Buy Chikankaari dresses
Chikan work or Lucknow Chikan as it is popularly called, is a Handicraft form and this technique is known as Chikankari. This beautiful embroidery form – Chikan – has a Geographical Indicator (GI) tag confirming the uniqueness of this Handicraft to the Lucknow region. While the origins of Chikankari is a mystery it is thought that this Craft form was practised during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya 23 centuries back; the other school places the origins and rise in popularity to Mughal period and Nur Jehan being the biggest patron of the Craft – it is believed that the extensive use of floral patterns in Chikan work is due to this influence.
Chikankari embroidery incorporates 36 different stitching techniques thereby giving different patterns while retaining the distinctive look of this Craft form. The patterns and effects created depend on the stitches and the thickness of the threads used. Some of the stitches include back or shadow stitch (Bakhiya), chain stitch (Zanzeera) and hem stitch (Phanda, Keel Kangan). A specialty of Lucknow, the Jali technique is unique where it is impossible to distinguish the front from the back side. Often the embroiderer creates mesh-like sections by using a needle to separate threads in the ground fabric, and then working around the spaces. Chikankari was originally done on Muslin or Cotton cloth using white threads but now other fabrics including Silk, Chiffon, Georgette and Voil are being used and coloured threads are also used to keep pace with changing times.
The Chikankari technique is a slow and involved process consisting of multiple steps that include: creating the design, engraving, block printing, embroidery, washing and finishing.