Wednesday, June 24, 2009


One of the most popular forms of embroidery in India is chikankari, or chikan work. Chikankari is basically hand embroidery & considered as ethnic carfts. Different designs are stitched by using silk or white cotton. The surface of the fabric has different patterns. Chikankari represents styl and eleganece. Chikan work is of various types like, hathkati, taipchi, phunda, ghas patti, pechni, chaana patti, bakhia, murri etc. Lucknow is considered as the hub of chikan work. This stylish craft requires utmost patience and talent. It takes almost 10-15 days to make an outfit. A time consuming craft, chikankari is also expensive compared to other forms of embroidery.

The origin of chikankari cannot be substantiated. Different people have different notions of its beginning. Some say, queen Noorjahan introduced this embroidery and some other say it started in Bengal in 3rd century. If we seek literal meaning then chikan refers to floral prints on fine Muslim clothes. There are great numbers of patterns possible for designer kurtis on chikan work.

Design wise, basically three types of designs are commonly seen, embossed stitch, flat stitch and jail work. Embossed stitch gives you much in demand grainy look whereas flat stitch is quite subtle in nature. If you want completely delicate effect created by thread tension then go for jail work. Talking about basic process involved in chikankari, cutting, stitching, printing, embroidery, washing and finishing are the processes. Workers have to be very crafty to come up with beautiful pieces of embroidery.