Kasuti is a traditional form of embroidery practiced in the state of Karnataka. Kasuti work which is very intricate and is traditionally made on sarees like Irkal and Kanchivaram. The history of Kasuti dates back to the Chalukya period. It is also said that the Lambani clan left their traditional home of Rajasthan and settled down in Karnataka and brought the Kasuti craft along with them. Sarees embroidered with Kasuti were expected to be a part of the bridal trousseau of which one saree made of black silk with Kasuti embroidery called Chandrakali saree was of premier importance.
Kasuti embroidery is done only by counting the threads of the weft and the warp. There is no possibility of tracing or implanting the design prematurely as outlines. The designs in Kasuti work involve intricate patterns like Gopura, Chariot, Palanquin, lamps and Conch shells. The work is laborious and involves counting of each thread on the cloth. The patterns are stitched without using knots to ensure that both sides of the cloth look alike. Different varieties of stitches are employed to obtain the desired pattern. Some of the stitches employed are: Ganti: a double running stitch used for marking vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines, Murgi: a zigzag stitch, Neyge: a running stitch and Menthe: a cross stitch resembling fenugreek seeds.
The embroidery is done only by women..The motifs here range from architectural designs to a cradle and an elephant to a squirrel. The main motifs are religious and are found to be larger near the Pallav of the saeree; as they move downwards the motifs get smaller and smaller. Vertical, horizontal, and diagonal stitches are used.