The Sandur Lambani embroidery is an embroidery type practised by the Lambanis in Sandur town of Karnataka. Colourful patches of clothes are joined by different types of stitches and embellished with mirrors and seashells to make bags, wallets, cushion covers, sarees and home décor accessories. This embroidery had also found a place in the list of products with Geographic Indication (GI) tag in the country.
The Lambanis who is commonly known as the Banjaras in North India is the custodians of this form of embroidery. Travelling across land and time, the Lambanis has managed to retain its splendour. Around 30 different types of stitches and 10 types of motif designs are used in Lambani embroidery. Some of the exquisite stitches are Valeya, Bakhiya, Ado Dora, Teen Sui Maaki, Suryakanti Maaki, Bakhiya Gol Bhuriya, Kalyani, Relo, Gadri Valeya, Jod Potte, Angli Yele, and Sandhya Jowellya.
Thirteen colours are mostly used in Lambani embroidery, out of which; red and blue are most common. The base cloth used is either khadi or power loom fabric and is also dyed locally, thus working in harmony with the local small scale industry. According to an interesting belief, Lambanis traditionally wore dresses embellished with mirrors, to scare away wild animals in the jungles.
Lambani craft starts from acquiring the right cotton cloth or khadi from Erode in Tamil Nadu. Dying of the cloth and yarn is then undertaken, the colours for which may be both chemical or organic. After this, the cloth is cut according to the design and ironed to make smooth. Patches of clothes are stitched according to the design and markings are made for mirrors, seashells and embroidery. All the embellishments are then finally sewed into the cloth using 14 different stitching techniques, to give an amazing range of colourful accessories.
Lambani embroidery has now reached all over the world with the export of bed sheets and cushion covers in subtle colours but the heavily embroidered bags in flamboyant colours remain a favourite among tourists.