Chikan has basically originated in Lucknow, India during the period when mughals ruled. It’s a very burdensome and time-taking work. That is why chikan embroidery is quiet expensive as compared to machine embroidery. Those who like the royal taste, then Chikankari apparel would be imperial gem in any fashion freak’s closet.
At first, chikan embroidery use to be done with white yarn, on colourless muslins called Tanzeb. Chikan work is usually done on fabrics like crepe, georgette, chiffon, silk, cotton and other fabrics which highlight the Chikan work. It’s a delicate handicraft done in white cotton threads on plain muslin. Chikan word has been evolved and now this art is also used for ornamentation of pillows, cushion covers, table linen etc.
Chikankari has its unique seemliness and its dignity is maintained throughout the fabric used in this. The embroidery usually consists of floral and geometric patterns with fine details having even stitches raised in mesh pattern.
Lucknow is the core of Chikankari works and the type stitches used in this work are essentially of three categories:
All these stitches have their own distinctive appearance within themselves. Flat Stitches are elusive chikankari that remain close to fabrics. On the other hand Embossed Stitches gives a beautiful grainy visual aspect. And lastly Jali Work made by thread tension gives a delicate net effect. Chikankari includes a great diversity in stitches, it consists of 32 stitches such as Tepchi, Bakhiya, Hool, Zanzeera, Rahet, Banarsi, Khatau and many more.
That is why due to diverseness of stitching-patters tangled in Chikankari, it is claimed to be one of its kind hand embroidery that is impossible to simulate in any other part of the globe.
The various innovations and experimentation has let to tremendous change in it and has been evolved in a newer look of Chikankari. Chikan has been transformed into cultural dress so much that being traditionally summer apparel it has also become winter elite. Chikan work and its beautiful fine art will no more be boring and monotonous to wear and to flaunt its beauty.