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Talk on Chikankari Stitches

              Let me talk little about chikankari embroidery stitches. In my previous post ,shared little bit information about Applique work in chikankari. In this post i shall discuss few stitches in chikankari.

Chikankari Embroidery

                     Chikankari embroidery stitches, it is combination of basic stitches and few stitches unique in itself and exclusively used in chikankari embroidery. In chikankari, one has to play with number of strands. Beauty of a stitch depends on, selecting number of strands to work a stitch and if proper number of strands correctly accessed for each stitch, then even a simple stitch looks different.

Chikankari Embroidery

              In this project, stitches that i worked are Rahet, Tepchi, Phanda, Keel, Balda, Ghass patti ,Bhakya, Rozan, Janjira . I know these names sounds different, Its lucknowi Mughal terms of describing stitch names in chikankari. So let me break it down to simpler version, in the form of  basic simple stitch language.

Stitches Used in Chikankari 

                   Above picture describes which stitch used exactly where. Let me start with center main stem, the main stem is worked with " Balda " stitch. Observe below picture.

Working Instruction of Balda stitch

                        " Balda " stitch is nothing but couched running stitch. First work running stitch and then couch over running stitch as shown in above picture. Here for running stitch 6 strands and for couching 2 strands of thread are used.

Chikankari Embroidery

                  For rest of branches, " Rahet " stitch is worked. " Rahet " is stem stitch and i worked Rahet with 2 strands of thread.

Phanda, Bakhya, Janjira stitches

                  Observe above picture, the petals in flower is worked with " Bakhya " stitch and 3 strands of thread is used. " Bakhya " is Herringbone stitch or double back stitch. Here herringbone stitch is worked in reverse manner where only back stitch is visible in front and actual crossing is at back side as shown in below picture.

Herringbone stitch

                        To highlight this flower, " Janjira " stitch is worked with single strand of thread around the petals. " Janjira " is chain stitch. In chikankari, Janjira is mainly used to highlight a motif and some prefer to work janjira stitch with tambour needle. Center of flower is worked with " Rozan ". " Rozan " is eyelet stitch worked with 2 strands of thread. First running stitch is worked around circle and later running stitch is couched by making hole in center.

Phanda stitch
                     Observe above picture, " Phanda " stitch is worked to form small leaves. " Phanda " stitch is detached chain. Phanda stitch is worked with 3 or 4 strands of thread and work detached chain for 3 times one upon the other to get embossed effect.

Tepchi, Balda, Bakhya stitches

                    Observe above picture, leaf like motif is worked with Bakhya stitch in center and outlined with Balda stitch. Outside tiny leaf attached to main big leaf is worked with " Tepchi ". " Tepchi " is running stitch and worked with 2 strands of thread.

Ghass patti, Keel, Bakhya stitches

                         In above picture, center of flower is worked with " Keel " stitch using 6 strands of thread. Center of  " Keel " stitch is worked with phanda and around phanda, Roman stitch is worked. Below picture shows working of roman stitch. Start at point 1 ie come out at point 1 and go back at point 2, then come out point 3 and end at point 4.

Roman stitch
                              Around keel , bakhya stitch is worked. And for petals " Ghass patti " stitch is worked. " Ghass Patti " is fishbone stitch worked with 6 strands of thread. Working of fishbone stitch is shown below.

Fishbone stitch

                     In below picture, two leaves are worked with Bakhya stitch and highlighted with Janjira stitch.

Bakhya, Janjira stitches
                                    Simple stitches worked with proper number of strands and appropriate stitches for each design makes any motif look good. Chikankari embroidery is usually done on white fabric and white thread or on pastel shades fabric and its matching thread. But while working with colored threads and using same number of strands as mentioned above, sometimes it looks odd. So one has to be very careful while working with colored threads. Try to vary number of strands while working with colored threads, bit of trial and error is required to know how many strands of thread is required to work with colored threads.

Chikankari Embroidery

                 Hope you all enjoyed this post on chikankari stitches. To all my embroidery friends wishing you all " Happy New Year ". Keep stitching !!!!!


  1. Preeti Nice article onChikankari. i have tried phanda stitch with detached chain. but I am not getting a embossed and closed effect. i am getting a open space in the centre.Can u clarify? How to achieve that embossed effect?

  2. Hi Shami, its bit tricky, Take 3 or 4 strands of thread, separate each strand and reline it together, thread preparation part. Next while working detached chain, while ending each chain pull slightly downwards, pulling downwards helps stitch to be close and no gap in center is seen. Next when working second and third chain, end close to first chain but not same point, later spread threads around with ur finger tip. Hope this helps u. Let me know it worked or not !!!

  3. Hi Preethi, Your work is fantastic. Can you please help me with the sources for a custom made chikan saree any where in india online.

  4. Thank you very much Bindu, i am not much into retail embroidery, but check this link

    Its FB link, here u can find amazing chikan embroidery. I am not sure whether they do custom order. Pls check with them.

    1. Very nice of you Preethi...Thank you.

  5. Hello preethi! you have a good knowledge about chikan embroidery and i want to stitch it.and hope I will do such as you.Thanks.
    Chikankari Embroidery

  6. Thank u very much Aradhana Nigam. Please do try, i am sure u will enjoy it.

  7. very beautiful work and informative article.Can you post some Article on kangan and murri stitches also??

  8. Thank you Fatima, Chikankari is vast subject, i will surely try for some more !!!

  9. Hi Preethi,
    Awesome work...
    could you please post phanda stich diagram.. i am confused by detaching chain stitch.. please guide me

    1. Hi Sweatha , Phanda stitch is worked in two three ways, one which i worked is with detached chain, detached chain is nothing but laizy daizy stitch, work one chain stitch and end it, again work one more chain at same starting and end point. Like this work three stitches one upon other.

  10. Nice blog! well explained of the various stitches and beautiful results shown. Thanks for sharing!
    Buy Online Chikankari | Chikankari Products in India

  11. It is still going on so that people are selecting other technique of cloth but I recommend about embroidery technique because it is an interesting mix of clothing design. I suggest to people about hand embroidered coats, trousers etc.

    1. Thank you Neeraj for sharing your thought, ya its individual interest and patience level.

  12. Hi Preethi, in the above pics what fabric have u used? What fabric is generally preferred for chikkan work?

    1. Hi Shveta, wish you a very Happy New Year !!!!. In above pic, i have used a crepe kind of material. My personal preference would be muslin or any thin cotton cloth, being my first option. You can also try chiffon, crepe material as well.


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