The process of making chikankari is long and tedious. The first step is to collect all the raw materials for the same, which include:
- Color- The first step in chikankari involves block printing.
Wait, What’s block printing?
Block printing, in simple and easy language, is printing designs on a surface using blocks. The block have designs carved on their surface which are then coated with ink and stamped on the required surface. (In very easy language)
- Threads- The basic embroidery threads or the anchor threads are used
- Needles, Embroidery frame
[Image 1- Muslin Fabric, 2- Embroidery Frame, 3- Threads used in chikankari]
- Cloth- Its the finest cotton cloth or muslin or mulmul on which this chikankari is done.
In Chikankari a garment is ready after going through several stages, which might take from one to six months, and all done by different persons. There are five stages in the process of making a chikan garment. These are cutting, stitching, printing, embroidery, washing and finishing. The process in detail is as follows –
- Cutting – The first step is cutting of the fabric by the tailor into the required shape or pattern of the garment.
- Stitching – This refers to the basic stitching that is done to give the block printer an idea about where the designs are to be printed.
- Printing – The designs are printed on the semi-stitched garment with blocks and fugitive colors. Block printing is done in the usual way – the cloth to be printed is spread out on the table; the printer dabs the block on the pad tray and places it on the fabric, banging it with his fist. He repeats the process as he moves along the fabric.
- Stitching– This printed fabric is then sent for the embroidery work. this embroidery work is done mostly by women. It starts with Jaali Stitch, which is the trickiest and also the most beautiful stitch of chikankari. Once jaali is done, then other stitches are done. Usually 4-5 women work on a single garment.
[Image Source- https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/6c/1c/ec/6c1cec9eb9a78291401246aa40cfb151.jpg]
- Washing- Once the embroidery work is done, the garment is sent for washing. This is done in order to remove the ink from block printing. (Please note that the ink used there is water soluble). This washing is vigorous so that no ink stains are left.
- Once its washed in running water, the garment is washed with starch extract to provide stiffness to the final piece.
- Now its ready for selling and is exported to the shops.
This entire process takes months to finish.
Hope you all like the post, and come back tomorrow for new information on Chikankari.
Anon, (2017). 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: http://www.craftmark.org/sites/default/files/Chikankari%20Embroidery.pdf [Accessed 4 Feb. 2017].
 Pedia, T. (2017). All About Luckmow Chikankari Embroidery Work | Utsavpedia. [online] Utsavpedia. Available at: http://www.utsavpedia.com/motifs-embroideries/lucknow-chikan-craft/ [Accessed 4 Feb. 2017].