Placeholder Why are Most of the Chikankari Garments Transparent?
Chikankari is a traditional Indian embroidery technique, often done on lightweight and delicate fabrics because it's difficult to put a thick fabric in the frame where chikankari is done, and even the needles used to make the embroidery also don't pass through thick fabrics that easily.

Chikankari is a delicate and artistically done hand embroidery, done on a variety of fabrics such as cotton, chanderi, muslin, georgette, viscose, silk, organza, net etc. Threads are embroidered on cool, light colors of muslin and cotton fabrics. Nowadays chikan embroidery is also done with coloured and silk threads to meet fashion trends and keep chikankari up-to-date. Lucknow historically has been the centre of chikankari industry.

  • Fabric Type: Chikankari is often done on different types of fabrics, such as cotton, chiffon, georgette, silk etc. Select the fabric based on your use. Cotton and chiffon are good for summers while silk and georgette are suitable for parties and festivals.
  • Quality of Embroidery: Pay attention to the detail and cleanliness of the embroidery of Chikankari fabric. The thickness of the thread, the design of the embroidery, and the neatness of doing it are very important.
  • Colour: Choose the color as per your taste and occasion. Light colors are good for summer and dark colors are good for winter.
  • Design: Various designs of chikankari include paisleys, flowers, leaves, jaali, butti etc. Select the design as per your choice and occasion.
  • Price: The price of chikankari clothes depends on the detail of the embroidery and the type of fabric. Choose the right option as per your budget.
  • Maintenance: It is important to keep the Chikankari fabric clean and safe. These should be washed with mild detergent and protected from direct sunlight.

Chikankari Transparency

The transparency of Chikankari clothes is due to their weaving and embroidery techniques.

  • Fabric Texture: Chikankari is usually done on light and thin fabrics like mulmul, organza, chiffon, and cotton. These clothes themselves are transparent.
  • Style of Embroidery: Chikankari has a lot of fine embroidery and openwork (mesh) designs, which maintain transparency in the fabric. During this embroidery, certain parts of the cloth are cut and then decorated with threads, making the cloth appear transparent.
  • Beauty and Style: Transparent fabrics look more delicate and beautiful, making them hold a special place in fashion and design. Transparency becomes a style statement, which enhances the beauty of the wearer.

In this art, intricate and beautiful designs are made on clothes. The history of Chikankari dates back to the Mughal period and it is mainly done with white threads, although nowadays it is also done with coloured threads. Amongst the many stitches of chikankari, there are a few that are more commonly used than others.

  • Bakhia: It is also called shadow work. In this, embroidery is done on the reverse side of the cloth so that the shadow of the design is visible on the front side.
  • Phanda: It is the work of small knots which are used in flowers and leaves.
  • Jali: In this, the effect of lattice is given by separating the fibres of the cloth.
  • Murri: This is a stitch that looks like a grain of rice, which is done in the middle or on the edges of the flower.
  • Tepchi: It consists of straight and vertical stitches, which form the base design on the fabric.

Chikankari garments are a hallmark of their delicate and ethereal nature, deeply rooted in the art form's history and cultural significance. This characteristic stems from the use of fine, lightweight fabrics such as muslin, chiffon, and georgette, which not only enhance the intricate needlework but also provide a cooling effect in the warm climate of Lucknow, where Chikankari originated. These sheer fabrics allow the subtle beauty of the single and double-thread embroidery techniques to shine through, creating a harmonious blend of texture and translucence. The result is a garment that embodies elegance and sophistication, making Chikankari a timeless and cherished tradition in the world of fashion.
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