Phulkari embroidery technique from the Punjab region (divided between India and Pakistan) literally means flower work, which was at one time used as the word for embroidery, but in time the word “Phulkari” became restricted to embroidered shawls and head scarfs. Simple and sparsely embroidered odini (head scarfs), dupatta and shawls, made for everyday use, are called Phulkaris, whereas garments that cover the entire body, made for special and ceremonial occasions like weddings and birth of a son, fully covered fabric is called Baghs (“garden”) and scattered work on the fabric is called “adha bagh” (half garden). This whole work is done with white or yellow silk floss on cotton khaddarh and starts from the centre on the fabric called “chashm-e-bulbul” and spreads to the whole fabric.
Phulkari which literally means Flower work is a most beautiful embroidery work from Punjab. Phulkari embroidery involves designs in floral motifs done in very bright colours. It is regarded as very auspicious for brides and newborns.
Darning stitch is the most important stitch used in this embroidery. Some other stitches like herringbone stitch, running stitch button hole stitch are used for other decorations.
Designs are usually embroidered from the back of the cloth, but you can also embroider from the front. Motifs used are mainly influenced by family gardens and are named Karela bagh, gobhi bagh, dhaniya bagh and mirchi bhagh. Motifs influenced by wheat and barley stalks abundant in Punjab are also commonly used. Seven coloured motifs are called Satrangas and Five coloured motifs are called Panchrangas.
Other popular motifs used are Jasmin flower( Motia) Lotus plant (Kamal) Chilli (Mirchi) Peacock (Mor) Wheat ( Kanki) Wave ( Lehriya bagh) Sunflower (Surajmughi) Parrot ( Totha maina )
Colour plays an important element in Phulkari embroidery. Bright coloured thread used in the embroidery symbolised different expressions. Red is a commonly used color and represents youth and passion. Green represents fertility and blue serenity. Orange symbolises energy and White purity. White was also used for widows and older women.
Bagh and chope are the two main types of phulkari embroidery. Bagh means flower garden. Chope refers to border designs. Chope is usually done in yellow or golden thread. Vari da bagh is golden yellow phulkari embroidery with small floral design done on red coloured cloth. Bawan bagh has geometrical designs and Ghunghat bagh has border with triangular motifs. Sheeshedar phulkari ( mirror) uses mirrors embellished phulkari designs.
You can use this embroidery on Sarees, dupattas, Salwar pants and kameezes, and on home decor items.
Step 1. Draw the design on the fabric. Earlier people used to count threads in Khaddar cloth and do the embroidery, without drawing. But you need not go to that much trouble. Go ahead and draw the design. Use a scale to draw geometrical designs.
Step 2. This embroidery is done with darning stitch which is repeated mimicking satin stitch.Darning stitch is used to fill the motifs. Bring the needle to the front from the back as shown in the picture. Go up the layers and then come down filling the designs or vise versa. Repeat with other side.
Step 5. After one side is completed repeat for the other side. Your fabric backside should be very neat as well.
Step 6. You can do outline stitches with running stitches all around the motif after the filling stitches are done, like the Kantha work. Buttonhole stitches also can be done as an outline.
Some designs for phulkari embroidery
It is done by simple needle with multi-colored raw Resham thread which is not more twisted but some thick and fluffy, first make an impression of a design on fabric and pulled tightly over a small round wooden frame then start bottom side pull the needle into the fabric with Resham and then take some distance do needle down into the fabric.
Loot at the picture below:
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