Paisley embroidery (10 easy designs)

Different ways to do embroidery with PAISLEY motifs and Patterns

paisley embroidery

Paisley, aka Mango design, is a pattern that brings contrasting emotions in different people. Some people adore the paisley flower motifs and try to incorporate them in some form or other in their designs. Some dislike the paisley pattern and avoid it.

At one point, I belonged to the second category and thought that the paisley looked too traditional and old-fashioned. But not so much now. I have jumped camp to the category of those who adore it. And what is not to relish about this charming motif?

What is a Paisley design?

The paisley print has the beautiful shape of a teardrop. It is quintessentially an Asian print of Middle-eastern origin. This Buta or the motif is said to be auspicious; it is said to represent fertility as well as immortality. This is an often-seen design in the trousseau of an Indian Bride. Cashmere shawls, Kancheevaram sarees, carpets, beautiful tunics, bandanas, paisley-shaped jewelry, silk ties – you can see this print everywhere.

Read the post on the Paisley pattern for more about this.

paisley prints and patterns

A long time back, I used to think Paisley was some sort of vegetable. Nothing but a gross lack of general knowledge. Now I know that the name Paisley has nothing to do with its vegetable shape or its design. Paisley is a Scottish town where this design became famous.

Mango design is an oft-called name for this design in India. Some say it resembles the seed of the mango. I can see its resemblance to a small unripened mango. Some see similarities between this motif and a cotton bud. Yes, to all this when you think about it. But I think it also resembles a twisted bitter gourd or a curled-up cucumber when I start drawing it.

The classic motif of paisley print is very versatile. You can interpret it in many ways. You can adapt the curly curvy twists of the paisley print in many ways – make it ornate or simple and modern, make it in a single color or very colorful and festive, make it short and fat or as elongated as you want it, twists its branches or in simple straight lines.

Whatever you do with the paisley design or the Mango design it is amenable to it. You are the designer..

How to draw Paisley / Mango design

Actually, it is very easy to draw a basic paisley shape. You just need to draw two circles, the small one on top of the big one with a small distance between them.

how to draw a paisley design - mark two circles first and then connect them with curved lines

Once you have made the design the way you want to incorporate all the intricacies or lack of it,  you can trace it onto the fabric and embellish it – I have outlined ten ways to decorate the paisley motif. There are countless other ways, of course.

10 ways to do Paisley motif embroidery

  • Paisley with running stitches filling the design 

mango designs with running stitches

This is a very simple way to work the Mango design. Running stitches are used in this style in Sashiko Japanese embroidery and Kantha (Indian) work

  • Use the Mango print with mirrors

mango / paisley design -with blanket stitches

You can incorporate mirrors or fix rhinestones inside the Mango buta. This is used to decorate bags and on the necklines of bridal blouses

  •  Paisley pattern done with drawn thread embroidery

pasiley motif

Mango work can be done with cutwork inside or drawn thread work. This work can be done on shawls and sari borders, and bedspreads. The Mango shape can be filled the way the drawn thread work is done in chikankari work. I have done it the way BorderieAnglaise is done – Cut the space and then fill the outline with small overcast stitches. The thread bars across are also overcast.

  • Paisley pattern worked in Herringbone stitch

paisley pattern

paisley design

Herringbone stitch is used to fill the outlines of the motif here. The chikankari work which uses herringbone on the back side on sheer fabric would also look very well.

  • Mango / paisley design with back stitches

pasiley flower


Back stitch makes a very thin and neat outline for the paisley. You will have to fill the design with other decorations like flowers worked in satin stitches or beads or sequins

  • Paisley print done in couching stitch

paisley shape - couching

Couching work done on the outlines of the mango design will give texture to your design. I enjoy the 3-D effect couching gives to embroidery.

  • Mango designs in beads / sequins work

paisley motif-beads

You can work the Paisley design entirely in bead stitches with embroidery and sequins work. Using the same colored thread as the sequins will bring a more cohesive look as opposed to the standout look when used with contrasting thread. 

  • Paisley design done in Chain stitch

paisley pattern -chain stitch

how to draw a paisley motif

You will have to use the full 6 strands of the embroidery thread to do this work so that the motif is fully filled with the chain stitches.

Check out the post on chain stitch embroidery for other motifs that can be worked with chain stitches.


  • Paisley design done with lazy daisy decorations

paisley pattern

drawing a paisley motif

Lazy daisy stitch can be used on the periphery of the motif for a very ornate effect. In fact, this can be done with the small motifs of chikankari called phanda as well. In fact, phanda makes a filled petal shape which is very attractive all around the mango shape.

  • Paisley work done like Mehandi design

paisley design

paisley motif drawing

Mehandi patterns almost always incorporate Paisley motifs. If you check out some sources of Mehandi designs you will get a lot of inspiration for your embroidery work. The paisley flower designs can be worked with outline stitches like the outline stitch, stem stitch, etc.

11. Drawn thread work 

You can fill the paisley design with pulled thread work or drawn thread work as done in chikankari embroidery for a different look. Checkout the tutorial for drawn thread work for more details. 

drawn thread embroidery

Another great way to work the paisley is using the zardosi embroidery work with metallic bullion thread.

zardosi embroidery

You can also work the paisley designs with applique work. You should hand work satin stitches or machine stitch all around the design. 

paisley design in applique


Related posts : 27 popular Indian textile motifs; Easy Peacock embroidery designs

embroidery for kids clothes embroider roses

border designs how to make a cross stitch pattern  tibbon embroidery flowers

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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.
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