Embroidery of Kantha is a traditional folk art of Bengal and was extensively used in Kantha quilts. The craft revives worn-out textiles or rags as new. The embroidery not only portrays Kantha stitch & designs but also expresses creativity, patience, imagination & the craftsmanship of the common Bengali woman.


Kantha embroidery originated from the homes of the common people of Bengal and is considered to be the simplest embroidery. However, despite its simplicity, it has a rich and sophisticated look. In the past, Kantha embroidery was embroidered on the old layered cloth with a "running stitch pattern" which was drawn out of the edges of the old sarees. Usually, it depicted some stories of everyday life, folk tales, epics, mythology background, ritual motifs, luxurious flora with wild animals etc. The whole layered cloth was embroidered with running stitches giving a slightly wrinkled appearance.

Kantha Embroidery is one of the oldest embroidery crafts in India. The word Kantha means 'Patched Cloth', and it has been used especially in quilting ever since. The word Kantha comes from the Sanskrit word 'kontha' which means 'roof'. The idea behind this embroidery was to reuse old cloth and fabric and turn it into something new. People from all walks of life used to embroider Kantha designs. This is one of the reasons why Kantha stitch history is unique.

Three major steps in Kantha stitching

  1. Preparation of Materials: The first step involves selecting suitable fabric and threads. Traditionally, old saris or dhotis were repurposed for this purpose. The fabric is layered, and the design is drawn onto it. The layers are then stitched together to create a quilt-like piece.
  2. Stitching: The actual stitching is where the intricate designs come to life. Kantha stitching is characterized by its simple running stitch. The stitch is worked along the outlines of the design, creating patterns and motifs. The stitch itself can vary in length and density, depending on the desired effect and the skill of the embroiderer.
  3. Finishing: Once the stitching is complete, the piece is finished by securing any loose threads and possibly adding additional embellishments like beads or sequins. Finally, the piece may be washed to soften the fabric and enhance the texture of the stitching.

Kantha work sarees

The art of Kantha stitching involves simple, running stitches that create intricate patterns, often depicting motifs inspired by nature, mythology, or daily life. These stitches not only serve a decorative purpose but also reinforce the fabric, making it more durable.

Kantha stitching has evolved, and today, it's not only used for quilts and blankets but also for sarees, dupattas, and other garments. Kantha work sarees are prized for their elegance, simplicity, and the unique story behind each piece. They often feature delicate embroidery along the border or scattered motifs across the fabric, adding a touch of artistry to the traditional attire.

Of the various saree designs, one of the most beautiful aspects of Kantha stitching sarees is the craftsmanship involved. Each piece is handmade, reflecting the skill and creativity of the artisan. Additionally, the use of natural dyes and traditional techniques adds to the allure of these sarees, making them not just clothing items but pieces of art with cultural significance. For online Indian sarees, visit Narumugai, where you get the latest Indian Sarees.


Whether worn casually or for special occasions, Kantha work sarees carry with them a rich heritage and a timeless charm that transcends trends. They're a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the artisans who have preserved this craft for generations. The journey of Kantha stitching sarees is a celebration of tradition, creativity, and timeless elegance. Each saree is a masterpiece in its own right, a testament to the enduring beauty of one of India's most beloved textile traditions.

February 28, 2024 — Narumugai DM