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Confetti East’s A-Z of fashion terms

10th October 2006 |By

Don’t know your achakan from your kalidhar? Here’s our quick guide to technical fashion terms from South Asia…

Abla mirrored glass
Achakan men’s long‐sleeved coat‐like garment, worn close‐fitted, reaching down to the knees or lower and buttoned in the front‐middle
A‐line triangular shaped skirt that is wider at the hem than at the waistband
Angararkh a kurta with two flaps, one over‐lapping the other, the left half tied under the right
Angavastram gold embroidered cloth worn folded and draped over the left shoulder
Angia halter style choli or bodice
Badla flat gold or silver wire
Baluchari silk brocade sari from West Bengal
Bandgala literally means closed neck, it is a jacket or achakan closed and buttoned at the throat, also known as the Nehru jacket
Bandhini process of tie‐dyeing in which small spots are tied tightly with thread to protect them from the dye; popular in Rajasthan and Gujurat
Batik traditional method of producing patterns onto fabric using wax and gum
Bel floral design
Bias cut cut diagonally across the grain of the fabric used to create garments that follow the body curves closely
Block‐printed wood‐cut blocks of traditional designs are applied to cotton, organza & silk
Brocade a jacquard weave fabric with interwoven all‐over designs, usually of flowers and foliage, creating an intricate figuring effect by using satin weaves on a plain weave background, used extensively for silk saris
Buta larger motif of flowers and plants
Buti a diminutive of buta, very commonly used in Indian textile design.
Chanderi span of silk bordered with cotton which is bordered by gold, from Madhya Pradesh
Chikankari form of embroidery popular during the Mughal period, mainly white work consisting of floral embroidery on a net ground, has recently become hugely popular
Choli a short bodice‐like garment which can be worn in many styles: with back or backless, fastened with strings or extended cloth‐pieces, with shaped breast pieces or flat, etc
Chunnat crinkled gota ribbon
Chunri a lightweight scarf generally around 2‐3 metres long, with embroidery, cut‐work, border to it, also known as duppatta or chunni
Churidar a bias cut close‐fitted trouser with bangle like gathers or wrinkles around the ankle, worn underneath a tunic, can be worn by men or women
Crushed fabric that is twisted or crumpled
Dabka embroidery with coiled metal springs
Daman hem of the garment
Dhoti traditional Indian dress for the lower part of the body, consisting of a piece of unstitched cloth draped over the hips and legs to form loose trousers; worn in various ways in different parts of the country, generally by Hindu men, sometimes by women
Djellabas a flowing garment worn by men
Dupatta a woman’s veil, traditionally it was made of two breadths of fabric sewn together, nowadays it is usually draped over the shoulders rather than the head also known as chunri, chunni or chunar
Fishtail usually lehenga or skirt, fitted around the hips and flaring out from the knee to the hemline
Ghaghra full or ankle length flowing skirt, usually with a great deal of flare, a simple ghaghra has only one vertical seam forming a tube and fastened with a drawstring; flared ghaghras are made up of several triangular panels stitched together, flared and gathered full length skirt
Gharchola a red sari with grid‐like patterns of gold and silver brocade work in which are set tie and dye dots in various motifs, originally from Gujurat
Ghera circumference or volume of skirt
Gota narrow ribbon made of gold or silver thread, either flat or folded into leaves and flowers
Hakoba fabric with eyelet work done all over
Ikat a particular form of woven fabric on which patterns are tie and dyed before weaving, mainly from Orissa
Jaal overall design (print or embroidery) on the fabric
Jaali an openwork in chikankari, a very intricate form of embroidery
Jamdani loom embroidery woven on fine textured cotton muslin; floral, animal, bird motifs in silk
Jamevar woven, woolen knit shawl with a specific all‐over pattern
Jodhpuri long tunics with small buttons down the front, as worn by the Rajput royals
Jutis traditional shoes with embroidery
Kalamkari a textile from South India, usually decorated with religious images; a fabric translated into a visual narrative through the artist’s kalam (pen)
Kali panel
Kalidhar tunic or skirt made with several triangular panels stitched together to creat a flare a the hemline
Kamarband cloth waist‐band for men or a traditional piece of jewellery for women worn at the waist
Kameez a shirt‐like tunic that has its orgins in North India and Pakistan
Kanchli sleeveless bodice
Kanjeevaram a heavy silk sari from South India, characterized by its contrasting colours, it typically has temple borders, checks, stripes and floral butis; the border, body and pallav are woven separely and then are perfectly interlocked together
Kantha work originating in Bengal, it is a patchwork style of embroidery using a running stitch on old discarded pieces of fabrics and patched together to make a new fabric
Kimkhab silk fabric brocaded with thread made from a fine strand of flattened metal wound over a core of silk, using yellow silk under gold and white silk under silver
Kurti a shorter form of the more traditional tunic called kurta
Lehenga a long skirt, worn in combination with a choli (bodice) and a odhni (veil)
Leheria a resist‐dyeing technique which results in a multi‐striped or chequered, multi‐coloured pattern
Meenakari inlay of colours as in enamelling
Mojris ethnic embroidered jutis (shoes)
Odhini veil
Pagri a turban worn by men
Pallav decorative border, usually at one end of a sari
Pashmina finest grade of cashmere that is a short, thin inner layer hair from Himalayan goats
Pathani silk sari with gold border and pallav with silk brocaded motifs in an interlocked tapestry technique
Patola double ikat of Patan, Gujurat
Patiala similar to a salwar but with more pleats and cowls, usually made of silk or any smooth flowing fabric
Patka a girdle or kamarband, worn over pyjamas, often very decorative
Phulkari literally meaning flowerwork, term for type of embroidery practiced by women in Punjab, using floss‐silk on coarse cotton cloth in darning stitch worked from the back of the fabric
Princess line a vertical design line that crosses the bust point, equivalent to a dart
Puncha machined cuffs to salwar, usually has interesting patterns of seamlines on it
Pyjama trouser like garment, in a variety of cuts, fabrics and shapes, worn both by men and women
Resham silk thread
Salma square spirals of metal
Salwar baggy trousers traditionally worn with a tunic in North India
Sari worn by women, this continuous length of cloth, has three main parts: body, border and pallav, which is wrapped around the waist and over one shoulder, usually 6 metres long, except the Maharastrian sari, which is 9 metres
Sharara a loose trailing pyjama that gives the appearance of lehenga, worn usually by muslim women
Sherwani a coat like garment worn by men, close fitted, closed neck, high collared worn along with a churidar and long scarf around the neck
Tanchoi Chinese influenced brocade from Surat
Tussar raw silk originally worn for puja by women of the Rajgarh and Bilaspur districts of Madhya Pradesh
Ulta Pallav a sari pallav worn in fan pleats over the torso
Zardosi work gold or silver metal threads are sewn on fabrics like satin or velvet or with metallic threads to give the appearance of true embroidery; it is normally heavy and can comprise of mirrors, sequins, springs, pipes, pearls, precious and semi‐precious stones
Zari fine quality metallic gold thread twisted over cotton or silk for brocading and embroidery, also known as jad
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