The main tools used in Chikankari embroidery are the printing blocks, embroidery frames and needles. The materials used are removable colours to print the design on the fabric, cotton or resham threads to carry out work and the base fabric such as muslin, cotton, silk, georgette, organza, chiffon and net.
Wooden blocks are used to print the design on the fabric using temporary colours by block printing. The design is then embroidered using various chikan embroidery stitches followed by washing the piece so as to remove any trace of the rough print of the design or dirt.
The embroidery is done by a number of skilled artisans, especially woman, each of them are specialized in particular type of stitch. Finally excess hanging threads are cut and the fabric is stitched into a garment.
There are 36 unique types of stitches which are used in Chikankari embroidery. These are -, Bakhiya (Shadow Work),Keel kangan, Phanda, Ghas patti, Tepchi, Sidhaul, Bulbul, Hool, Zanzeera, Jora, Rahet, Baalda, Banarsi, Chanapatti, Khatau, Meharki, Rozan, Murri, Dhania-patti, Jali, Kangan, Janjeera, Turpai, Taj Mahal, Bulbul-chasm, Darzdari, Madrazi, Pechani, Kapkapi, Bijli, Karan, Sazi, Makra, Banjkali, Kauri and Hathkadi.
Chikankari work was originated in Lucknow and is the hub where it is practiced to date in India. Chikankari work here is known as ‘Lucknawi Chikan’.