Zardosi embroidery work – 10 stitches you can use to make stunning designs

how to do zardosi work

Zardozi embroidery (zardosi work) is an ornate metallic embroidery done using the metallic bullion thread / french wire/ metallic spring thread,  a shiny circular spiral metal thread in metallic colours of gold and silver . 

how to do zardosi stitches

Other than the spring thread, precious stones, pearls, beads and sequins are also used to embellish the work.

The completed zardosi work looks rather splendorous when you look at in real – which cannot be translated by the eyes of a camera

The word zardosi derives from Persian words Zar meaning gold and Dosi meaning embroidery.In India this beautiful work was once the prerogative of only the royals. Not anymore. If it was I would not have a box full of these springs in different shades of gold, silver along with different zari thread in many shades – I am nowhere anywhere royal.

Of course, at that time, the thread was made from real gold and silver and now  the zardosi spring thread is copper wire which is strung into coils and given gold or silver polish.The zardosi work is traditionally done on stretched fabric with thin Ari needles ( a very fine crochet needle look alike with wooden handles)

Under the  Mughal rule in Indian subcontinent, this embroidery technique became an art. Many artisans lived by it but at some point of time the royal patronage was withdrawn and the embroidery saw a decline. In modern day India, the work gained favour again  – instead  of the royals, the brides and even the bride grooms have taken zardosi work in a big way for their trousseau and designers use this work to embellish their signature outfits. 

 

What do you need to do zardosi work

zardosi work

Cotton thread in matching colours 

Zari thread ( Gold or silver metallic hand embroidery thread – this is used to make an outline stitch – fine chain stitches are worked along the outline.)

Bullion embroidery thread (The spiral bullion thread come in different widths/ sizes as well as in different shades of the golden colour and silver) You have to cut the thread into small  pieces appropriate for your design.

Beads, sequins or other embellishments  like kundan crystals if you want

Thread snips for cutting the zardosi thread ( never ever use your sewing scissors to cut the thread – they will dull and you will need to read this post on how to sharpen scissors sooner than later)

The fabric of your choice . (You can choose to work this embroidery on  linen for everyday clothes but the richness of zardosi work deserves a fabric which befits it. Nothing less than silk, satin or velvet.   Zardosi is used mainly on vivid coloured clothes  as the colour of the zardosi thread will stand out against them ; like red, rust, emerald green, navy blue etc)

Hoop  – To do this work the fabric has to be stretched on a hoop. A nice stretch is necessary to do the work correctly with even tension. Traditionally the  zardosi is done on a slate frame called Addaa . Check out more details in the post on the different types of frames used to stretch the fabric. For small work like the ones I will be doing the ordinary embroidery hoop will suffice

Needle – you can use thin beading needles for the work. Ensure they will pass through the fine coils.You also need the needle to work with zari thread

Traditionally the artisans use a special type of zardosi needle – aari needle  to do this embroidery. This needle works by pulling the thread from under the fabric and working the zardosi thread into the design. You can use the crochet needle of 5mm for this work. But simple needle and cotton thread can be used to stitch the bullion thread as I have done in this post.

Main stitches used in zardosi work

1 Straight stitch

This is the most basic stitch of zardosi.  You work this the same way that  back stitch is done. This stitch is also worked inside big designs under filling stitches to form a padding.

 

2. Stem stitch

This is used for giving outline and for stems of flower designs.

3.Twisted stem stitch

4. Padded slanting stitches

zardosi stitch

To work this stitch first a straight stitch or two is made as a base and then slanting stitches are done over and above the straight stitch

 zardosi work tutorial

5 .Chain stitches

how to do zardosi work

6. Loops

zardosi stitch diy

A loop is formed when you bring up the needle and thread the zardosi piece and then go back some two – three thread near from where you first came up.

zardosi stitches

zardosi work

7.Lazy daisy

zardosi stitch

Lazy daisy stitches worked to form a flower. This is a common zardosi motif with the metallic bullion thread. Check out the tutorial to make lazy daisy stitch

8. Surrounding a bead

zardosi stitch

A bead is usually surrounded by a suitable length of zardosi thread

9. Fish bone stitch

10. Filling stitches

How to make a flower with zardozi work

zardosi stitch

Zardosi is usually worked by making an outline with the zari thread and then filling the design with the bullion thread.

zardosi work

Outline is done with golden zari thread

Make horizontal stitches on the petals with the bullion thread. This is done for a padding.

zardosi work

Now fill the design with accurately cut zardosi thread

How to stitch a leaf in zardosi work

 

Work the outline with zari thread

zardosi work stitches

Make vertical stitches with the zardosi thread along the center.

Starting from the middle of the leaf to the tip, fill  the leaf on one side

zardosi design stitches

Continue filling the next side

zardosi work

Embroidery stitches like chain stitch, satin stitch,  couching stitch and stem stitch are used along with the bullion spring thread stitches. By combining these stitches with the zardosi stitches explained above you can make breathtaking designs in zardosi

Related post

sewing with metallic thread

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