Ralli (ral-ee), in its most traditional form, refers to the beautifully detailed quilt making technique that has its historical roots in Sindh, Pakistan and western India. The word “Ralli” is derived from the local word Ralanna which means to “mix” or “connect.” This indigenous art form, believed to be thousands of years old, continues to be passed down from generations of women through family and community relationships.
Ralli, in a broader sense, also means “patchwork” or “appliqué.” Patchwork and appliqué designs are the most common techniques incorporated into the elaborate hand sewn quilts. Fabric appliqué shapes are sometimes geometric and arranged in complex patterns that are usually derived from memory alone. Appliqué shapes also include more intricate patterns like animals, flowers or cultural motifs that are highly detailed. The colours, patterns and shapes found in Ralli are as diverse as the ancestral stories and experiences of the women who make them.
Fortunately, in the last several years there has been a renewed interest in this culturally inherited technique. Ralli has become increasingly recognized in popular quilting magazine in the United States. Ralli quilts have also been displayed at Textile & Quilting Museums throughout the U.S.
Azadi Project is proud to have incorporated the beautiful art of Ralli in our collection. Although Ralli Appliqué was traditionally used for quilt making, you’ll find the stunning hand sewn technique on some of our garments.