DIY Chikankari: A Step-by-Step Guide to Embellishing Your Kurtis - Inayakhan Shop

DIY Chikankari: A Step-by-Step Guide to Embellishing Your Kurtis

Chikankari is an exquisite and timeless embroidery technique that originated in Lucknow, India. Known for its delicate and intricate threadwork, Chikankari can transform plain fabric into a work of art. If you're a fan of kurtis and want to add a touch of elegance to your wardrobe, why not try DIY Chikankari?

In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of embellishing your kurtis with this beautiful embroidery technique.

Materials You'll Need:

Kurti: Choose a plain or lightly colored kurti as your base. Lighter fabrics like cotton, linen, or georgette work well for Chikankari.

Chikankari Patterns: You can find Chikankari patterns online or in books. Alternatively, you can create your own design or sketch.

Carbon Paper: To transfer your design onto the fabric.

Needles: Chikankari involves fine, sharp needles for various stitches.

Threads: Use fine, high-quality embroidery threads in various colors. Traditional Chikankari uses white thread, but you can get creative with colors.

Embroidery Hoop: This helps hold the fabric taut while you work.

Scissors: For cutting threads and excess fabric.

Water-Soluble Pen: For marking the fabric.

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Prepare Your Kurti:

Wash and iron your kurti to ensure it's clean and wrinkle-free.
Place the kurti on a flat surface, ready for embroidery.

2. Select a Chikankari Pattern:

Choose a pattern that suits your kurti's design and your skill level.
Place carbon paper underneath the pattern and trace it onto the fabric. Ensure the lines are visible but not too dark.

3. Set Up Your Embroidery Hoop:

Place your fabric inside the embroidery hoop, making sure it's tight and secure. This helps maintain tension while you work.

4. Start with the Baseline Stitches:

Chikankari consists of various stitches, with the "Shadow Work" technique being one of the most common.

Begin with the shadow work stitches, which involve creating outlines with small straight stitches.

5. Tepchi Stitch:

Tepchi stitch is fundamental in Chikankari. It's similar to a running stitch but smaller and finer.

Use Tepchi stitch to fill in the outlined areas and create delicate patterns.

6. Work on Other Stitches:

Depending on your design, you can incorporate stitches like Bhakia (herringbone stitch), Murri (a raised dot stitch), and Phanda (tiny knots).
These stitches add texture and intricacy to your Chikankari design.

7. Create Texture and Depth:

Chikankari often involves creating shadow effects by varying the thickness of the stitches and using different stitch directions.
Experiment with your stitches to achieve a three-dimensional effect.

8. Add Embellishments (Optional):

You can enhance your Chikankari design with sequins, beads, or even small mirrors for a touch of sparkle.

9. Finishing Touches:

Once you're satisfied with your Chikankari work, remove the fabric from the hoop.
Carefully trim any excess threads and clean up the design.

10. Wash and Press:

Gently wash your kurti to remove any markings or stains.
Iron it again to set the stitches and give your Chikankari kurti a polished look.


DIY Chikankari is a creative and satisfying way to embellish your kurtis and infuse them with a touch of Indian elegance. With practice and patience, you can master this timeless art form and create stunning Chikankari designs that showcase your unique style. Enjoy the process, and wear your beautifully embroidered kurtis with pride!

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