The applique and patchwork of Bihar is locally called Khatwa. Aplique is ornamental needle work in which pieces of fabric in different shapes and patterns are sewn or stuck onto a larger pieces to form a picture or pattern. It is commonly used as decoration, especially on garments. Applique is one of the major textile techniques which has found its way in almost every section of the fashion industry, from luxury designer products to regular craft expo goodies which sits in every Indian households, the wall hangings to the bed sheets. In the modern world of fashion where designs are created at one part of the world, manufactured in another and consumed in another, the knowledge and awareness of the design process needs to seep in all across the chain, for a sustainable future.


Techniques:Techniques vary with the community and region. The term embroidery is basically defined as the method of ornamenting a piece of clothing with needlework; or embellishment with fanciful details. Thus embroidery is regarded as the art of decorating textiles using a needle and thread. This includes the hand and machine embroidery methods. And till date, hand embroidery continues to be an expensive and time-consuming method. However, in spite of this it is preferred because of the intricacy of the handiwork involved.The basic techniques an embroiderer uses includes:-

  1. Cross stitch
  2. Crewel work
  3. Quilting

The technique is an accomplished either by hand or machine. Applique is commonly practiced with textile, but the term may be applied to similar technique used on different materials. Appliqué is a surface pattern that is used to decorate an aspect of a garment or product. It has been around since sewing was invented. In earlier years people used to stitch it by hand but nowadays people use sewing machine. The motif include human figures, trees flowers, animals, and birds. Circular cut-work is for the central motifs and quarter-circles are used for the corners.

The craft uses waste pieces of cloth as its raw material and is usually done with white cloth on bright backgrounds like red or orange. So fine was the work that, in the past, the articles produced were used by king’s emperors, and the nobility. Patchwork motifs of various sizes, shapes and colours are arranged in a manner that produces captivating patterns.

Making Process:When it comes to sewing, an Appliqué basically refers to a type of needlework technique in which, various pieces of embroidery, fabric, or other materials are sewn onto another piece of fabric to create different designs, abstract patterns or pictures. Appliqué is used extensively in quilting.Before beginning, you need to create a template for each shape that you want to assign to the appliqué.

As embroidery is not so technical craft to follow procedure but then also small process like:

  • The motif is made on the tracing screen for symmetrical marking and uniformity, like the Khaka.
  • The motifs are marked on the fabric with a marking mixer (liquid) for embroidery work.
  • Now set the marked fabric very tight from all directions. (Saree, Dress materials, etc.)On Wooden frame (it can be done without frame also).
  • It will work easier to do embroidery with the help of frame to reduce tension and get pucker less product.
  • The desired motif is neatly embroidered with different stitches (Pakko, Kachho, Soof, Rabari, khareketc)to achieve desired motif.
  • As continue to stitch around piece, use needle to turn under the edges of appliqué one small portion at a time. Once finish stitching an area, turn under another section.
  • Continue working as such, making your stitches as close to the folded edge as possible (and no more than ¼” apart).
  • The result can be many colours and is easy to make.

Set the fabric (Saree, Dress, material, etc.) on Wooden frame (it can be done without frame also) according to the design with desired allowance for the product. The motif is made the tracing screen for symmetrical making and uniformity, like the Khaka. The motif is marked with a marking mixer in a liquid form (Kerosene and gali powder) whether for embroidery the desired motif is neatly embroidery with different stitches to achieve desired motif.

Embroidery designs are prepared by fixing small round shaped mirrors to the material with the help of the buttonhole stitch, the outline being sketched by hand. Silken thread is used for the stitching done in stem or herringbone, closely worked. Flowers and creepers are patterned against a dark background.

May find it helpful to use a stiletto or toothpick to turn under the edges, especially at corners where the fabric is more bulky. Continue until you have finished hand sewing your appliqué piece to the background fabric.

Upendra Maharathi Shilp Anusandhan Sansthan
Patliputra Industrial Area
Patna – 800 013. Bihar. India.

Opening Hours:

Mon – Sat: 10:00 am – 05:00 pm

Meeting Hours:

Artisans/Weavers can meet Director on every Saturday between 3:00PM to 5:00 PM.

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