Indian Fabric prints : 19 fascinating fabric patterns found on Indian fabrics

A list of various traditional and contemporary fabric prints and patterns that are commonly found on Indian fabrics, including the significance and historical context of these patterns.

indian fabric prints

There is this story in Indian mythology of a beautiful girl living deep in the forest, wearing clothes made of the plainest fabric, day in and day out. Once, she gets a surprise gift from her foster father just before her wedding – he wishes for beautiful clothes and jewelry for her, and they all appear magically on top of a nearby shrub.

Reading this story in my childhood – it fascinated me. I imagined different types of clothes on that plant. Imagined me as the princess. Imagined the tree resplendent with the different jewels and clothes I myself wanted. They all were in beautiful Indian prints and patterns.

The world has adopted a lot of them as their own, as they should. Art is not confined to any boundary. It is universal. All the Indian prints are universally appealing and you may have seen them in your clothes or others’ clothes or on upholstery or somewhere, at least once wherever you live.

I am no expert in these prints, and I hope that I correctly recognize the prints and patterns. The true experts are the artisans (the weavers, the printers, dyers, block carvers) who live in the villages of India and bring these prints to life with their tireless endeavors and artistic abilities, and creative instincts against a lot of odds.

Indian prints & Patterns

Ajrakh prints

ajrakh prints

This print uses motifs in intense colors like Black, yellow, crimson red, green and indigo blue (Blue and red are the most prominent and distinguishing colors of this print) and will also have motifs worked in white (unprinted) and black, usually as an outline – the white and black defining the design. It is worked as a block printing technique.

indian textile patterns

Usually multiple colors are seen in the same fabric, with many different types of motifs, including border prints. As many as 20-30 different steps maybe involved in creating an Ajrakh printed fabric – A very labor intensive printing process indeed. 

You can read more about this printing technique here.

Bagh Prints

indian fabric printing -bagh prints

Another hand block print made in natural colors of Red and black practiced in Bagh town in the Indian State of Madhya Pradesh. It is usually made on a white background. Red color is made from alum and black color is made from rusted iron (iron oxide). The dye is mixed with a vegetable gum to form a paste used in this printing.

Read more on Bagh print :

Bandhni prints

bandhni prints - india tie dye

This is a print produced by a type of tie and dye technique creating small dots all over the fabric. The fabric is tied tightly in several places with grains inside – it is dipped in the dye solution, lighter colors first and dark colors later. Bright colors like yellow, purple, red, magenta, green are used. Small dots, Circles, diamonds and many other shapes are obtained this way.

Buti prints 

buti prints in indian textiles

These are small motifs on the fabric – usually woven.

woven buti prints


dabu prints

Dabu is a resist technique used to create light coloured designs on a dark background. Mud is used as the resist medium (Kali mitti -black clay).

resist printing in indian prints

When the fabric is dyed, the places where the clay is applied and dried remains uncolored. Read more on resist printing here.


batik printing on indian fabrics

Batik is a wax resist dyeing technique. Beautifully intricate as well as shaded designs can be printed on the fabric using this technique.

batik printing in fabrics

Learn more about Batik here :

Ikkat prints 

ikat prints

Ikkat prints are made using the tie and dye technique – on the yarn. The yarn is dyed in this way before the fabric is made. In ikkat prints you will find different motifs like flowers, animals like fish, parrots, leaves.

ikat prints

Kalamkari prints

indian fabric patterns -kalamkari prints

The term kalamkari derives from the Indian word ‘kalam’ which means pen. The designs of these prints look as if it is drawn with the help of a pen.

indian traditional prints and patterns

This printing originated in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh and is traditionally block printed on fabric using organic and vegetable dyes.

indian textile prints picture

Khari prints

indian fabric printing patterns -khari

This is a printing using metallic colors or white color. It is usually done over hand block printed fabrics as a special highlight. It is also used as a standalone print.

Leheriya prints

leheriya prints

These are flowy long striped prints created with the tie and dye technique. 

Paisley prints

paisley prints

There is a whole history behind the very famous paisley prints / Mango prints. You can learn more about paisley pattern here.

Patola prints 

patola prints

This refers to sari fabric prints with geometrical patterns; these are arranged in the shape of animals/birds etc. Swans, elephants are regular motifs in Patola fabric.

Pochampalli ikat prints

pochampilly prints

This is another print with geometrical prints, and these are formed by its special weaving process -ikat. These wave-like shapes are seen all over or toward the border.


Sanganer prints

indian fabric printing-sanganer

Sanganer Prints have beautiful delicate floral designs done on a white (pure white or off-white) background. The floral and leaf motifs of roses, lilies, marigold, sunflowers, and lotus are complemented by geometric motifs. The outlines of the motifs are printed first and then the color is filled in.

Reference :

Seyali Bagru prints

seyali bagru prints

Seyali Bagru printing is a traditional printing process followed in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It makes dark-colored patterns (red, black, and sometimes blue) on a dyed or cream /yellow ocher background, all made with natural dyes on cotton fabric. Natural motifs are interspersed with geometrical motifs in this fascinating Indian printing. Vegetable dyes are used throughout the process.

Learn more about this here :

Temple prints

temple prints

These are pyramid like motifs, an abstract representation of temples of India – usually used as a border print on Saris.

Warli prints

warli prints

Warli painting is a tribal art practiced in the state of Maharashtra. These are stylized drawings depicting the daily life of the tribal people.This art can be seen as patterns on fabric – usually printed.

Pichwai pattern

This is a pattern based on the Pichwai paintings of Rajasthan, narrating tales of Lord Krishna. The pattern on this fabric is based on these intricate pichwai paintings done using dark colors/earthern colors.

indian fabric prints and patterns

They were and is still used as wall decor – as wall hangings with a spiritual intent. The godliness and playfulness of Lord Krishna is beautifully represented in this hand painted work. 

Mural Prints

indian fabric prints - mural painting

These are hand painted designs worked on cream colored Handloom sarees (Traditional Kerala Kasavu Saree). Usually these paintings depict Radha Madhavam painting – Lord Krishna along with Radha.

Related post: Names of 80+ different fabric patterns ; different types of Fabric pattern repeats.

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

7 thoughts on “Indian Fabric prints : 19 fascinating fabric patterns found on Indian fabrics”

    • Hi Irene,
      Hole in a square? I do not know the official name. 🙂 In quilting I have seen this refered to as “Square peg in a round hole”

  1. There are so many other prints such as pitchwai, madhubani or mithila prints, gond prints, pattachitra, shibori, tie and dye, kerala mural and so on..

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