Different Types of Fabric and Embroidery Used In Designing Traditional Indian Dresses


India is known for brightly-colored clothes, incredible fabric patterns, and embroidery styles that are as mesmerizing as they can be. For a highly multicultural country, we have a very rich and buoyant fashion scene, no doubt.

Lots of fabric and embroidery types are regularly used in Indian fashion.

But there are a few that seem to dominate the scene, more common than others. In this post, we explore the world of Indian fashion through the diverse fabric and embroidery patterns that keep the fashion scene as stylish as we know it.

The different fabrics of India

In India, season and occasion dictate the type of fabric.

Whether it’s a saree or suit, ethnic dresses, or western pants, there are five main types of fabric in India, that often find more use in clothes and similar fashion items. These include cotton, silk, velvet, chiffon, and georgette, all of which we’ll briefly discuss below.

1.   Cotton fabric in IndiaPrinted Cotton Fabric Manufacturers | Gold Garment

Cotton fabric is used all over the world.

In India, they are also popularly accepted because of their versatility, breathability, and more. They are commonly used in suits and can be easily used alongside other fabric types for even more versatile products like twill, chanderi, voile, etc.

2.   Silk fabric for sarees and lehengas

Art Silk Fabric Embroidered Rani Color Party Wear Lehenga With Enchanting  Blouse

Silk sarees and lehengas are a beauty to behold.

The fabric oozes luxury and has a special soft touch to it. It drapes nicely around the body and is a common sight at weddings and big events. Silk needs careful maintenance and should be stored where moisture and sun won’t be able to cause significant damage.

3.   Velvet

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Velvet, much like silk, also exudes royalty and luxury.

This fabric was once only affordable for wealthy aristocrats at a point in history. Today, almost everyone can now style themselves with fashion items made from quality velvet material. Velvet blouses and dresses are common in India. They are excellent for designing flowy dresses and tend to go very well along with other fabrics.

4.   Chiffon

Polyester Chiffon Fabric at Rs 25/meter | Nylon Chiffon Fabric, Chiffon  Embroidery Fabric, शिफॉन का कपड़ा - Shri Radhey Fabrics, Jaipur | ID:  13776012155

Chiffon fabric has this slick and nice texture.

This fabric is made from cotton, silk, rayon, nylon, and polyester. They are best used in dresses and gowns where the designers want to create a floaty look and style. As such, they are commonly used to make light sarees, flowy gheras, and other dresses for both formal and casual occasions.

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5.   Georgette

What Is Georgette Fabric? Learn About the Characteristics and Different  Types of Georgette Fabric - 2021 - MasterClass

There are two types of georgette fabrics used in Indian fashion.

The pure georgette fabric is made from silk while the faux type is woven out of a combo of nylon and polyester. This material is light-weight with a crinkled feel. They are best used to design bouncy-style clothes. The fabric has a soft and silky feel and still drapes nicely around the body.

The different Indian embroidery patterns

Another thing you’ll love about Indian fashion is the embroidery and embellishment often found on dresses from salwar kameez to sarees, lehengas, etc.

These embroidery patterns range from simple and beautiful patterns like Chikankari to some more robust and complex embroidery designs. In the next part of this post, we discuss some of these popular embroidery designs.

1.   Chikankari Indian embroidery

Famous Indian Embroidery Styles: Chikankari, Zardosi & Kantha | The Ethnic  Soul

Chikankari embroidery is commonly seen on kurtas and dupattas.

This type of embroidery is usually done in cotton threads on different fabrics that range from cotton to linen, georgette, and other light fabrics. The different stitches used for this beautiful embroidery includes the satin Stitch, backstitch, stem stitch, buttonhole stitch, herringbone stitch, and jaal stitch. While Chikankari embroidery started in East Bengal, it’s now more popular in the Lucknow town of Uttar Pradesh so much so that it’s now being called Lucknow work.

2.   Zardozi

THE ART OF ZARI – The Design Cart

Zardozi embroidery originates from the ancient Persian empire.

This handwork is done with gold and silver threads on lush velvet and rich silk fabric. This embroidery, as well as the choice of fabric, is both royal and luxurious. Today’s zardozi embroidery incorporates a copper wire along with the golden polish, silver, or polish silk threads. The designs on the fabric are as elegant and sophisticated as they can be, making them a common choice for Indian brides’ sarees and lehengas.

3.   Phulkari embroidery

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The Punjabi region of India is the home of India’s best phulkari embroidery.

The word ‘phulkari’ literally means ‘a garden of flowers’ so it’s not surprising that this embroidery is rich in colors. Hand-dyed silk threads based on vegetable dyes are used to work on cotton, silk, and synthetic fabric materials.

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Phulkari embroidery comes in three different forms; Bagh, Chobe, and Shashidhar embroidery patterns. In Punjab, this embroidery is lavishly done on bridal garments and other types of ethnic dresses.

4.   Kashida


Originating from Kashmir, this embroidery is spectacular on Kashmir shawls and kaftans.

The embroidery motifs are often inspired by nature such as birds, flowers, apple blossoms, peacocks, etc. The raffugiri embroidery is a popular variety of this embroidery design which when finished usually makes both sides of the fabric appear the same.

5.   Kantha

Kantha: Women Embroidering Stories Of Bengal Across Borders

This beautiful and unique embroidery originates from West Bengal and has become popular across the whole country. The design works with simple running stitches and motifs inspired by mythical and legendary creatures as well as nature. Kantha embroidery gives the fabric a very special kind of texture and the design is a hit among young Indian women.

6.   Mirror workRound Mirror work Tutorial - YouTube

Mirror work embroidery traces its origins to the Mughal empire.

This art in fashion is popular among Gujarat and Rajasthan craftsmen and integrates small mirrors of different sizes and shapes, amidst colorful embroidery designs. Mirror work on clothing items is popular for events and festivities but they are also used extensively in fashion accessories such as bags and jewels as well as in home decor items.

7.   Paisley embroideryPaisley, Embroidery Hoop Art, Hand made, Original, yellow, pink, green,  blue, purple, orange, 8 1/4",… | Paisley embroidery, Crewel embroidery  kits, Felt embroidery

Paisley embroidery is also commonplace in Indian fashion.

This embroidery design is also known as the mango design featuring paisley flower motifs that are as charming as they are traditional.


Indian fashion has a rich heritage that tastefully blends color and embroidery on some of the best fabrics there are. If you’d like to get a taste of this, you might check out our offerings here on Fabricoz from sarees to lehengas, salwar kameez, and more, featuring simple to heavy embroidery designs, and made with great precision and detail to perfectly fit your body.

Our styles and designs will leave you in awe and we’ll deliver for free to your doorstep anywhere in the US, EU, and beyond!


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