chikan fabric tradition

Chikan Fabric: The Perfect Blend of Tradition and Modern Fashion

The word ‘Chikan’ is believed to be taken from different etymologies and different languages. For example, in Bengal, the word means fine, in Persian, it means the crafting of delicate patterns on fabric. It is a popular belief that people made their definitions for this word and it is still running in the market. 


Chikankari is a delicate art of crafting fabric and intricate shadow and designer embroidery which was usually performed on white yarn initially or colorless muslin clothes which are called tanzeb. Chikankari work is done on different types of fabrics such as georgette, cotton, chiffon, and lots more. Chikan fabric work is not limited to fabrics and can easily be found on designer dresses, bedding, pillow case, and lots more. The stunning artwork was introduced by Queen Noor Jaha and emperor Jahangir. Chikankari work is mentioned in the early work of the 3rd century BC by the famous greek traveler, Megasthenes who describes the beauty of the artwork and patterns used in this artwork. 

Type of Chikankari

Chikankari is an authentic artwork from the city of nawabs, Lucknow. A majority of women are involved in the production of these breathtaking chikan artworks by hand. Floral arrangement and drapes with creepers make this artwork spectacular. Most Mostly, flowering stems, jasmine roses, and lotus are also sewn on the sides. 

Flat stitches

This artwork involves the crafting of motifs and patterns on the cloth using this basic technique of embroidery. Earlier, chikankari cloth designs were used to embellish the garments. Later on, it was found that some stitches in this work also serve as a great alternative for Indian bridal wear for different occasions. 

Embossed stitches 

There are bolder stitches instead of flat stitches which give quite a grainy experience. It includes more labor-intensive work due to the intricate artwork. 

Jaali stitches

This unique art form involves the fashion technique of using weft and warp to give a minute dramatic effect.,

Manufacturing process

Indian chikan involves cutting, stitching, printing, embroidering, washing, and finishing. One person performs the cutting and stitching part. It consists of printing methods from wooden blocks which goes well with the fabric. Printing work is generally performed by women artisans. Later on, it is washed and finished by soaking in acid treatment, bleaching, stiffening, and ironing. This works completed within 10-12 days. The entire process of creating unique chikan garments takes about one to six months. 

Chikankari artisans

The community of this artwork artisan involves skilled weavers and artisans in the process of the oldest form of handcrafted embroidery. One such artisan was Rehana Begum who get her inspiration to create this fabric from Mughals artisans. She was involved in creating this artwork for a decade. Her family was involved in making pillowcases, curtains, and bedding from this artwork. In her childhood, she loves to make garments from her childhood. She has to supervise her apprentice working under her. She teaches various forms of stitches and also said that it takes 2 years to complete a chikan sari. For suits and lehengas, it takes about 3 years with this artwork.

Fashion Association

We could save and preserve this artwork with the help of the fashion design council of India.  The luminary pair of Sandeep Khosla and Abu Jani is the connoisseurs of preserving this artwork and one of the royal designers of the Indian fashion industry. Their glamorous textiles reflect annexures of Mughal times adding a wow element to the grace of this artwork. Judy Dench of James Bond wore a chikan fabric and also won an oscar award for his performance in the movie in 2004. 

Trending Chikankari style dresses to set a fashion statement

The traditional chikankari work was famous during the Mughal era and Mughal emperor Jahangir displays the eminent work of chikan work with a white muslin dress. This artwork is popular in the city of nawab, Lucknow, and has been a part of women’s wardrobes for centuries. The aesthetic handiwork with some unique floral motifs and the use of creepers make this work stylish and elegant both in casual and formal looks. The addition of this stunning shadow work on several fabrics such as organdie chiffon, wool, silk, and cotton must be in your wardrobe. The Bollywood stars make the best use of the lucknavi tradition for their airport look, brunch dates, and festive ensembles and you can flaunt with heavy embroidery work easily.

Win In White

A white chikan suit can be perfect for your casual outing with family and friends. Take a white basic kurta and team up with white chikan pants for a great monochrome look. You can also add rustic jewelry with a white set to have a more breezy look. The same dress can be worn for formal office wear with some minimal changes. Pair your chikan suit with clogs in earthy tones. Tie your hair with a bun and change your jewelry with studs. Take a classy wristwatch and carry that sleek bag to complete your formal look. Today all white attires can be spotted on various occasions. A white chikan suit with delicate embroidery can be the one for a daytime event. 

Kurta as a dress

Chikankari chanderi silk works stunningly while accentuating the figure. This stunning Anarkali comes with a stylish and traditional ethnic fabric ‘chanderi’ which is particularly known for its sheer texture. Go for subtle makeup with pastel blue Anarkali to keep the minimal look. For a festive look, pair the Anarkali suit with embellished jewelry and footwear to complete your indo-western look. Wear Anarkali with churidar or pants and complete it with pair of brogues for a more ethnic look but don’t forget to take your coffee before running for work.


Chikan artwork has a long back history and it came into the limelight after the Mughal time in India. This artwork is famous for its floral motifs and intricate print work. You can choose from a variety of print work, colors, and designs. These days different cut work and shape work is available at online store and you can make your day special with chikan fabric outfits.

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