Indian Fashion Glossary

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  Ambi A mango-shaped motif - the paisley pattern (lit. 'rich')

Amli Needle work embroidery native to Kashmir

Angarkha A long-sleeved, full-skirted tunic for men, generally open at the chest and tied in front with an inner flap

Ari Awl-like hooked needle, often used for chain stitch embroidery

Badam A textile term for oval-shaped motifs

Badla Flattened gold or silver wire

Badla Mukaish Knots of badla sewn onto cloth

Baluchar A type of brocaded silk sari

Bandgala Achkan and shervani (lit. 'closed neck')

Bandhini The mode of tie-dyeing fabrics to form patterns (also known as bandhej)

Bandi A short jacket or waistcoat

Batik A paste or wax resist dyeing technique

Bel A stylized creeper pattern

Buti A smaller version of a buta the term is used also to denote stylized animal motifs printed in block repeats

Calico A term used by early European traders

Cheent Spotted

Chikankari White embroidery, predominantly floral patterns, executed on fine white cotton with untwisted threads of white cotton or silk

Chiru Himalayan antelope

Choli A woman's blouse or bodice usually tight-fitting

Chunari A tie-dyed dotted pattern, a veil

Chunnat Pleated or crimped gota ribbon

Churidar paijama Style of tight-fitting paijama, rouched from the knee to the ankles (lit. the paijama with bangles)

Dhoti An unstitched garment used to drape the lower body, very much in use today

Dori A cord

Dupatta An unstitched length of material for the upper body traditionally worn by both sexes, but now mainly worn by women as part of a salwar kameez (paijama and tunic) ensemble

Farshi A wide legged trailing paijama

Ganga Jamuna The juxtaposition of silver and gold in a woven pattern, named after the confluence of dark and light waters of the two sacred rivers

Ghaghra A gathered skirt usually very flared

Ghera Circumference, fullness of a garment

Gheru Saffron, ochre

Ghundi A button made of silk or cotton, sometimes covered with gold or silver wire, held together with a loop

Gota A metallic ribbon in which badla forms the weft and silk or cotton the wrap

Gota Moti A beaded cord covered with gota, often used for finishing ghaghra and jama hems

Gota Patti Small leaf shapes made of gota

Gote The bottom part of a farshi paijama which is made up of three sections, often richly embellished

Holi A lively and colourful festival celebrated on the last day of the month of Phalgun to welcome the onset of spring

Ikkat The name of the pattern created by the tie-dyeing the weft and wrap threads before weaving which is a specially of Gujarat Orissa and Andhra Pradesh

Izarband The decorative drawstring at the waist of a lower garment, usually a ghaghra or a paijama with ornamented tasselled ends

Jaal An all over pattern in a printed or embroidered fabric

Jala A small wooden frame used by master craftsmen, on which threads are tied to form a grid of the wrap and weft outling the design of the weave

Jamakhana The storehouse for garments in the Mughal and other royal courts

Jamavar The trade name for the woven or embroidered Kashmir shawls

Jamdaani A weaving technique traditional to the town of Tanda, Jais and Dacca used to produce figured muslins

Jhoomar A jewelled hair ornament worn on the side of the head

Jhumka A bell-shaped piece of jewellery

Jutis Slip on shoes, usually elaborated embroidery and with unturned toes

Kalamkari Painted cloth (as a trade term it referred to both painted and printed cloths)

Kali A gored panel

Kalioyndar Paijama A wide bottomed paijama made up of several panels

Kameez A tunic

Kanchala - Kundal A type of earing

Kanchli A sleeveless bodice worn in Western India

Kanni A complex weaving technique originating in Kashmir (known in the West as the double twill-tapestry technique)

Khadi Fabric made of handspun yarns, symbol of India's fight for Independent

Kurta A loose, stitched garment worn by men and women, most commonly described as a tunic (also known as a kameez)

Kurti A short kurta usually worn by women a type of grass fiber)

Lahariya A pattern in which diagonal wavy stripes are formed by the fold-resist dyeing technique of the same name

Lehnga A skirt

Libaas An ensemble or dress

Mashru A medium weight wrap faced satin or twill fabric with silk wrap and cotton weft

Minakari Coloured enamel jewellery, borders or butis woven with different coloured silk to give the appearance of enamel

Mothra A criss-cross pattern obtained through fold-resist dyeing in woven fabrics the term

Moti A bead or pearl

Mulmul Cotton, usually in reference to Indian muslin, particularly the muslin woven in Bengal

Odhini A veil, usually 3m x 1m, worn by women with a ghaghra, kurti and kanchli, it covers the head and the right shoulder, is drawn across the body and either tucked into the waistband or left hanging in front

Pagri The common term for a turban

Paijama Drawstring trousers worn by men and women with many different styles

Paithani Cotton and silk sari produced in Paithan

Pallav The decorative border at one or both ends of a length of fabric usually of a sari, odhani or patka

Pashmina The wool made from the fleece of the underbelly of the rare Tibetan wild mountain goat

Patti A border or edging

Peshwaz A long high-waisted gown

Phulkari Folk embroidery typical of the Punjab

Poncha The ankle opening of a paijama, usually the salwar, which is often quilted or ornamented with decorative stitching

Purdah The practice of sequestering women, the flap of fabric in the angarkha that covers the chest, the pieces of fabric used to make up the cups of a choli

Sari An unstitched length of fabric up to 9 yds in length and 18 to 60 in width with a decorated end panel draped in a wide variety of styles

Shatoosh The fleece of the tibetan chiru antelope that is spun and woven into fine shawls

Shal A shawl

Salwar Paijama A baggy style of paijama tapered at the ankle worn mainly in the Punjab, Afghanistan and African garment

Shervani A formal knee-length coat fitted to the waist

Sinjaf The facing inside the hem of a garment

Sitara Tiny metal discs, often of gold or silver with a tiny hole at the centre

Tanchoi Figured silk with multiple supplementary weft threads, that create a heavy densly patterned fabric

Teej A festival celebrating conjugal love, held in Northern and western India in The month of Shravan

A forehead ornament also used to refer to a bindi

Metal discs used in zardozi embroidery

A cap

A type of wild silk made in Eastern and Central India from hand spun yarns

Tikki / Tikki Embroidery Metal discs used in zardozi embroidery


Zardozi Gold thread embroidery using metallic elements and threads, sometimes mirrors, precious or semi precious stones

Zari metal wrapped yarn used for zardozi embroidery

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