Kolkata was rightly named the "City of Joy". This city is full of joy, filled with music, art, fashion, food and aristocracy. And therefore the world of fashion is flourishing in this city every day. Kolkata is the hub of hand embroideries. This city has given birth to a number of designers and boutiques over the years. The craze for embroidered dresses have gradually increased over the decades and customers across the country and even other parts of the world rely on Kolkata for creativity, fresh styles of embroidery, and new designs which add charm, beauty & value to the garments. Kolkata being the sourcing hub for boutiques and stores PAN India and even abroad, has introduced new designs and designers to the world of fashion. In this Blog let’s talk about Hand Embroideries, especially those happening in and around Kolkata.

Kantha Stitch is known to be a very old tradition of stitching which usually evolved from the thrift of women from the Bolpur or Shantiniketan near Kolkata. This stitch emerged from Kolkata and Orissa and now is popular throughout the country, and are contiguous too.

Zardosi which paved their way in our country from Persia is an ancient art of sewing gold and silver threads on the fabric. Zardosi is a special type of metal thread that is shaped like a spiral tube. During the Mughal era, Zardosi was used to embellish royal garments. Original zari work was done by using pearls and precious stones with actual gold and silver threads. However, presently cotton yarn wrapped with metallic yarn is used to create such an embroidery. The 3 Dimensional looks of the raised metal threads and the sheen and luster of the spiral Zardosi thread make this work stunning. It is increasingly used in Indian garments especially wedding wear. Zardosi products are well known in Chak Madhu, a place in Howrah district.

Sequins are another type of embellishment used to decorate fashion fabrics. They are essentially glittering disc-like beads that are quite flat and come in a wide range of colors and shapes.

Tambour work, popularly known as Aari embroidery, is a type of chain stitch embroidery technique that uses an Ari hook. The Ari hook makes the chains stitch by catching the thread from the back of the fabric creating the loop of the chain stitch. This hook results in fast chain stitching. The hook is also called a tambour hook or a Luneville hook.


Badla work is a well-known form of metal ornamentation made with short, flattened metal strips that are wrapped and knotted around the threads of a fabric or net.

Cutwork embroidery is often used type of embroidery technique in which fabric is cut between embroidery stitches. The design lines are drawn as a double line and then they are overcast with different stitches like overcast buttonhole etc. Then the in-between spaces are cut out. Renaissance cutwork, Reticella cutwork are different forms of this work with varying degrees of open cutworks in between.

Silk ribbon embroidery is done with silk/ synthetic ribbon threaded on a needle instead of embroidery floss. The three dimensional effect of this embroidery is phenomenal. You can further enhance this embroidery work with beads and embroidery stitches.

Shadow work embroidery involves mostly herringbone stitch used on the back of a transparent or semi-transparent fabrics so that the shadow of the work is visible on the face of the fabric in a subtle but beautiful manner. 

Cross stitch embroidery is a very popular counted thread embroidery technique in which x shaped stitches are made to fill the design.

There are so many varieties of Hand Embroideries to mention here in details. Embroidery hoops, embroidery scissors, embroidery needles, fabric gum are some of few accessories that help the artisan or karigars to decor the garments with using threads, sequins sitara, beads of innumerable varieties, moti or pearls, tara, dabka, ball chain, zari, chamki, crystals, mirror, kundan, felt and leather, glass stones and other variety of stones, golden & silver wires, and so many more choice of materials.

There are other kinds of embroideries apart from hand embroidery like computer embroidery and machine embroidery. These are helpful & cost effective when the workload is heavy and the manpower is less. However hand embroidery is valued more, but it takes a lot of time for the completion. This process has both pros and cons but at the end the brand decides what's best for them.

Hand embroidery also provides opportunity to many unemployed women and can be a good way of income and living for them. We at Mada Sasa provide opportunities to such women, stand by them and help them get their own identity. Our Boutique like many others, with our team of designers & karigars, keep on developing and creating new patterns, with new embroideries, using mix and match of various materials. Most Designer Boutiques have their own styles as far as the designing & use of embroideries go. For instance, Mada Sasa pieces usually have subtle embroidery in most of their styles. Our kurtis and Indian ethnics are sober, whereas a touch of ethnicity to western or cocktail dresses make them wearable at different outings or occasions. These range from traditional embroideries for kurtis, lehengas, trousseau, & as well as western embroideries for indo western outfits like tunics, drapes and even cocktail party dresses. We can easily say that Kolkata is the hub not just for embroideries, but for fashion as well. Fashion evolves in Kolkata.