Schiffli is a type of lace that is embroidered on using the Schiffli machine; thus giving the work the name ‘Schiffli embroidery’. The word ‘schiffli’ is derived from the Swiss dialect of the German language, where it means ‘little boat’, referring to the hull-like shape of the shuttle used to produce this type of lace. Schiffli embroidery is produced by the characteristic use of a special kind of machinery and a chemical bath of the embroidered fabric. This type of embroidery has found many modern uses in Indian ethnic fashion, especially in designer salwar kameez.

The inspiration for Schiffli lace or Schiffli embroidery was inspired by the patterns sewing machines could produce on cloth. This is how Groebli came up with the idea of inventing a shuttle that consisted of a bobbin of thread and the machine that utilizes a large number of needles that work at the same time along the length of the fabric, forming lock stitches, much like the sewing machine.

Depending on the patterns that need to be embroidered on the fabric, the process of production can vary in its details. However, there is a broad production process that can be outlined for the creation of Schiffli embroidery.

Schiffli embroidery is often seen on modern salwar kameez as embellishments. Among its other uses are creations of lingerie, home décor items and as frills on cushion covers. In India, Scchiffli Lace is primarily created and exported from Gujarat.

This type of lace is pretty sturdy as it is machine created and is pre-treated chemically. Therefore there are no specific precautionary measures that need to be taken to maintain it well. Schiffli lace is generally durable and strong.