Silk, satin or cotton threads of various bright colors are sewn onto a grey-blue or black base cloth. Involvement of only a few basic tools like needles and hooks with a lot of patience and skill makes embroidery a readily accepted craft by the women of the household. The women sew together threads, mirrors, beads and shells in patterns eloquent of their culture.

Raw Materials

Originally silk and occasionally satin fabric was used. As silk is expensive, fabrics such as casement, poplin, khadi are used. These fibers and fabrics are brought from Bombay, Ahmedabad, Surat and Porbander.

The embellishments such as shells, buttons, mirrors, beads, pearls, sequins etc are sourced from local markets.




Tools & Technology

Needles, Threads, Hooks, Scissors





Heer bharat : This is silk floss darning mostly combined with herringbone stitches and geometric patterns. The name, in this case, is given based on the thread and not the type of stitch. A shot coloured effect is created when the long stitches in each triangle of the pattern run parallel to weft and perpendicular to the warp. White is rarely used in this design. A bluish gray base is usually embellished with deep orange, dark blue and purple coloured floss. Crimson red is another dominant color seen in 'Heer Bharat'. 
Small mirrors are fixed in the centre of patterns using a buttonhole stitch, for emphasis. The 'Jat' tribes were instrumental in developing this embroidery. There are strong resemblances to the 'Phulkari' of Punjab, in the patterns and their geometry. The influence of 'Aari' chain stitch embroidery of the 'Mochis' can also be seen. The motifs in 'Heer bharat' are geometric in shape. Birds or animals are depicted, but only in stylized versions.

Abhla Bharat: This technique is popular for its use of mirrors in the embroidery, known as mirror inset embroidery. In present times, the mirrors are set on a dark background to bring out the gleam. Earlier, pieces of beaten tin were used for this, other than small pieces of mirror. Nowadays, circular mirror pieces are made especially for this purpose. Stem stitch or Herringbone stitch with silk floss is used for this purpose. The traditional colours used are blue, red, green and pink. Floral motifs with various shapes like the tendrils, creepers, foliages etc are used.

Sindhi Taropa : This embroidery is originally practiced in Sindh, Kathiawar and Kutch and is an interlacing stitch involving two steps. In the first step, the long threads are stitched into the base of the cloth forming the skeleton of the design. In the second step, the threads are interlaced throughout the basic structure, in the reverse direction. The designs mostly consist of small squares, lozenges, discs and sometimes motifs of flowers, birds and animals. 

Moti Bharat : This is embroidery done using 'Moti' or beads. A solid surface of coloured beads are created in the design, set against a backdrop of plain white beads. The motifs are varied. There are peacocks, a lady churning curd, elephant, camel, parrot, flowers etc. These products are stiff due to the beads and hence used as 'Torans' for doors and on bags or purses. It is also used as a perch for the lady to balance water pots on her head.

Appliqué : Appliqué work is the art of layering small pieces of fabric cut in various shapes onto a base fabric. Appliqué and reverse appliqué, both are also sometimes combined with chain stitch and herringbone stitch embroidery. Lord Ganesha is very often represented through this method on appliqué work, to be placed on top of doorways. From episodes in religious epics like Ramayana, to animals like elephants, peacocks, parrots, flowers, to even modern day to day objects like watches and music players, all feature in the colourful pieces of appliqué.