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Wednesday, 13 April 2016


Chikankari is the art of hand embroidery practiced in the city of Lucknow(India) and its vicinity. The history of chikan embroidery in India dates back to almost 400 years and is believed to be a Persian craft, that came to India with Noorjahan, the queen of Mughal Emperor Jahangeer. However, Chikankari flourished under the patronage of the Nawabs(rulers) of Awadh(Historical name for Lucknow and its environs).
Chikan embroidery has a repertoire of about 40 stitches of which about 30 are still being used. The main stitches with their traditional names are:

1.    Taipchi: Running stitch worked with six strands of thread on the right side of the fabric. It is occasionally done within parallel rows to fill petals and leaves in a motif, called ghaspatti. It is considered to be the simplest, cheapest and the quickest chikan stitch and often serves as a basis for further embellishment.
2.    Pechni: Here the taipchi is covered by entwining the thread over it in a regular manner to provide the effect of something like a lever spring and is always done on the right side on the cloth.
3.    Pashni: Taipchi is worked to outline a motif and then covered with minute vertical satin stitches over about two threads and is used for fine finish on the inside of badla.
4.    Bakhia: It is the most common stitch, done from wrong side of fabric and is often referred to as shadow work. It is of two types:
(a) Ulta Bakhia: The floats lie on the reverse of the fabric underneath the motif. The transparent muslin becomes opaque and provides a beautiful effect of light and shade.
(b) Sidhi Bakhia: Satin stitch with criss-crossing of individual threads. The floats of thread lie on the surface of the fabric. This is used to fill the forms and there is no light or shade effect.

5.    Khatao, khatava or katava is cutwork or appliqué - more a technique than a stitch.
6.    Gitti: A combination of buttonhole and long satin stitch usually used to make a wheel-like motif.
7.    Jangira: Chain stitch usually used as outlines in combination with a line of pechni or thick taipchi.
8.    Murri: A very minute satin stitch in which a knot is formed over already outlined taipchi stitches.
9.    Phanda: It is a smaller shortened form of murri. The knots are spherical and very small, not pear shaped as in murri. This is a difficult stitch and requires very good craftsmanship.
Chikankari from Shilphaat
10. Jaalis: The holes created in jaalis or trellises  are made by manipulation of the needle without cutting or drawing of thread. jaalis are created is by pulling apart wrap and weft threads in a fashion that minute openings are made in the cloth. Shape of openings and the stitches used distinguish one jaali from another.
Traditionally embroidered on muslin with a white thread, but at present all types of fabrics and all colors of threads are. The pattern is block printed on
Block printing 
de-starched fabric or on the semi-stitched garment with fugitive colors, and the embroidery of the garment is then begun. The embroidered piece is then washed, after which the garment is then starched and ironed. The whole cycle can take from one to six months.
Some stitches, ichikan embroidery, are worked from the wrong side of the fabric, while others are worked from the right side as shown in given image. Different specialists work with different types of stitches.