One of the great things about being in India is having easy (and cheap, relatively speaking) access to some fantastic fabrics. I’m starting to easily differentiate between knit and woven various fabrics and here I’m summing up some new (to me) and interesting textiles I’ve come across.

Names which basically describe a technique rather than the fabric


photo 4 (1)

Chikankari or Chikan Kari or Lucknowi work is a type of embroidery typically white and typically on cotton and chiffon

Hakkoba or hakoba work is basically eyelet fabric. At times Chikankari and hakkoba look quite similar


Chanderi work, which I’ve heard of but can’t identify. It’s characterized by round motifs / butti and the sheer fabric

Bandhani (on cotton, chiffon, silk – pretty much everything – but cotton is most common) is basically tie – dye and the process is similar to Japanese Shibori or Indonesian Plangi. Leheriya is a form of Bandhani where in the pattern is diagonal or zigzag lines. Batik is also similar and commonly found

6864792104_2171b500d9_z Untitled 2

Zardosi or Zardozi embroidery is beautiful and is one of my favourite. It’s a shame that most of the fabrics and designs available are so OOT

zardozi peacock

Block printing


Fabric and Blends

Voile (Cotton voile) also called “vail”, “gauze” is basically soft cotton

Terry Cotton – can’t make out it’s distingushing feature

Lizzy Bizzy Cotton is 50% cotton 50% Polyster which makes it soft. Very popular and cheap

2×2 or Rubia Cotton or 2 by 2 Rubia is basically softer 100% cotton (not softer than voile though)

Pleated Cotton (printed or plain)




And of course, there are various silks (cotton silk, khadi silk, pure silk, crepe silk, polyester silk, silk satin, silk duponi), chiffon and georgette (I can’t tell the difference), crepe, denim, chambray, twill, net, tissue and lace. Wool, other warm fabric and leather are harder to find.

And lest I forget there is the “export fabric” which can be any of the above but will be slightly better quality (or not) and so will be more costly.

Phew! I think I’ve listed down all the fabric names I’ve heard and I guess for now this is a start.


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