I have been embroidering on wearables – tunics, blouses for quite some time. On hand embroidery lovers group on Facebook, there was a request to provide the details about this work. I am starting this short series hoping it would benefit the people who are searching for instructions to embroider on wearables.

When I started embroidering on wearables, I started with stitched blouses for sarees. But on this series, I‘ll start with simple embroidery on tunics, sleeves with some samples.

We’ll start with borders worked on separate fabric, which can be attached to the tunic sleeves later.


Tunic fabric

Another suitable fabric for embroidery

Border patterns for embroidery

Inch tape

Pencil, scale, white, yellow carbon.

Start with the measurements. Take a tunic which fits you perfectly and measure around the sleeves, it can be half sleeves, three fourth sleeves, or cap sleeves. Note it down. Give an allowance of 1.5 inches on both sides extra. Same way choose the length required for the front of the tunic. This is individual preference, it can be long, short or medium or just a single motif. The same way, the length of the side slits can also be measured. Sometimes a border attached at the end of the tunic gives an elegant look. This kind of borders are fairly long. Ideal thing would be to use woven borders from sarees or dupattas.  These borders can also be embellished with embroidery. For all these embroidered borders, leave a seam allowance of ¾ inch on all sides. When using an embroidery hoop we need more fabric around the pattern to fit the hoop. These extra fabric can be cut after the work.

Fabric for embroidery-

This is an interesting task. With the tunic fabric in hand choose the matching fabric to work the embroidery on. This can be the base colour or contrast or small speck of colour from the tunic design itself. This is a very wild field.

For choosing the pattern for embroidery, it is required to have some embroidery patterns. I generally use the available pattern as an inspiration and create my own designs.

Here are some samples which can be used as guidelines for choosing the fabric for embroidery and the embroidery patterns



In this sample, the tunic is plain chiffon, the fabric used for embroidery is of the same colour in silk cotton. The pattern is single flower motif which is repeated for the length required. The width of the border is doubled for the tunic front. The length is medium. And the embroidery is done in contrasting colours.



The tunic fabric is silk chiffon, and the embroidery was done in white cotton fabric. The pattern –a design of flower with leaves is continued for the length of the border.  The border is short in front of the tunic.The embroidery is used to bring in some colour on white background.



The tunic fabric is silk. The fabric used for embroidery is cotton of the same colour. A simple circular pattern is repeated here. The threads used are chosen from the leaf colours on the tunic, and worked with dark brown seed beads. The embroidery does not extend to sleeves.



The tunic fabric is block printed cotton. The embroidery is done on contrasting half white colour fabric. The motif is repeated along with some mirrors on this border.  Colours for embroidery was chosen from Gujarathi embroidery  and the colour of the tunic which inspired this pattern.

We will continue with some more samples on borders. These samples are given here to get an idea about working embroidery on tunics. more details on patterns will come later in the series.Feel free to ask questions on comments, it would help me to improve this series.

Preeta from Muscat , had enquired about transfering  embroidery patterns-

there are 2 types of pettern books-

1.neck and yoke design books from  India- from these books  we can start on an idea  for embroidery and move on to actual pattern making.

2.textile and traditional Indian design books are also available.Requires lots of browsing on bookshops.these books are also very expensive.

For tranfering designs-

I design the pattern in its original size on an  A3 size paper or graph paper.

Then I use white or yellow carbon to trace it in a cloth, it is too risky to draw on the cloth[ biggest problem is the symmetry]. if the cloth itself is light coloured, then I use the corresponding colour carbon.

you can also enlarge your desired pattern and then trace it on to the cloth, this is the safest method.

Hope  my answers are useful for you, I can be more specific , if I have an idea of the project.

This is the step by step method for attaching the mirror or shisha.


mirror project

mirror project




 Hold the mirror with your thumb of your non-sewing hand.

We are going to cross over the mirror 4 times to secure it.

The space which we get in the middle,where all the lines cross  becomes the inner ring.

The outer ring is the circumference of the mirror.


diagram -1

diagram -1 1.Bring up the needle and thread at point1Cross to the opposite side,over the mirror and insert the needle at 2-----1st linediagram -2




.2.Bring the needle at 3 and just cross over to the opposite side and insert the needle at 4-2nd line

diagram -3

diagram -3


3.Bring the needle up at the side at 5 ,go over and under the  2nd line at ‘A’.

The thread is now twisted once at ‘A’. Remember to bring the needle outside,

Otherwise even when the mirror is held, thread has the tendency to move over

 to the corner ,and the mirror becomes loose.

Now move the needle over and under at ‘B’ ,now the thread is twisted inside.

Insert the needle at 6-3rd line




4.Bring the needle up at 7, go over and under at ‘C’[with needle outside].Again cross over and under at’D’[with needle inside] and insert the needle at 8-4th line




sample-2Bring the needle very near 8 .Now there is a inner ring and the outer ring. Mirror is secured.diagram-5 sample-3

5. Insert the needle into the inner circle[eg-cretan st

diagram -6

diagram -66.Make small st on the cloth near 8sample-4

Keep repeating this till mirror is fully covered







 Mirror is now completed 

 The wrong side



sample-square This is a square mirror.sample-diamond

Diamond shaped mirror can be secured like this.

Notes- I have used Anchor stranded cotton-3 strands for this medium size mirror.

For big mirrors use 4 strands.

For small mirrors use 2 strands, otherwise this stitch will completely obscure the mirror .

If the inner circle gets bigger[when the tension of the thread is more], after  completing the stitch,the inner circle can be whipped and tightened.

Generally mirrors are heavy, so use cloth of medium thickness.

While learning and practicing ,keep the length of the thread sufficient to complete a mirror.Round mirrors have the tendency to slip away,when it is not held comfortably ..


I hope this tuitorial  will help people to embellish their embroidery with mirrors.

I enjoyed doing this,

Please leave your comments and suggestions to improve  the content of this tuitorial.