About Indian Fabrics
AJRAKH. Traditionally, Ajrak is the name of a block printed cloth with deep crimson red and indigo blue background, bearing symmetrical patterns with interspersed unprinted sparkling white motifs. An ancient craft, the history of the Ajrak can be traced back to the civilizations of the Indus Valley that existed around 2500 BC-1500 BC.
AJRAKH PRINTS IN NATURAL DYES:- After the partition of India the production of Ajrak was carried out in Kutch, Rajasthan and Gujarat which was once the easternmost portions of Sindh. The names and Patterns are fairly similar to those found in Sindh. There are no indications of different Traditions developing in terms of patterns used, as the influence of the Sindhi culture is still very strong in Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan. Block printing is an ancient Indian textile tradition. Cloth with block printing has been found dated back as early as 2000BC. Today this cultural tradition has been kept alive in villages Block printing represents a craft that provides a sustainable livelihood to the local families and We are dedicated to keep that craft a viable part of India’s village economy.
The wood-blocks are hand carved in elaborate designs; each colour is printed with a different block to complete the motif. A high degree of skill is required for both the placement of motifs and the application of pressure. Altogether there can be as many as 16 blocks to create a 5 colour design. A set of blocks can be used to print on average 1500-2000met of fabric. Colours used for printing are derived from non toxic chemicals, minerals and vegetable origin. Chemical dyes have replaced vegetable pigments to withstand present day washing care and colourfast requirements. A block printed cloth reflects the touch of the human hand, the sensibility and skill of the craftsman; every piece unique.
Each piece of fabric is hand-dyed, block-printed and finished at Real Handicrafts Ajrakhpur, Kutch-Gujarat,India by grass-roots artisans using skills and techniques passed down through the generations. WE are leading manufacturer of Hand block printed Saree’s, Dupattas, Stoles, Bed Sheet, Unstitched Suit Set’s, Dress material in natural colours & Vegetable dyes, where entire villages derive their livelihood from the craft of hand block printing.
BAGH: The origins of the Bagh print are uncertain, but it is believed that the practice is over 1,000 years old, with the techniques having been handed down through family practice from generation to generation. Bagh print is a traditional Indian handicraft originating in Bagh, Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, India. The process is characterized by hand printed woodblock relief prints with naturally sourced pigments and dyes. Bagh print fabric motifs are typically geometric, paisley, or floral compositions dyed with vegetable colours of red and black over a white background, and are a popular textile printing product. Its name is derived from the village Bagh located on the banks of the Bagh River.
Variety of cloth with Bagh Print readily available: Double Bhatti Bagh (only red tint), Bagh Print on Maheshwari, Bagh Print on Cotton, Bagh Print on Chanderi, Bagh Print on Shantoon, Bagh Print on Georgette.
Variety of cloth with Bagh Print only on bulk order: Bagh Print on Silk, Bagh Print on Kosa, Bagh Print on Lenin.
MAHESHWARI: The origin of the Maheshwari sarees dates back to the 18th century, when the state of Indore in Madhya Pradesh was ruled by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar. … It is believed that Queen Ahilyabai herself created the design of the first saree, With fine cotton yarns in its weft and silk in the warp, this fabric islight and airy for the summers, yet has the subtle luster of silk. The Maheshwari sari is not made by one person or one community, but the entire town is involved in this craft in some way or another. According to legends, Queen Ahilyabai ordered craftsmen from Surat and Malwa to design special 9-yard sarees to be gifted to royal guests and relatives. The sarees that were produced by these craftsmen became popular as Maheshwari sarees. It is believed that Queen Ahilyabai herself created the design of the first saree. These sarees were originally worn by the ladies of royal status, but nowadays, they are available in both national and international markets.
Originally, the Maheshwari saree was made of pure silk. Then in course of time, these sarees began to be made in pure cotton and with a mixture of silk and cotton (silk yarn in the warp and cotton in the weft). Nowadays, wool is also being used in the production of Maheshwari sarees. These sarees are extremely light in weight and present a sharp contrast to the Kanchipuram sarees of South India.
Maheshwari Sarees, Suits, Dupattas, Kurtis with different-different colors like Angoori (grape green), Dalimbi (deep pink), Gul Bakshi (magenta), Jaamla (purple), Tapkeer (deep brown), Aamrak (golden), Rani (deep pink), Dhaani (green) and Kaashi (light purple) as usually, vegetable dyes are used in the preparation of these sarees. These Silk and Cotton dress material and sarees are weaved with distinctive designs involving stripes, checks, and floral borders like Ganga Jamuna Border, Teen Kinar Border, Buta Pallu, Jari Skirt border, Resham Buti etc.
CHANDERI: Chanderi is a traditional ethnic fabric characterized by its lightweight, sheer texture and fine luxurious feel. Chanderi fabric is produced by weaving in silk and golden Zari in the traditional cotton yarn that results in the creation of the shimmering texture. The fabric borrowed its name from the small town Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh where traditional weavers practice the art of producing textured sarees in cotton and silk decorated with fine zari work. The weaving culture of Chanderi emerged between the 2nd and 7th centuries. It is situated on the boundary of two cultural regions of the state, Malwa and Bundelkhand. The people of the Vindhyachal Ranges have a wide range of traditions. In the 11th century the trade locations Malwa, Medwa, central India and south Gujarat increased the region’s importance. The Chanderi sari tradition began in the 13th century. In the beginning, the weavers were Muslims. Around 1350, Koshti weavers from Jhansi migrated to Chanderi and settled there. During the Mughal period, the textile business of Chanderi reached its peak.
Chanderi sarees and dress material are produced from three kinds of fabric: pure silk, Chanderi cotton and silk cotton. The patterns you can select are Traditional coin, floral art, peacocks, Motifs, Paisleys, Plain/ Solid, Polka Dots, geometric designs etc. Creation of unique buttis or motifs and the transparent or sheer texture of Chanderi fabric are the two prime characteristics that distinguish it from other handloom fabrics. The saris are among the finest in India and are known for their gold and silver brocade or zari, fine silk, and opulent embroidery.
BATIK: “Batik” is a term that has its origins in Indonesia. It may have been derived from a word called ‘ambatik’ that translates into “a dotted piece of cloth”. Batik is commonly used to describe a fabric dyeing process that utilizes a special resist method. In this technique, selected cloth areas are covered with a dye-proof substance as it helps prevent absorption of colours. The Java region in Indonesia is particularly known for its creative use of the Batik technique by skilled artists. The Batik fabric has grown to become quite popular all over the world, especially in Asian countries. One of the reasons for this popularity is that the technique allows an artist to be extremely creative. They can utilize actual drawings for applying patterns instead of using thread weaving. Also, Batik fabric is known for its durability. This means that colours used have a much higher resistance to wear as compared to printed or painted fabrics. Batik fabrics are also less likely to fade early and hence last for several years!
While modern batik fabrics take much inspiration from the past, they have very few similarities with the traditional styles. For instance, an artist might use discharge dyeing, etching, stencils and wax blends with custom resist values. He/she may also work with a variety of different fabrics like wool, silk, leather and cotton.
Batik is known to be among the most artistic techniques of fabric dyeing. It is also a very subtle resist method and allows artists to discover unique processes that help create innovative patterns for customers.
Batik art received an impetus when it was introduced as a subject at the famous university of Shantiniketan in Calcutta. Chola Mandal in Madras is also popular for its Batik product. Outside India, Indonesia is considered the cradle of batik with its many designs, which are restricted for different wearers and occasions. Indonesian batik has characters of mystic and ritualistic connection. Objects like flowers, trees and birds have a significant meaning. The Sawat in Javanese batik has its origins in Hindu mythology, as it is the decorative form of Garuda, Lord Vishnu’s bird. ‘Sidomukti’ is another Hindu influence in batik. ‘Mukti’ means happiness and prosperity in the Hindu mythology. While Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are known for their block printing (tjab) method to create batik on a large scale, in Sri Lanka batik is still made by hand. The art of Batik is also practiced in some African countries.
You can choose from Pillow cover, sarees, suits, Kurti, Bedsheet and dress material.
Zari, Zardozi: we have expert craftsmen for Zari-Zardozi.
The richest embroidery of India is the Zari and the zardozi, which is known since late 16th century. This art form was introduced in India by the Mughal invaders. The Bhopal city of Madhya Pradesh is also one of the places where the traditional way of zardozi is still practiced. This place has great historical experiences, which have their impression on the art and culture of the place. Bhopal has its own unique art and culture with the rich heritage.
Zardozi is a style of embroidery, which has been in India since the time of Ramayana, Mahabharata. The Actual original process of Zardozi is known as ‘Kalabatun’. Real gold and silver wires were used enclosed along with the silk threads to decorate satin and velvet fabrics. Along with the threads, other rich add-ons such as sequins, beads, precious and semi-precious stones and pearls were also sewn on. These kinds of embroidered works were used in the Mughal Era by the royalty to adorn tent walls in the form of tapestries and wall hangings, as well as on accessories for elephants and horses. Zardozi comes from two Persian words: zar or zarin meaning ‘gold’, and dozi meaning ‘sewing’. Zardozi is a type of heavy and elaborate metal embroidery on a silk, satin, or velvet fabric base. Designs are often created using gold and silver threads and can incorporate pearls, beads, and precious stones. It is used as decoration for a wide range of applications, including clothes, household textiles,
Historically, it was used to adorn the walls of royal tents, scabbards, wall hangings and the paraphernalia of regal elephants and horses.
Initially, the embroidery was done with pure silver wires and real gold leaves. However, today, craftsmen make use of a combination of copper wire, with a golden or silver polish, and silk thread.
Zari thread is used widely in weaving but more selectively in embroidery.For intricate patterns gijai or a thin, stiff wire is used; sitara, a small star-shaped metal piece is used for floral designs.This type of embroidery is called salma-sitara.The thicker kalabattu is a braided gold thread used for borders while the thinner variety is used at the end of the drawstring of purses or batwas, and in tassels, necklaces, and strings.Tikora is a gold thread spirally twisted for complicated designs.The dull zari thread is called kora and the more shiny one is called chikna.The equipment that is used for embroidery is a rectangular wooden-frame called karchob and a wooden leg called thapa used for sewing laces.Listed below are different kinds of zari work.
Zardozi: This is a heavy and more elaborate embroidery work which uses varieties of gold threads, spangles, beads, seed pearls, wire, and gota.It is used to embellish wedding outfits, heavy coats, cushions, curtains, canopies, animal trappings, bags, purses, belts, and shoes.The material on which this kind of embroidery is done is usually heavy silk, velvet and satin.The kind of stitches found are salma-sitara, gijai, badla, katori, and seed pearls, among others.
Bagru printing is one of the traditional techniques of printing with natural color followed by the chippas of a remote place of Rajasthan. The process starts from preparing the cloth to finished printed fabrics through their indigenous methods. Motifs having some specialty are transferred onto light colored background with wooden blocks following two styles direct and resist style. Although this technique is facing problems against the threat of globalization, this exotic art of creation is required to be encouraged in the present context of environmental consciousness.
Bagru is known for natural dyes and hand block printing. Bagru is the place of Raiger and Chhipa community. Chhipa community people who are involved in this printing tradition since 100 years ago and also Raiger community people are involved in processing and manufacturing of leather and their products (like boots, mochdi, Rajasthani jhutee and other leather goods). The Raiger community export raw leather (semi processed) to big leather companies and also sell in local market (Hatwara,Jaipur). Bagru is also known for natural dyeing, indigo dyeing and wooden hand block printing over textile articles.
Bagru is a small village, located at a distance of 32 km from Jaipur, on Jaipur-Ajmer Road. The village town of Bagru has a fort (private property) in heart of town which is normally open for public on Gangaur Festival. Bagru is most famous for its typical wooden prints. These prints of Bagru are acclaimed all over India, and are particularly known as Bagru prints. The Prints of Bagru, unlike other prints, involve a different kind of printing. The unique method for printing employs wooden block in it. In the process, the desired design is engraved on the wooden block first and then the carved block is used for replicating the design in the preferred color on the fabric.
Chippa Mohalla (printer’s quarter) is the area for those, who are interested in textile printing. One can walk into the quarter, where people are always engrossed with dyes and blocks. The three-centuries-old tradition of block printing is kept alive with the efforts of Bagru artisans. Keeping the convention, these artisans smear the cloth with Fuller’s earth got from the riverside and then dip it in turmeric water to get the habitual cream color background. After that, they stamp the cloth with designs using natural dyes of earthly shades.
Even today, artisans use traditional vegetable dyes for printing the cloth. Like, the color blue is made from indigo, greens out of indigo mixed with pomegranate, red from madder root and yellow from turmeric. Usually Bagru prints have ethnic floral patterns in natural colors. Bagru prints form the essential part of the block printing industry of Rajasthan. The village fabricates some of the bed covers and other materials. Nowadays this printing business is under crisis due to water crises and improper care by State Government where incentives based schemes are not available. It required a channel market to spread the popularity of handmade bedsheets under cluster program. There is no specific industrial zone to process the printing and export. All is depending on Sanganer based big traders and speculators. Even in entire town there is not a water treatment plant and chemical water is releasing through municipal councils (Nagar Palika) drainage lines towards the end of town.
Banarasi Silk fabric is so well embedded in world culture & history, that needs no institutional recognition. Fabriclore’s Banarasi Silk dress material is beautifully woven with celebratory floral, object & damask zari patterns. Banarasi Silk material and sarees have a rich history hidden within its silken weaves. In the olden days, these sarees were crafted from real gold and silver threads and took almost a year to make. However, nowadays, thanks to highly skilled artisans with nimble hands and the soaring demand for the weave, Banarasi sarees are more accessible and remain a desirable addition to every bride’s wardrobe, akin to owning a piece of luxurious history.
It is often confused with the Kanjivaram, another variety of India’s finest silk sarees. The only way to differentiate between a Kanjivaram saree and a Banarasi silk saree is by taking a closer look at the designs woven into the six yards. While Kanjivaram sarees feature temple borders, checks, stripes, coins, and floral motifs originating from Tamil Nadu, the Banarasi saree, with roots in Varanasi, typically has Mughal-inspired motifs.
Bandhani, also known as Bandhej; is a type of tie and dye textile which is adorned by plucking the cloth into many bindings, that form a design. Practiced mainly in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and some parts of Uttar Pradesh, the word Bandhani is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Banda’ which means ‘to tie’.
The art of Bandhani is a highly skilled process. The technique involves dyeing a fabric which is tied tightly with a thread at several points, thus producing a variety of patterns like Chandrakala, Bavan Baug, Shikari etcetera; depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied. The main colour used in Bandhana are yellow, red, blue, green and black.
The main colours used in Bandhana are natural. As Bandhani is a tie and dye process, dying is done by hand and hence best colours and combinations are possible in Bandhanis.
The Bandhani work has been exclusively carried out by the Khatri community of Kutchh and Saurashtra. A meter length of cloth can have thousands of tiny knots known as ‘Bheendi’ in the local language (‘Gujarati’). These knots form a design once opened after dyeing in bright colours. Traditionally, the final products can be classified into ‘khombhi’, ‘Ghar Chola’, ‘Chandrakhani’, ‘Shikari’, ‘Chowkidaar’, ‘Ambadaal’ and other categories.
Bandhani work is also done in Rajasthan, where different colours and designs are used than the Kutch and Saurashtra regions of Gujarat. Establishments of varying sizes in the entire Kutch belt in Gujarat produce many varieties of Bandhani. This Bandhani style is called as the Kutchi Bandhani.
Bandhani tying is often a family trade, and the women of these families work at home to tie patterns. Pethapur, Mandavi, Bhuj, Anjar, Jetpur, Jamnagar, Rajkot, are some of the main towns in Gujarat, where Bandhani is created. The city of Bhuj in Gujarat is well known for its red Bandhani. Dyeing process of Bandhani is carried out extensively in this city, as the water of this area is known to give a particular brightness to colours, specifically reds and maroons.
As with other Indian textiles, in Bandhani too different colours convey different meanings. People believe that red is an auspicious colours for brides.
Dabu Dark earthy tones in a medley of breathtaking prints – ‘Daboo’ or ‘Dabu’ (Mud Resist Printing), as it is more commonly known, is an ancient Rajasthani printing technique that involves scrupulous attention to detail across the many stages of making it.
The Process of Dabu Printing starts with the preparation of mud resist the clay is prepared by finely sieving it. Calcium hydroxide (Chuna in Hindi), naturally pounded wheat chaff (Beedan in hindi), and gum (gound in hindi) are the main interdients to make the mud resist. The dug out mud from the dry pond is soaked in water in a separate tank overnight. The mud resist is freshly prepared before every printing. A mixture of beedan and gound are along with mud are doughed to make a sticky paste.
Application of mud resist onto fabric TThe mixture is now ready for dabu printing. The mud resist being applied onto the fabrics using wood blocks. Either the dabu printing is done ona single table while sitting or on a running table. This depends upon the space availability and comfort an individual printer. To quickly dry the paste, saw dust is being applied to places where the mud resist is printed. The saw dust also acts as a binder which prevents color penetration while dyeing. The application of mud resist onto the fabric is followed by dyeing the fabric in a cauldron of dye. The process may be repeated for double dabu and triple dabu and hence forth. After every dyeing the fabric is thoroughly washed so as to remove the mud application. Finally the non dyed part where the resist has been applied is revealed after the washing. some of the color penetrates onto the fabric caused by mud cracking. The result is veining which gives it batik like look to the fabric.
Ikat (literally means tie in various Indonesian languages it means “to bind”) is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs resist dyeing on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric. … When the dyeing is finished all the bindings are removed and the yarns are woven into cloth.
There are three different Ikat weaving techniques. These are warp ikat, weft ikat and double ikat. Let’s take a look at what each of them are.
Ikat is an ancient technique used to pattern textiles. … The ikat process begins with bundles of warp threads being strung up on a frame, close together and properly tightened. Then the pattern is drawn on to them in outline. Bindings that resist dye penetration are applied in locations defined by the motif.
Ikat, means tie in various Indonesian languages it means “to bind”) is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs resist dyeing on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric.
In ikat the resist is formed by binding individual yarns or bundles of yarns with a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern. The yarns are then dyed. The bindings may then be altered to create a new pattern and the yarns dyed again with another colour. This process may be repeated multiple times to produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When the dyeing is finished all the bindings are removed and the yarns are woven into cloth. In other resist-dyeing techniques such as tie-dye and batik the resist is applied to the woven cloth, whereas in ikat the resist is applied to the yarns before they are woven into cloth. Because the surface design is created in the yarns rather than on the finished cloth, in ikat both fabric faces are patterned.
A characteristic of ikat textiles is an apparent “blurriness” to the design. The blurriness is a result of the extreme difficulty the weaver has lining up the dyed yarns so that the pattern comes out perfectly in the finished cloth. The blurriness can be reduced by using finer yarns or by the skill of the craftsperson. Ikats with little blurriness, multiple colours and complicated patterns are more difficult to create and therefore often more expensive. However, the blurriness that is so characteristic of ikat is often prized by textile collectors.
Ikat is produced in many traditional textile centres around the world, from India to Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Japan (where it is called kasuri), Africa, and Latin America. Double ikats—in which both the warp and weft yarns are tied and dyed before being woven into a single textile—are relatively rare because of the intensive skilled labour required to produce them.
Kalamkari is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in Iran and Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Its name originates in the Persian,قلمکار which is derived from the words kalam (pen) and kari (craftmanship), meaning drawing with a pen. Only natural dyes are used in kalamkari and it involves twenty three steps.. Only natural dyes are used in kalamkari, and it involves twenty-three steps
There are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in India – Srikalahasti style and the Machilipatnam style. The Srikalahasti style of kalamkari (kalamkari), wherein the “kalam” or pen is used for freehand drawing of the subject and filling in the colors, is entirely hand worked. This style flowered around temples and their patronage and so had an almost religious identity – scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners and the like, depicted deities and scenes taken from the Hindu epics – Ramayana, Mahabharata, Purana and the mythological classics. This style owes its present status to Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay who popularized the art as the first chairperson of the All India Handicrafts Board.
Kantha, also spelled kanta and qanta is a type of embroidery craft in the eastern regions of the Indian subcontinent, specifically in Bangladesh and in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Odisha. In Odisha, old saris are stacked on each other and hand-stitched to make a thin piece of cushion. This is normally used above a bed cushion or instead of a cushion. “Kantha saris” are traditionally worn by women in Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent. In these days, embroidery is stitched, popularly known as ‘kantha stitched”, on sari, kurta (or panjabi) and churidar and many other garments and gaining popularity due to their aesthetic value and handmade characteristics.
Kantha stitching is also used to make simple quilts, commonly known as nakshi kantha. Women in Bengal typically use old saris and cloth and layer them with kantha stitching to make a light blanket, throw, or bedspread, especially for children. Kantha is very popular with tourists visiting the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent.
Kantha is a form of embroidery often practised by rural women. The traditional form of Kantha embroidery was done with soft dhotis and saris, with a simple running stitch along the edges. Depending on the use of the finished product they were known as Lepkantha or Sujni Kantha.
The embroidered cloth has many uses including shawls, covers for mirrors, boxes, and pillows. In some cases, the entire cloth is covered with running stitches, employing beautiful motifs of flowers, animals birds and geometrical shapes, as well as themes from everyday activities. The stitching on the cloth gives it a slightly wrinkled, wavy effect. Contemporary kantha is applied to a wider range of garments such as sarees, dupatta, shirts for men and women, bedding and other furnishing fabrics, mostly using cotton and silk.
Khadi fabric, also known as khaddar, is a hand woven natural fiber made with cotton. The other variations of Khadi fabric include silk and wool. Khadi fabric originated during the time of Mahatma Gandhi when he led the Swadeshi Movement.
In India, Khadi refers to hand woven and hand spun cloth. Weavers prefer yarn produced by mills because it is more robust and consistent in quality. The Swadeshi movement of boycotting English products during the first two decades of the twentieth Century was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi and Indian mill owners, who, backed by Nationalist politicians, called for a boycott of foreign cloth. Gandhi argued that the mill owners would deny handloom weavers an opportunity to buy yarn because they would prefer to create a monopoly for their own cloth. However, handspun yarn was of expensive and of poor quality. Thus Mahatma Gandhi started spinning himself and encouraging others to do so. He made it obligatory for all members of the Indian National Congress to spin cotton themselves and to pay their dues in yarn. He further made the chakri (spinning wheel) the symbol of the Nationalist movement. Initially the Indian flag was supposed to have a chakri, not the Ashoka Chakra at its centre. Mahatma Gandhi collected large sums of money to create a grass-roots organisation to encourage handloom weaving. This was called the ‘khaddar’ or ‘Khadi’ movement.
Under the British Raj Indians were forced to buy expensive clothes, since the British exported the raw materials for cloth to English fabric mills, then re-imported the finished cloth to India. The Indian mill owners wanted to monopolise the Indian market themselves. Ever since the American Civil War caused a shortage of American cotton, Britain would buy cotton from India at cheap prices and use the cotton to manufacture cloth. The khadi movement by Gandhi aimed at boycotting foreign cloth. Mahatma Gandhi began promoting the spinning of khadi for rural self-employment and self-reliance (instead of using cloth manufactured industrially in Britain) in the 1920s, thus making khadi an integral part and an icon of the Swadeshi movement.
The freedom struggle revolved around the use of khādī fabrics and the dumping of foreign-made clothes. When some people complained about the costliness of khadi to Mahatma Gandhi, he started wearing only dhoti though he used wool shawls when it got cold. Some were able to make a reasonable living by using high quality mill yarn and catering to the luxury market. Mahatma Gandhi tried to put an end to this practice. He even threatened to give up khadi altogether if he didn’t get his way. However, since the weavers would have starved if they listened to Gandhi, nothing came of this threat.
Linen is very strong and absorbent, and dries faster than cotton. Because of these properties, linen is comfortable to wear in hot weather and is valued for use in garments. It also has other distinctive characteristics, notably its tendency to wrinkle. Many other products, including home furnishing items, are also often made from linen.
Linen textiles appear to be some of the oldest in the world; their history goes back many thousands of years. Dyed flax fibers found in a cave in Southeastern Europe (present-day Georgia) suggest the use of woven linen fabrics from wild flax may date back over 30,000 years. Linen was used in ancient civilizations including Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, and linen is mentioned in the Bible. In the 18th century and beyond, the linen industry was important in the economies of several countries in Europe as well as the American colonies.
Linen is a sustainable fabric made from flax fibers. The flax plant has been cultivated in just about every country in the world and has been used to make fiber for over 6,000 years. To extract the fibers, the plants are either cut or pulled by hand from the ground (it’s said that pulling creates finer linen). The seeds are then removed through a process called winnowing or ripping, followed by retting which removes the plant stock from the fibers. Once the fibers are separated to collect the longest pieces, which can be up to 20 centimeters long, they are then spun into yarn and eventually woven into fabric.
The resulting linen textile is two to three times stronger than cotton and dries at a much faster rate. Because of its porous nature, linen has natural heat and moisture-wicking properties that make it a good conductor of warmth and a popular fabric to use for clothing or bedding in the summer. The natural fibers also hold dye colors better than some other materials, and thus the fabric is available in almost any imaginable color. Linen is also naturally anti-bacterial, which made it a popular choice for bandages for centuries and a favorite for window treatments and accessories such as accent pillows.
Linen does have a few downsides as well. As a fabric, it has little elasticity so it can wrinkle quite a bit. It’s also more expensive than cotton. But despite these drawbacks, linen remains every bit as popular and smart a choice for home decorating accessories as it was when it was first discovered centuries ago.
Linen is notorious for being wrinkly. If you like the look and feel of linen clothing, prepare to do a lot of ironing if you want to keep wrinkles at bay unless you want to embrace the wrinkles for a more casual look. Using a high heat on your iron and a touch of spray starch (especially on collars) will get you the smooth and crisp results. But don’t be fooled—once you wear your linen garment it’s bound to get at least a little wrinkly. If you want to avoid wrinkles altogether, give linen blend fabrics a try as they tend to be much more smooth. Be sure your linen clothes are completely dry before wearing, as wrinkles can be even more exaggerated when the material is damp.
CHIKANKARI LUCKNOWI Chikan, in the literal sense means ’embroidery’. This traditional embroidery style is one of Lucknow’s most ancient and well-known art forms, believed to be introduced by the Mughals. The simple and precise handwork on the garment, gives it a very subtle, classy feel that modern embroidery techniques lack. The main essence of the garment is a simple design, and while motifs are now added to make the garment look rich, it still remains a simple and affordable fabric choice.
Indian chikan work goes as far back as the early 3rd century BC, with one tale mentioning the story of a traveller who taught chikan to a peasant in return for drinking water. However, the most popular, and factually checkable story is that Noor Jahan, the wife of Mughal emperor Jehangir, introduced the Persian art in India in the 17th century. She herself was a talented embroideress, and had a particular fondness for this art. Her husband is said to have loved chikan work too and has established several workshops to perfect this art form in India.
Started as a white-on-white embroidery form, back in the day, the favoured fabric was muslin or mulmul as it was best suited to the warm, slightly humid climate. After the downfall of the Mughal Empire, chikankari artisans spread all over India, but Lucknow remained the main center, with Awadh a close second.
The Lucknow chikankari technique can be broken down in two parts – the pre- and the post-preparation stages.
The pre-work involves determining of the design and engraving the same onto wooden block stamps. These stamps are then used for block printing the design onto the cloth with the help of neel and safeda dyes. The cloth is then cut according to the form that the garment is supposed to take.
Then comes the embroidery process, where the fabric is set in a small frame, part by part, and needlework begins to trace the ink patterns. The type of stitching used depends on the specialty of the region and the type and size of the motifs. Some of the most popular stitches in Lucknow chikankari include the backstitch, chain stitch and hemstitch. The result is an open work pattern, a jail (lace) or shadow work.
The finished garment is first checked for consistency and neatness, and then washed to remove all traces of ink. Before being ready for commercial sales, the garment is starched to obtain the right stiffness.
One of the most prominent features of the Lucknow chikankari work is the stitches. Each and every stitch is done to perfection and the neatness in the work is hard to find elsewhere. The delicate and artfully done hand embroidery gives the garment a look of richness and skillfulness, which is exactly what you pay for.
Patola is a double ikat woven sari, usually made from silk, made in Patan, Gujarat, India. The word patola is the plural form; the singular is patolu. … Patola-weaving is a closely guarded family tradition. There are three families in Patan that weave these highly prized double ikat saris. A unique feature of the Patola loom is that it is tilted to one side and requires two people to sit and work together on just one saree. It can take six months to a year or even more, depending on the length as well as the intricacy of the pattern to make one of these Patola sarees.
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The protein fiber of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by certain insect larvae to form cocoons. … Other types of arthropods produce silk, most notably various arachnids, such as spiders. Silk is the fine thread with which a silkworm spins its cocoon. … The thread which is produced by the spinning glands of the silkworm is the finest and strongest natural fiber in the world. Silk is a protein fiber, meaning that is chemically quite similar to human skin. Because of this, silk is an ideal “second skin”.