is a delicate and artfully done hand embroidery
on a variety of textile fabric like muslin,
silk, chiffon, organza, net etc. Though it originated
as a court craft, today it is a practiced tradition
and an important commercial activity. White
thread is embroidered on cool, pastel shades
of light muslin and cotton garments. Lucknow
is the heart of the Chikankari industry today
chikan industry has five main processes namely
cutting, stitching, printing, embroidery, washing,
and finishing. Cutting is carried out in the lots
of 20-50 garments. The layouts are done to minimize
wastage of materials. Stitching, often done by
the same person, may be 'civil', done exclusively
for higher priced export orders or 'commercial',
which is done for cheaper goods. Printing is carried
out by the use of wooden blocks dipped in dyes
like neel and safeda. After this, the fabric is
embroidered by women. The last process, which
is washing and finishing, takes about 10-12 days.
This includes bleaching, acid treatment, stiffening,
The most common motif used is that of a creeper.
Individual floral motifs may embellish the entire
garment or just one corner. Among the floral motifs
embroidered, the jasmine, rose, flowering stems,
lotus and the paisley motif are the most popular.
In recent years, the beautiful and wide variety
of stitches and designs that were on the decline,
have been revived. Concerted efforts by government
and various private organizations have paid off
and today the art of chikankari is flourishing,
enriching both the domestic and export market.
addition to the white base fabric, colored fabrics
and threads are also used. Silk and cotton threads
are employed for embroidery work on sarees, dupattas,
table linen and kurtas. Cotton being the most
preferred choice, chikankari is also done on mulls,
muslins, voiles, organzas and polyester. Some
more include: chiffon, viscose, georgette, polyester
georgette, cotton crepe and net. The designs change
every other month, as per the market trends, with
colors that perfectly match with the season.
design is decided upon on the chosen fabric. The
stitches are decided according to the design to
be used in the embroidery.
pattern is then engraved on a wooden block or
at times sketching it manually.
Printing-Once the block is ready then
the printing is done on the fabric. Printing is
carried out by the use of wooden blocks dipped
in dyes like neel and safeda to make a pattern.
printed fabric then reaches the craftsmen who
get to work with the cloth stretched by a wooden
frame or Karchop. They do the enriching embroidery
using a variety of stitches.
& finishing-After the embroidery,
the fabric reaches the laundry and is thoroughly
washed and given the finishing touches. This includes
bleaching, acid treatment, stiffening or starching