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Silk Sarees

Silk, one of the most popular textiles in India and in world, was originated from Ancient China. Silks were originally reserved for the Emperors of China for their own use and gifts to others, but spread gradually through Chinese culture and trade both geographically and socially, and then to many regions of Asia. Because of its texture and lustre, silk rapidly became a popular luxury fabric in the many areas accessible to Chinese merchants. Silk was in great demand, and became a staple of pre-industrial international trade. In the ancient era, silk from China was the most lucrative and sought-after luxury item traded across the Eurasian continent, and many civilizations, such as the ancient Persians, benefited economically from trade.

Silk has a long history in India. It is known as Resham in eastern and north India, and Pattu in southern parts of India. India is the second largest producer of silk in the world after China. About 97% of the raw silk comes from five Indian states, namely, Andhra pradesh, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal North Bangalore, the upcoming site of a $20 million "Silk City" Ramnagara and Mysore, contribute to a majority of silk production in Karnataka. India is also the largest consumer of silk in the world. The tradition of wearing silk sarees for marriages and other auspicious ceremonies is a custom in Assam and southern parts of India. Silk is considered to be a symbol of royalty, and, historically, silk was used primarily by the upper classes. Silk garments and sarees produced in Kanchipuram, Pochampally,  Dharmavaram, Mysore, Arani in the south, Banaras in the north, and Murshidabad in the east are well recognized. In the northeastern state of Assam three different types of silk are produced, collectively called Assam silk: Muga, Eri and Pat silk. Muga, the golden silk, and Eri are produced by silkworms that are native only to Assam.

According to Hindu Mythology, silk weavers are the descendants of Sage Markanda, the master weaver of Gods who is supposed to have woven tissue from lotus fiber. Also, while cotton is considered to be the favourite fabric of Lord Shiva, silk was preferred by Lord Vishnu. Silk sarees are distinguished by their wide contrast borders. Temple borders, checks, stripes and floral (buttas) are traditional designs found on a Kanchipuram sarees. These are sarees with rich woven pallu showing paintings of Raja Ravi Verma and epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Kanchipuram sarees vary widely in cost depending upon the intricacy of work, colors, pattern, material used like zari (gold thread) etc. The silk is also known for its quality and craftsmanship, which has helped earn its name. To weave a Kanchipuram saree three shuttles are used. While the weaver works on the right side, his aide works on the left side shuttle. The border color and design are usually quite different from the body. If the pallu (the hanging end of the sari) has to be woven in a different shade, it is first separately woven and then delicately joined to the Saree. The part where the body meets the pallu is often denoted by a zig zag line. In a genuine Kanchipuram Silk Saree, body and border are woven separately and then interlocked together. The joint is woven so strongly that even if the saree tears, the border will not detach.

Silk sarees possess the same traditional value in south and east, the Banarasi sarees do in the north. They are gifted to the bride as a symbol of gratitude on her wedding. Sarees possess a great importance in ethnic clothes and silk sarees are like cherry on the pie in the world of Indian ethnics.

 

~Author : Karishma Srivastava

 

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Banarasi Silk Sarees

Banaras, the city which is known to be the land of Lord Shiva and its own diversity in culture. One side it has serenity and peace of Ghats, on the other side there is tingling of numerous bells, uncontrollable traffic and hullabaloo of life all around. The two faces of this city are in complete contrast with each other. But the city is undoubtedly a hub of culture and art. Be it painting, sculpture, music, dance or textiles, the city has its own precedents and one such example is the Banarasi silk sareesThere are four main varieties of Banarasi saree, which includes pure silk (Katan), Organza (Kora) with Zari and silk; Georgette and Shattir, and according to design process, they are divided into categories like, Jangla, Tanchoi, Vaskat, Cutwork, Tissue and Butidar.

Banaras was a thriving sector of cotton textile industries in the sixteenth century. The earliest mention of the brocade and Zari textiles of Banaras is found in the 19th century. With the migration of silk weavers from Gujarat during the famine of 1603, it is likely that silk brocade weaving started in Banaras in the seventeenth century and developed in excellence during the 18th and 19th century. During the Mughal period, around 14th century, weaving of with intricate designs using gold and silver threads became the specialty of Banaras.

The traditional Banarasi saree is done with lot of hard work and skillful work using the silk. The saree making is a cottage industry for about 1.2 million people associated directly or indirectly with the hand loom silk industry of the region around Varanasi encompassing Gorakhpur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts. There are certain laws introduced by the government for the betterment of the silk weavers if this region, as per the GI certificate, Banarasi products fall under four classes (23–26), namely silk brocades, textile goods, silk saree, dress material and silk embroidery. Most importantly this means that no saree or brocade made outside the six identified districts of Uttar Pradesh, that is Varanasi, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts can be legally sold under the name of Banaras saree and brocade.

Besides the beauty and elegance of this unmatched work of weaving, these sarees also possess traditional importance in India, especially among the people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Women drape themselves in Banarasi silk sarees for any of the special occasions such as weddings, preachings and other small functions. Brides are gifted a set of five or seven Banarasi silk sarees as a symbol of gratitude in their wedding. Despite the emergence of different other clothes which are less expensive and easy to wear, this woven wonder never lost its popularity and continued beautifying the women of India and many other countries in its own unique way.

~Author : Karishma Srivastava

 

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Saree

Although westernisation has brought a drastic overhaul in the traditions and cultures of India too but we never left our own long practiced cultures, we just kept adding to it; the way we didn't give up daal-chawal , we just added pizza to our menu; the way we just added jeans and tees to our wardrobes but these could never replace the ethnics. There is a long story of ethnic clothes in our country and to summarise that, we can say, for every special occasion we search for ethnics in our wardrobes.

In India, we have a vast variety of ethnic clothes which vary from region to region and state to state, just like the languages. But few clothes, namely saree is one attire that is the vogue throughout the country. From the eldest of the women to the youngest ones, saree is the most popular outfit among females here. Though the styles of wearing it varies, accordingly with the region and age factor. Red is most favourite color for wedding sarees and traditional garment choice for brides in Indian culture.Women traditionally wore various types of regional handloom sarees made of silk, cotton, ikkat, block-print, embroidery and tie-dye textiles. Most sought after brocade silk sarees are Banasari, Kanchipuram, Paithani, Mysore, Uppada, Bagalpuri, Balchuri, Maheshwari, Chanderi, Mekhela, Ghicha, Narayan pet and Eri etc are traditionally worn for festive and formal occasions. Silk Ikat and cotton sarees known as Patola, Pochampally, Bomkai, Khandua, Sambalpuri, Gadwal, Berhampuri, Bargarh, Jamdani, Tant, Mangalagiri, Guntur, Narayan pet, Chanderi, Maheshwari, Nuapatn, Tussar, Ilkal, Kotpad and Manipuri were worn for both festive and everyday attire. Tie died and block-print sarees known as Bandhani, Leheria/Leheriya, Bagru, Ajrakh, Sungudi, Kota Dabu/Dabu print, Bagh and Kalamkari were traditionally worn during monsoon season. Gota Patti is a popular form of traditional embroidery used on sarees for formal occasions, various other types of traditional folk embroidery such mochi, pakko, kharak, suf, kathi, phulkari and gamthi are also commonly used for both informal and formal occasion.Today, modern fabrics like polyester, georgette and charmeuse are also commonly used.

Maharani Indira Devi of Cooch Behar popularised the chiffon saree. The chiffon saree did what years of fashion interaction had not done in India. It homogenised fashion across this land. Its softness, lightness and beautiful, elegant, caressing drape was ideally suited to the Indian climate. Different courts adopted their own styles of draping and indigenising the saree. In most of the courts the saree was embellished with stitching hand-woven borders in gold from Varanasi, delicate zardozi work, gota, makaish and tilla work that embellished the plain fabric, simultaneously satisfying both traditional demands and ingrained love for ornamentation.

The most popular style of draping saree is the Nivi style, originated from Andhra Pradesh. Nivi drape starts with one end of the sari tucked into the waistband of the petticoat, usually a plain skirt. The cloth is wrapped around the lower body once, then hand-gathered into even pleats below the navel. The pleats are tucked into the waistband of the petticoat. They create a graceful, decorative effect which poets have likened to the petals of a flower. After one more turn around the waist, the loose end is draped over the shoulder. The loose end is called the pallu, pallav, seragu, or paita depending on the language. It is draped diagonally in front of the torso. It is worn across the right hip to over the left shoulder, partly baring the midriff. There are many more styles to drape a saree, recorded 80 ways but the nivi drape, the seedha pallu drape, mekhla drape , dhoti drape and madisar drape are few of the most commonly wore drapes.

Saree, being a vogue in India, is also making a prominent place in the international fashion world. From common people to celebrities, sarees have adorned every woman of India in its own way of defining beauty and elegance.

 

~Author : Karishma Srivastava

 

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What is a Handloom?

This is a machine that’s used for weaving and it’s requiring manual power in order to work. The device is very simple and it’s not automatic, which means that a person needs to be in front of it in order to operate it properly.

Weaving with a Handloom is very easy and it doesn’t require a lot of knowledge. This makes it a versatile and professional tool that can be used by expert weavers but it will also cater to beginners. Most of the Handloom models feature a wooden vertical shaft where the heddles are put into place. 

The way the Handloom works is a warp thread will pass through a heddle as well as a space found in between the heddles which is called the shed. When the weaver will raise the shaft of the Handloom he will actually raise half of the threads that are currently going through the heddles. As you can expect, lowering the shaft will lower the same thread. An important thing to note is that the threads that are passing through the spaces are kept in place. The Handloom is not a new discovery, instead it was used by the Chinese and many other Asian cultures well before it arrived to Europe!

Why use a handloom?

Even though a handloom might not be the best option in the weaving industry, there are still companies are professionals that still use it. There are plenty of reasons why a Handloom can still be a very good option:

  • You get much better control over the weaving process. You won’t rely on machines and instead you can make changes on the spot which offers better quality results.
  • You can control the working speed and weave with better accuracy which is not the option for mechanized models.
  • It’s inexpensive so you can easily acquire a Handloom in case you need one. Usually many weavers still have a handloom because it’s functional and it can help them treat special threads with extra care.
  • Since it doesn’t rely on electricity, the Handloom can be used at any given time even if you don’t have any source of electricity. And while it’s heavy, you can move it and use it wherever you want, all thanks to the fact that you don’t need to plug it in at all.

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Loom

Are you wondering what is a loom? If you are interested in tapestry and clothing industry then knowing what a loom is should be imperative, so read onward to find out what it is and how it can help you!

What is a Loom?

Looms are devices that are designed to weave tapestry and cloth. What they do is they are holding the warp threads under a lot of tension all so that they can facilitate the weft thread interweaving. The basic function is similar for all loom types, even if they have various shapes and mechanics.

A loom has multiple components and they are harnesses, heddles, the warp beam, reed, shuttle and the take-up roll. Within the loom you will be able to find multiple functions that pertain to yarn processing. These include picking, shedding, taking up and battening. 

Each loom has two secondary motions. This comes from the fact that each time you start a weaving process the fabric has to be wound on the cloth beam, a process that is called taking up. You have to keep in mind that the warp yarns need to be released or even let off from the warp beams. Some looms are automatic and others aren’t. In order for a loom to be automatic it will require a tertiary motion. The tertiary motion needs to be controlled properly otherwise it can lead to the breaking of the weft thread which will lead to loom malfunctions.

Types of loom

The oldest type of loom is the back strap one. People have used it for centuries and the way it works is actually very simple. It features two bars or sticks within the warps will be stretched.

Warp weighted looms are also popular, and these are characterized by hanging weights that will maintain the warp thread bundles under complete control. They make it easier for the weaver to deal with the constraints that would come from vertical size, so it’s quite popular for weavers that operate in smaller locations.

Drawlooms are manually operated and they are suitable for the weaving process that pertains to figured cloth. This type of looms features a figure harness that keeps all the warp threads under control. One thing to note is that such a loom will require a weaver as well as an assistant. The latter person has to track as well as manage the harness figure.

Another type of loom is the flying shuttle. This is a device that was invented during the industrial revolution and which managed to bring in new mechanics and better control for wavers. It’s one of the main precursors for the modern Looming machines.

Some of the other types of looms that you can find include the pegged loom, free standing loom, pit loom, ribbon weaving, simple frame loom and many others. 

In conclusion, looms are some of the most important tools for weavers and they are designed in order to make the entire weaving process simpler and a lot more seamless. Using a loom does require skill and expertise so many times you will have to be an apprentice before you become a weaver and harness the true power of such a device.

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Georgette Fabric

Georgette is a sheer, crinkled and light fabric that was designed in order to offer a refined, unique look. It’s one of the materials that offers very powerful absorbing properties and at the same time it’s easy to dye. Georgette has a very dull to rough texture that makes it quite hard to rip and that on its own helps you obtain some great results in the end.

One of the things to keep in mind is that the Georgette material is woven with Z&S twisted yarns, in both weft and warp. Most of the time you will see that Georgette is woven either faux or pure. The faux variant is woven from Polyester and Rayon whereas the pure one is woven from Silk Yarn.

Georgette is one of the newer materials out there as it was discovered at the beginning of the 20th century. There were numerous sources of inspiration when it came to creating Georgette and one of the main fabrics used as inspiration was Chiffon. Unlike Chiffon however, Georgette is a much stronger fabric and that does convey a lot of durability to the entire material.

You can find Georgette in either opaque or translucent materials depending on your needs and expectations. Women like the idea of wearing Georgette because not only does it allow them to bring out their physique, but the material also has a twisted and crushed feel which makes it very appealing and nothing short of extraordinary.

The regular Georgette was created out of silk and it had rayon blends. However the modern Georgette is created with synthetic filaments in order to maintain the costs as low as possible. One of the intriguing sides here is the crepe twist that is designed via the alternation of two ends. That on its own manages to bring in front a very good value.

There are plenty of Georgette varieties out there and each one pertains to its own specific category. With that in mind, you can find Jacquard, Nylon, Viscose, Silk, Polyester and Satin Georgette. All of these have different pricing based on their density and the material that was used for creating them.

Georgette manages to offer a very distinct and unique look which is the reason why many designers are using it. The most common fashion items created out of Georgette include things like skirts, gowns, blouses, saris, dresses and many others. There are many designers that actually use this material in order to accessorize their designs, all thanks to the absorbing qualities offered by the material.

Maintaining Georgette is very easy since you can hand wash it and you just need to use just a little detergent depending on the situation. You can air dry it, you don’t have to use a machine for that. 

Despite the fact that Georgette is expensive in regards to other variations, this is a unique type of garment and one that was worn by aristocrats and royal families for many years. That’s what manages to offer Georgette a distinct, unique and appealing look.

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Chiffon Fabric

Chiffon is a type of balanced plain woven sheer fabric that is lightweight and which is comprised out of alternate Z and S twist crepe yarns. It’s the twist in the crepe yarns that allows it to have a very distinct and unique stretch and value. 

One thing to note about Chiffon is that it’s made either out of synthetic, silk or cotton. The material will differ depending on where it’s created and the value will also change based on the material that was used for it. Chiffon will be similar to a mesh or fine net if you look through the magnifying glass.

This is one of the things that managed to offer Chiffon a unique see-through property. While not entirely transparent, this is one of the few fabrics that offer you great value and it does make it very different when compared to other types of fabric out there. Another great thing about Chiffon is that it actually can be made from natural fibers and these can be dyed to any shade that you want. 

If the Chiffon is made out of polyester however there will be the need for professional and distinct disperse dyes but the process is fast and very reliable. 

Moreover, sewing Chiffon can be a little challenging. Some crafters add a small piece of tissue paper between the 2 pieces that are currently being sewn together. One thing to note here is that the tissue paper is added in order to maintain the integrity of the fabric. Its rough surface actually manages to maintain the Chiffon in the designated place while you handle it. You can easily remove the tissue paper with extra care after you finalize the ripping out process. 

In addition to that, Chiffon is a pinnable material and you can easily use this feature in a variety of ways depending on your needs and expectations. 

Chiffon is quite hard to manage and use if you’re not careful. This is the reason why all the sewers receive special instructions when they use this material. They need to work slow and steadily because with their help you will be able to obtain incredible value and outstanding results at all times. What you will appreciate here is the fact that Chiffon does offer some incredible set of visuals and it’s a material with a stellar visual appeal.

The fact that it’s lightweight makes Chiffon a pleasure to wear and it does offer a very distinct appeal at all times. It’s one of the few fabrics on the market that nurture elegance and offers a great outcome for its users. Another thing to note is that Chiffon is widely known as a very light pink, something that does make quite the difference in the fabric world. Also, this is not a very expensive fabric which makes it accessible for just about everyone.

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Some Benefits of Silk

White Silk Fabric

Some Benefits of Silk

Silk has a very natural texture and it is one of the most hypoallergenic of all the fabrics out there. In other words, if you suffer from allergies then it is one of the best clothing materials you could ever hope for so this is one of the many things that you need to keep in mind when the time comes for you to choose your garments. Of course, that is just one of the many benefits you get when you choose silk over the other fabrics that are out there and you would be surprised at how much it could benefit you in general.

It’s All Climate

Silk is an all climate fabric. That means that it is very cosy in winter and it also means that when the temperatures do rise, that it is very good at regulating temperatures as well. This alone shows that it has a paradoxical ability to make you warmer and cooler in general. You can also wear silk as a second layer if you want to stay warm without having to add much bulk to whatever you are wearing.

It’s Absorbent

Silk is very absorbent and it can dry very quickly as well. On top of this, it can absorb up to 30% of its own water weight and you will find that it doesn’t feel damp at all. You will also find that it can absorb any perspiration while letting your skin breathe still. In some ways, it can be compared to cotton but the feel and touch of it is so much nicer when compared.

It’s Odor Resistant

Silk while being smooth to touch is also quite resistant to soil, odor and wrinkles. Its natural protein structure makes it very resistant against dirt, mold and other compounds that cause odors.

It’s Strong

You may think that silk is one of the most delicate materials out there but this is not the case at all. In fact it is one of the most robust materials out there. On top of this, it is one of the strongest natural fibers. Because its made from long, tightly woven strand of individual fibers, the clothing made from silk is naturally resistant to rips and tears. Clothes made from silk last for a very long time.

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