A handloom is a set of fabrics woven by hand on a weaving device called the loom. Each piece of handloom fabric is unique and timeless, a piece of ethnic clothing with a deep connection to the emotion of the weaver. In fact, it is said that even if two weavers with the same skill levels weave the same fabric on the loom, they will still be different.
Handloom products have recently been gaining massive popularity among Indians for many reasons. The rise of sustainable fashion is creating a huge demand among consumers for handmade and handwoven products made from natural substances. Interestingly, with growing awareness about their cultural roots, consumers are embracing ethnic wear like never before. To add to it, the refreshing feel, texture, and traditionally distinct designs used in handloom products today are drawing more and more fashion-conscious people towards it. On top of it, the option to buy ethnic wear online plays a significant role in making them readily available and commercially viable.
A big chunk of the shift towards handloom is seen in the segment of handloom sarees. So much so that today it tops the market segment of women's ethnic wear online, especially during the festival season. Even though they are expensive compared to their counterparts, handloom sarees are immensely beautiful, captivating, and have a unique personality. It is no surprise that every Indian woman, wherever they are, would undoubtedly have a small or big collection of handloom sarees in their wardrobe. And they love to flaunt it, especially during the festival season!
The Making of Handloom Sarees
The most commonly used raw materials for handloom weaving are cotton, silk, wool, and linen. Making the handloom saree is a time-consuming and physically exhausting process. Here is a quick view of this process for your understanding:
Winding: It is the process of creating large packages using yarns from a ring, bobbin, or hank.
Warping: The process of forming a sheet by combing yarns from separate cones is called Warping.
Dyeing: Weavers in India use the hank yarn dyeing technique with natural dyes extracted from plants and minerals to dye the yarn.
Sizing: Starch from natural sizing materials such as rice, maize, wheat flour, or potato is spread on the yarn and dried. This creates a protective coating on the yarn that minimizes its breakage during weaving.
Dressing: This process involves aligning and separating the warp yarns before loading them onto the loom. The starched and aligned yarns are wound around a wooden beam and carried to the loom.
Weaving: The weaving process comprises interlacing warp and weft yarn with a set pattern of pressing the foot pedals and throwing the weft or horizontal yards according to the weave plan. The result of this intense, long process is the saree which is then rolled on a wooden beam at the bottom of the handloom. Each saree takes about 8-9 hours to finish from the start.
Techniques and Traditions Used in Producing Handloom Sarees
Different states in India have their own unique designs, techniques, and traditions of weaving handloom sarees. Be it the Kanjivaram, Tussar, Baluchari, Chanderi, Banarasi, or the Tant, each handloom sarees have its hallmarks that are heavily inspired by the region's traditions where they are woven.
Few techniques that are known to be used in producing high-quality handloom sarees are as follows:
The meenakari technique creatively adds the colored Resham threads during the handweaving process, giving the final sari a unique charm and beauty, making it stunning and opulent – an alluring and charming ethnic wear for women.
Known to be a specialized and complex weaving technique used by expert weavers, sarees with Tanchoi work involves finely woven Banarasi saris adorned with gold or silver zari work. Pure mulberry silk yarns are used to create detailed and beautiful patterns of flowers and birds, blended seamlessly with stunning embroidery, making it grand and elegant. Sarees with Tanchoi work are used for special occasions such as weddings, festivals, and formal ceremonies.
Jangla Banarasi Technique
The characteristic jungle-inspired intricate and detailed design, pattern, and concept of the Jangla Banarasi technique distinguishes it from other Banarasi sarees and represents the best of artistry among Banarasi saree weavers. The striking feature of this technique is the design of flowers and leaves blended extravagantly with Meenakari work and heavy intricate weaving all over the saree.
Three Handloom Sarees That Will Win You Over this Festive Season
Unlike earlier times when you had to go looking for handloom sarees in your nearest Khadi Bhandars or specific shops, now you can buy ethnic wear online conveniently. Here is a list of handpicked handloom sarees that promises to make the special festival season all the more special for you.
This exquisite, handcrafted Chanderi silk saree promises to elevate your look to the next level. The soothing pink blends beautifully with the minimalistic rich golden design, combined with the sheer texture of fluid gajari Chanderi, making it an absolute must-have in your collection. The product also includes a blouse piece.
Handwoven by women artisans on traditional looms of Assam, the natural indigo Eri Silk Saree by Arras is worth every penny and should be part of every women’s exclusive personal collection. Made with handspun yarn and dyed using natural sources ( indigo & tea-leaf), this product is 100% handmade. Eri Silk is also called pure ahimsa silk as it does not kill the moth in fiber extraction.
A perfect representation of Indian ethnic wear, the peach & copper Maheshwari Silk Saree will complete your personal collection of ethnic clothing. A splendid weave of peach and blue natural yarns underlined with exquisite gold and copper zari, this product is like a beautiful soul, making you and everything around you feel pleasant and classy. It comprises fine striped blue and peach as a base combined with horizontal copper stripes with a gold and silver zari kinari and a zari pallu – all handwoven.
Visit an Indian ethnic wear online shopping website such as www.amala.earth for more such products and their details. Amala Earth is a one-stop curated marketplace for all things earth-friendly in beauty, fashion, home, food, wellness, festive gifting, and much more! Shop from a wide range of handloom sarees and other ethnic wear on Amala Earth.