Chikan embroidery originated in Lucknow and is one of the finest textile decorating styles in India. This style of embroidery draws its inspiration from Persian art form and the name has been derived from the Persian work Chakin or Chikeen meaning a cloth wrought with needle work. It started as a court craft during the Mughal era and was introduced by Noorjehan, wife of the Mughal emperor – Jahangir.
The grace and elegance of this style of embroidery cannot be matched as, it is literally signifies a piece of timeless work of art. It is a very laborious and time consuming task as it hand embroidered using white untwisted cotton or Tussar silk thread on muslin cloth. The craftsmen take anywhere between 10 to 15 days to finish one outfit as they skillfully do the detailing. This is one of the reasons as to why Chikan embroidered pieces are so expensive.
Chikan garments are perfect for summer as the delicate patterns add a unique look to the garment. The process of creating this piece of art is quite lengthy. The first step is to decide on a design depending on the type of fabric chosen. There are a range of stitches in Chikan, but the type of stitches to be used on a particular fabric would depend on the design chosen. Once the design is chosen, the pattern is than engraved on wooden blocks or at times sketched manually. In case of using wooden blocks, the block is dipped in dyes and used to print the pattern on the fabric. Once the fabric is printed, the craftsmen will start his embroidery and weave intricate patterns using a variety of stitches. The last step involves washing and finishing where the fabric is bleached, starched and iron and is then ready to be stitched.
This form of embroidery is considered to be classic and will never die. It is considered as a regal treasure and is a must have for every Indian bride’s wardrobe.