There are said to be around 32 stitches prevalent in this embroidery, which combined is called Chikankari. Chikankari’s origin is traced back to being derived from the embroidery of Persia brought and patronized in the Awadh region of India by the Mughals.
In our collections, we also try to combine different stitches in one garment itself which immediately tells a difference from the regular machine-made embroidery going around in the market and tells how sound the garment embroidery is in terms of finesse.
These are the main stitches used in our collection time over:
- PATTI: As the name suggests, is a leafy formation of filling embroidery. It is widely used in Chikankari since most of the motifs and stories Chikankari tells is derived from nature and a leaf is a very prominent part of nature. There can be a variation in pattis, the most popular being ghas patti, channa patti and dhum patti. The ghas patti will be straight and dhum patti will have a sway in its formation. Channa patti will have a circular end point, not pointy.
- MURRI: The slim rice shaped intricate formation is called ‘murri’. Murri is difficult stitch to craft and only skilled karigars can perform it, hence it is not found in every mass market garment producted.
- BHAKHIYA: The shadow stitch is the most popular stitch in Lucknow Chikankari. It is mostly done from the backside of the block printed fabric so to give the shadow effect on the right side of fabric. There is also ‘Upari bakhiya’ which is done on the right side of fabric given it a stitch a herringbone structure which looks filled.
- BIJLI WITH KANTE: Bijli is an oval shaped filling with a hole on one end. Though Bijli and Kante are two different stitches, in fine garments one will find and Bijli finished with Kante as an outline. This one is also difficult stitch to craft and only skilled karigars can perform it, hence it is not found in every mass market garment producted.
- PECHNI: Pechni is the line stitch in Chikankari and is widely used to outline shapes or mostly form stems to connect leaves, flowers and phandas.
- KEEL: This structure involves a ‘turra’ which is a round stud in the centre having tiny stitches around it.
- KANGAN: This structure involves a ‘turra’ which is a round stud in the centre having tiny stitches around it. A single level of stitches around is called a ‘Keel’ and when the keel is tiered with another round of stitches it is called a ‘Kangan’. This can be counted as three different stitches too technically.
- HOLE/HUL: A hole is quite literally what the name suggests. The karigar intricately crafts a hole in the fabric with needle and binds it with thread work, lining the hole.
- HATHKATI: Hathkati is a single line of jaali made by pulling apart the warp and the weft of the fabric by needle and thread. It will usually be seen in between a kauri or two pechnis or two pattis with a suitable space to craft it.
- KUT/CUT: Cut is a premium stitch to replace pechni or balda in ceratin spaces. It is mostly done in dome type designs enclosing the jaali centre. It looks like several tiny kaante placed side by side in a line very closely packed.
- KEHERKI: Keherki is premium stitch used in place of a keel or kangan. It is circular in shape having a hole in the centre. Can be described as a dish kind of structure.
- KANTE: Having outlines of kante in a patti, bijli or other stitches immediately tell us that the piece is premium as it outlines a stitch which is itself crafted from before. They are tiny closely packed stitches outlining another stitch.
- PHANDA: One of the most common stitches in chikankari is phanda. They are knot type of pearl tiny structured bound to the design by a very short stem.
- KAURI: Kauri is a bud or shell kind of structures, which looks like two slim pattis are joined from both sides leaving in between space for hathkati.
- BALDA: Balda is a premium replacement of Pechni at places. Very tightly packed stitch.
- JAALI: Jaali is the trellis type of filling which is made by carefully pulling apart the warp and the weft of the fabric with needle and thread. There are different types of jaalis too.