embroidery, which is basically a four step process of interlacing threads. It was used along with chain stitch, herringbone stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch and buttonhole stitch. It was used to decorate torans (wall hangings) and chaklas (square clothe).
Kantha Embroidery was done mostly in Bengal on four or five layers of old cotton sarees that were sewn as well as embroidered together using small running stitches. The threads used in embroidery were drawn from the red colour border of sarees. Mostly they used for making small pouches to keep combs and other items.
I would have told you about Kasuti embroidery but the page from my file is missing! ;)
Traditional embroideries of India part -1 is here