Stitches in Chikankari
India is the home to variety of
embroidery since ages and Indian embroidery has always been a tradition and
a name to conjure with.
Stitches in Chikankari
The basic stitches are six in number and
all except one are common to other forms of embroidery.
- Tepchi is a long running or darning stitch worked with
six strands on the right side of the fabric taken over four threads
and picking up one. Thus, a line is formed. It is used principally
as a basis for further stitchery and occasionally to form a simple
- Bakhiya, double back or shadow stitch in chikan work is
done from the wrong side of the fabric and the design is rendered in
the herringbone style. The shadow of the thread is seen through the
cloth on the right side.
- Hool is a fine detached eyelet stitch. Herein, a hole is
punched in the fabric and the threads are teased apart. It is then
held by small straight stitches all round and worked with one thread
on the right side of the fabric. It can be worked with six threads
and often forms the center of a flower.
- Zanzeera is a small chain stitch worked with one thread
on the right side of the fabric. Being extremely fine, it is used to
finally outline the leaf or petal shapes after one or more outlines
have already been worked.
- Rahet is a stem stitch worked with six threads on the
wrong side of the fabric. It forms a solid line of back stitch on
the right side of the fabric and is rarely used in its simple form
but is common in the double form of dohra bakhiya as an outlining
- Banarsi stitch has no European equivalent and is a
twisted stitch worked with six threads on the right side of the
fabric. Working from the right across about five threads a small
stitch is taken over about two threads vertically. The needle is
reinserted halfway along and below the horizontal stitch formed and
is taken out about two threads vertically on the right above the
- Khatau is similar to Bakhia, but finer and is a form of
applique. In Khatau, the design is prepared on calico material. That
is placed over the surface of the final fabric and then paisley and
floral patterns are stitched on to it.
- Phanda and Murri are the forms of stitches used to
embroider the centre of the flowers in ordinary chikan work motifs.
They are typically French knots, with murri being rice-shaped and
- Jali stitch is the one where the thread is never drawn
through the fabric, ensuring that the back portion of the garment
looks as impeccable as the front. The warp and weft threads are
carefully drawn apart and minute buttonhole stitches are inserted
into the cloth.
- Turpai and Darzdari are also significant stitches in
chikan work. Turpai should have an effect of a thin thread. Darzdari
have several varieties, the popular ones are Kohidarz, Kamal
darz, Shankarpara darz, Muchii and Singbhada darz.
- The various other types of legendary chikankari stitches are:
Pechani, Bijli, Ghaspatti, Makra, Kauri, Hathkadi, Banjkali,
Sazi, Karan, Kapkapi, Madrazi, Bulbul-chasm, Taj Mahal, Janjeera,
Kangan, Dhania- patti, Rozan, Meharki, Chanapatti, Baalda, Jora,
Keel kangan, bulbul, sidhaul, ghas ki patti etc.
Drifting apart from the original pristine setting, the
tone-on-tone embroidery is in vogue these days. The significant use of
beads, sequin and mokaish (white flat silver strip embroidery) have gained
In 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.