Embroidery is an ancient variety of decorative needlework in which designs and pictures are created by stitching strands of some material on to a layer of another material. Most embroidery uses thread or wool stitched onto a woven fabric, but the stitches could be executed in, for example, wire or leather strands, and embroidery can be worked onto many materials. ...

An embellishment of a fabric or garment in which colored threads are sewn on to the fabric to create a design. Embroidery may be done either by hand or machine.It is A term applied to a hill or mount with several copings or rises and falls.

Decorative stitching on fabric:

Generally involves non-lettering designs but can also include lettering and/or monograms. Evidence of embroidery exists during the reign of Egyptian pharaohs, in the writings of Homer and from the Crusaders of the 12th century. Evolved from hand work to manual sewing machines and from handlooms and schiffli machines with hundreds of needles to high-speed, computerized multihead machines.

Ornamental needlework or trimming using silk, cotton, metallic or other threads.

Embroidery is the embellishment of cloth with designs made by needle and thread; an art that stretches back to antiquity. Over the centuries, embroidery has been used to adorn everything from handkerchiefs to the most sumptuous state regalia. With the exception of leather, embroidery in India has been done on woven cloth of cotton, wool and silk.

In India, natural colors used for dying distinguishes the work done in India from the others. The Indian embroider never uses too many colors in any one piece. Each state in India has a style unique to its tradition. The satin stitch is used in Kashmir.

The darn stitch, which produces the 'bagh' and 'phulkari' stitch of Punjab is vibrant like the people of the state. The interlacing stitches of Kutch and Kathiawar are as beautiful as they are intricate. The 'kasauti' stitch of Karnataka too is popular due to its traditional value. The white on white 'chikan' work of Uttar Pradesh is breath-taking and requires a lot of skill. The silk embroidery done in Surat has exquisite patterns.

Indian embroidery uses many stitches as well as variations of basic stitches. The running stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, feather stitch, interlacing stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch etc. are just to name a few. Indian embroidery exists in exquisite variations and vibrant colors, with each state having a unique style of its own.


The chikan work of Lucknow is perhaps one of the most popular embroidery works in India. It has a certain grace and elegance, which ensures that it never goes out of style. The word chikan literally means embroidery. It is said to have been originally introduced by Nur Jahan, the beautiful wife of the Mughal emperor, Jahangir. It has since evolved and attained its glory and perfection in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The work became popular in a number of important cities of the Indo-Gangetic plain such as Delhi, Agra, Rampur, Banaras, Patna and Gaya. But the supremacy of Lucknow remained unchallenged.

The designs depend for its effect on the variety of stitches used and different grades of threads used to form the patterns which include, the lace like jali, the opaque fillings and the delicacy or boldness of outline and details. The most beautiful part of chikan work is the open work ground, an effect of drawn thread work is achieved without drawing out any. Tiny raised flowers done in what seem to be French knots are balanced by the flat stem stitch and large areas of open work to prevent either a crowded or too scattered appearance.

A variation of the chikan work is the bakhia or shadow work. Here the work is done from the back, the stitches completely covering the design in herringbone style. The shadow of the thread is seen through the cloth on the right side. To give a richer appearance, the designs are produced with tiny backstitches on the right side over the shadow. A similar effect is created by cutting out tiny flowers and leaves in the same material as the basic fabric and then applying them on the wrong side. The work is done so dexterously that the turned in edges of the cut pieces are scarcely visible from the front of the work.

The refinement of taste dictated that not even the seams should be straight. So the material of the kurtas were cut in waves along the sides. The stitches employed are back-stitch, chain stitch, and hemstitch forming an open work pattern, jali or openwork ground. The introduction of color in to the kurtas is a recent innovation.

Embroidery has been a craft for women, Banni, a small village in the Rann of Kutch is known for its artistic embroidery work. Small mirrors are interspersed to lend glitter and charm. The finest type of such embroidery work with small mirrors is called Abhla-Bharat. When a bride is sent to her husband's house, she carries with her some pieces of skirts and cholis exquisitely embroidered with minute details.

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