Monday, May 2, 2016

Chikankari Sarees- from Lucknow

Lucknow - state capital of UttarPradesh,which is famous for its Moghal tradition, known as city of Nawabs, also famous for its chikankari embroidery. There may be very few who don't know about chikankari embroidery.

Origin of Chikankari:

It is a similar to schwalm embroidery (white work). The embroidery is made using white thread on white linen.Nowadays its is done using colored cloths with color threads. Chikan is derived from Persian word Chikin meaning cloths made with needlework. This was originally introduced by Mughal empress Noorjahan.

The motifs in chikankari are majorly flowers, paisley designs , vine designs etc.
Motifs used in chikankari

 Types of stitches:

Chikankari is said to consists of  40 types of different stitches. Among them a very commonly used is tepchi -running stitch. Other few commonly used stitches are Phanda-small circular dot, Jaali - which forms a type of net, murri- knotted stitch,  and bakhia - which is similar to herringbone stitch, used for shadow effect.

Chikankari Sarees: 

Chikankari embroidery has been  influencing fashion industry from ages. Earlier it was a court craft, which were practised in Kolkata, Bangladesh, Delhi, Gaya , Varanasi etc. It is used by most of the designers now, may be it is a kurti, salwar kameez or a saree. 

There are many varieties in Chikankari sarees available. Chikankari sarees are normally in light or pastel shade, and the cloth is fine muslin, cotton, organdy , Georgette etc.
 Here is one such saree in light green color and paisley designs

Another is in  lavender color with paisley and florsl design all over:

 Nowadays many  have worked with dark colors like black, blue and red etc. Here is chikankari saree in black and white combination:

In 1980 , the Bhakia stitch which gives shadow effect, dominated and traders flooded the markets with coarsely embroidered chikankari sarees and dresses. Many handicraft organizations worked to bring back the intricate and fine designs involving stitches like murri, phanda, jaali etc. This has improved the quality of the embroidery. This also made chikankari  enter into international fashion market, thereby improving the livelihoods of crafts-persons.

Love , laugh and live the life to the fullest,


  1. You are good at what you do 👍

    1. Your post is so interesting and informative

  2. chikankari is one of my favourite. For next special occasion I had plans to buy chikan and kantha work sarees.

  3. I saw some beautiful Chikankari work in the Calico Museum of Textiles. It looked as perfect on the back as on the front.

  4. Best for summers! You have a good collection. :)

  5. Your selection of patterns is very pretty, Ranjana:) Great aesthetic sense:):)

  6. Love Chikinkari works. Especially for summers they are the most lightweighted yet trendy clothes. Did not know much except its origin at Lucknow. Thanks for all the info. :)

  7. I love chikankari and feel the art is getting lost these days.

  8. Me too -- love, love, love Chikankari work.
    Do you do Chikankari work, Ranjana?

  9. Nice informative post. I always have some chikankari clothes in my wardrobe.

  10. You have lovely collections as well as Beautiful patterns Ranjana.Thanks for sharing.

    Sriram & Krithiga

  11. Beautiful designs on the sarees.


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