Gota was quite prevalent around my mother’s time. Although, it was mostly seen on Punjabi women, now I see gota used in Karachi and other parts of the country as well. Back in the day gota was a cheaper zari option available so lower classes made this mostly for weddings. Slowly, gota got modernized and now has become trendy. I got my first gota dress made back in 2003. It was a bittersweet moment because it was such a traditional dress for me (my first gota outfit after all), but my mom had it made when my grandmother has passed away. I think I wore it once or twice. Although traditionally the gota embroidery was made on bright and colorful silk fabric (see HERE and HERE), I made it in a more Karachi-appropriate peach color. It was absolutely magnificent and I got many compliments. The second time I got a gota dress made was in a more traditional style. I made it on a silky chunri (see the links above) fabric. Although that was more wedding appropriate than party-wear, I still loved it and wore it on Eid.
I really like the re-emergence of the gota work in designer-wear today. I like how designers are using elaborate gota dupattas to enhance their lenghas and shararas. What I really want to promote for this year’s winter wedding season is the heavy gota embroidered dupattas with plain kamees and trousears/capris/shalwars. Last year was all about the velvet during the wedding. I think this year should be about the gota dupatta. Read on what gota really is and which talented designer labels who can shop at to get the most coveted pieces.
What is Gota?
Gota Patti or Gota work is a type of Pakistani embroidery that originated in the Punjab province. Gota embroidery uses the applique technique. Small pieces of metallic-colored ribbon are applied into the fabric with the edges sewn down to create elaborate patterns. Gota embroidery is used extensively in South Asian wedding and formal clothes meaning even in India now. The predominately gold or silver ribbon varies in width embroidered. The dresses with gota work are used for special occasions such as weddings.
Originally real gold and silver metals were used to embroider the fabric, but were eventually replaced by copper-coated silver as the most genuine way of making it. Nowadays, there are even more inexpensive options available such as metallic ribbons.
The gota embroidery process is lengthy and time-consuming. The first step is to trace the design on the fabric. This is done by placing a tracing paper with the design on it on the fabric and spreading a paste of chalk powder over it. Depending on the design, the Gota is cut and folded into various shapes. It is then appliquéd by hemming or back stitching it on the fabric.
Attractive patterns which are specific to the region and each motif has its own distinguishing name. The motifs are usually inspired by nature and consist of flowers, leaves and birds or animals such as peacocks, parrots and elephants. Gota creates a rich and heavy look but is yet light to wear.
To learn what dupattas are, click on a old post (see HERE). Although some pictures of the elaborate dupattas are with elaborate outfits, I encourage to go for simplicity, which is refreshing from last year’s embroidered velvet frenzy.