Dori: A Thread Binding Cultures

-Somdyuti Bhattacharya


Qalamkar Rehab Luxury Winter Collection (With Shawl) – Dori-Kari QWK-05

Dori, as the name suggests, literally translates to thread but it is not just any thread. The yarn used to execute this embroidery is an amalgamation of fine Zari and Resham threads.The critical feature of this embroidery is the thickness of the thread created by the fusion which gives the ornamentation a 3-dimensional effect.

Dori is one of the most innovative and creative embroidery techniques owing to the wide variety of colours that can be implemented through the threads and stitches.

Often Dori work is accompanied with stitching methods like couching and Zardosi Silaayi. These add to the glamour quotient and make the embroideries stand out.


AUJ Jardin De Luxe Luxury Collection 2018 – D-03

The art form of Dori has existed since a period even before the Neanderthals. Dori work has been discovered on pieces of cloth that were found containing stitch work patterns, belonging to the Cro-Magnon period.

For India, Dori work marched in through the gates of the Mughal Dynasty. The traditional Dori you see now are all indicative of the Mughal era. Not only women but even the Emperors themselves also adorned the courtrooms with capes and robes decorated in flawless Dori work.

While the caste and class discrimination was still valid, Dori embroidery worked as a distinguisher. The more intricate and detailed your Dori garment, the higher the social rank.


The Making

Although Dori embroidery looks very intricate and detailed, the making of it is not that complex. First, the motifs or patterns are imprinted on the fabric using a paper stencil or silhouette impression. After the material has been printed, the Dori is prepared by twisting Zari, Resham and cotton threads together into one single Dori.

Next, the Dori is used to trace the motif designs already made on the fabrics, and the craftsmen use their own techniques to add modifications if necessary.

Couching and Zardosi stitching are mainly used to create the illustrious and discreet structures. Vivid coloured threads are used to enhance the overall look. Sometimes colour coordinated threads are twisted together to make a Dori. This complements the garment like nothing else.


Dori is quite a flexible form of embroidery. Since it only uses threads and needlework throughout. Variety in this embroidery is only in context to the motifs created and the stitch-work used.

Dori is such a craft with which creating impossible is also possible. Sway the thread as you want and get your desired design done. Two popular methods of implementing Dori work are Couching and Zardosi stitching. Using each of these techniques, newer varieties of ornamentation can be done.

Also, a mixture of the two methods or styles will lead to an absolute masterpiece.

Dori owes its variety also to the numerous colour threads used. Using different, complementary and interconnected colour schemes, you will get chic designs and a brand new look.

Using shiny and glittery threads and wires along with threads to form the Dori is also practiced to enhance the garment in the fields of luster and appeal.

Lastly, topping the Dori designs with pearls or other gems add an exotic appearance to the fabric.



Although Dori is very intricate in its appearance, a few initial machine washes will not cause much harm. But in the long run, to maintain the thread hue, dry washing is recommended.

Gentle and slow ironing is recommended to uphold the wellness of the craft and to retain an unhinged outfit with blooming colours.

 Gul Ahmed Festive Luxury Collection 2019 – FE-220

Since times immemorial Dori rather emerged as a Mughal or Muslim artwork. But with the arrival of modernism and more contemporary thoughts, Dori was able to bind several cultures together.

From Shararas to Patialas and robes to turbans, Dori is inclined towards all sorts of cultures present and been a secular thread that has fashionably bound cultures.

Posted on 21st June, 2021 at YourLibaas


About Somdyuti Bhattacharyya

Somdyuti is an experienced Content Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the fashion, health, and computer software industry. He is skilled in Painting, Dance, Communication, Creativity Skills, and Fashion. Strong media and communication professional with a Bachelor of Science - BS focused on Economics from Maulana Azad College. 

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