by Aarti Kapur Singh
Check out 7 traditional textiles that are a must have in an Indian wedding collection for our lovely bride!
The influence of traditional textiles and other woven garments is ample throughout history – as evident in ancient scriptures or images of deities. These precious pieces of clothing are not just a symbol of pride and prestige but are also denotative of our rich traditions and cultural heritage. Often given to women as gifts on various auspicious occasions, some fabrics also assume cultural, traditional, mythological and sometimes, scientific significance.
We list out some fabrics and textiles from various parts of India that should find presence in a proud Indian bride’s suitcase.
Mostly made in Varanasi, a Banarasi brocade is one of the most exquisite and rich sarees that are woven in India. Elaborately ornate with heavy brocade work and intricate zari work woven onto heavy gauge silk, the Banarasi saree is a popular choice for bridal trousseau. This was introduced in India by the Mughals, and hence floral patterns, architectural designs, along with figures of animals in gold, silver or multi-color thread are common patterns and features of this saree.
These exquisite sarees were traditionally only woven for royalty. The fineness of the fabric and complex weaving technique used made these sarees very expensive which is why only the richest merchants and noblewomen were able to afford them. To this date, an authentic Patola saree takes anything between 6 months to two years to weave, depending on the design and pattern. Patola sarees are hand-woven from silk by using the warp & weft technique. These threads are then wrapped to resist the dye according to the required pattern and is repeated for each color. In the double ikat Patola sarees both the warp and weft are dyed before weaving. A combination of these weft and warp can cost you a few lakhs — and a couple of years. Different color and pattern are matched exactly on horizontal and vertical threads in weaving. This is the secret that a Patola hides in its folds. A set design evolved through coloring cross threads is known as “Double Ikat”. In the system of “Double Ikat”, Patola’s place is at the top in whole of world because Patola sari is about six long and four feet wide. Coloring and design pattern developed on both sides of the hand loom cloth is unique and not known to have made anywhere in the world except Patan, in Gujarat.
Loved for their simplicity, the cotton sarees of Dhaniakhali village in West Bengal are distinctive with stripes, checks and contrasting borders. This saree is woven out of a slightly thicker cotton yarn with double-threaded braided designs on the pallu, mostly by the womenfolk of the village. These are often considered auspicious pooja sarees for traditional festivals, marriages and other celebrations. These are woven in near opaque white surfaces with contrasting borders in vibrant colors such as red, black, orange or purple, emphasized by a serrated edge motif.
These sarees from Odisha are is made using warp tie-dyed before the weaving procedure. Heavily designed with traditional motifs like flowers, wheels, peacocks, and shells, Sambalpuri sarees have an intricate ikat weave. It is believed that this art migrated to Western Odisha along with the Bhulia community, who fled Northern India in the 12th century, after the fall of the Chauhan Empire at the hands of the Mughal rulers.
Literally translating into ‘working with flowers’, it is a form of embroidery which is done in simple and yet eye-catching motifs on shawls, dupattas or salwaar-kameez. Historians also believed that the art of Phulkari came from Iran, where it is known as “Gulkari”.
The most striking aspect of Phulkari embroidery and its distinguishing feature is the use of darn stitch with silken thread on the wrong side of coarse cotton cloth. Many geometrical flower or garden-themed patterns are embroidered by the skillful manipulation of this stitch. While mostly the craft is done on rust or red colored fabric, black and blue are avoided in Western Punjab while white is not used in Eastern Punjab. The motifs done on a phulkari meant for a Punjabi wedding signify fertility and prosperity. While wheat stalks are common, more unusual motifs are parrots, peacocks and even traditional roundels – that signify a constant inflow of money into the household.
Phulkari embroidery done on georgette, chiffon and crepe de chine make for unusual sarees for your trousseau. In Phulkari embroidery the stitches decorate the cloth, while in the Bagh technique, it covers the garment completely in such a way that the base cloth is completely covered.
Chanderi is a small town situated in Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh. Mythology states that Krishna’s cousin Shishupal was the one who designed these sarees. The Chanderi sarees are a blend of silk and cotton making them relatively lightweight. The Chanderi sarees have a unique translucent structure and are very comfortable during the hot summer months.
Paithani, a rendition of silk, is originally from Aurangabad, where it is woven by hand. Crafted from uber fine silk, it is considered one of the richest sarees in Maharashtra. Characterized by borders of an oblique square design, and a pallu adorning peacocks, consider this textile to define what heirlooms are made of.
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