If you have seen a saree with a lot of dots that merge into a pattern, be sure it would have been the traditional Bandhani.
An art that is unique and fascinating, the ethnic process makes use of tying the base fabric at numerous points by threads and then dyeing the fabric, which is known as Tie & Dye. The tying manner decides the resulting pattern, after the knots have been removed, which could be Leheriya, Mothra, Ekdali or Shikari (local names based on the patterns that form). These Patterns interpreted simply could have dots, stripes, waves or squares in a pleasing form.
A three decade long association and working with master weavers and craftsmen of traditional styles pan India, and Unnati’s expertise in modern designs and fusion techniques have helped evolve a new range of breath-taking Bandhini sarees that have exploited tastefully the depth and range of this fascinating tie & dye art.
Bandhani comes out beautifully on any fabric like cotton, silk, crepe, georgette, chiffon, satin or supernet, where light coloured patterns are highlighted by a contrastingly dark background to aesthetically raise its appeal. Applied colours are red, green, blue, black or yellow with the background generally being red or black.
Leheria sarees, also a part of the fabulous Bandhani collection at Unnati are a special offshoot of the Bandhini range.
Leheria sarees and salwar kameez are known for their unique wave designs, evolving from a brilliant exercise of the tie and dye art. The unique wave pattern has also created waves in the fashion world for its simplicity and appealing look on plain coloured fabrics.
From the word Leher meaning wave, comes the Leheria tie and dye process applied to white fabrics, which result in brightly coloured complex wave or Leher designs. Leheria work is done on silk or cotton fabric and on long and broad canvases like turbans and sarees.
The process involves rolling the fabric and tying resists at various spots on the cloth rolled diagonally from one corner to the opposite selvage. Selvage is the self finished edges in a fabric as a result of looping back the thread from the weft (perpendicular thread to the waft threads) at the end of each row length of the fabric that prevents the fabric from unravelling or fraying.
This rolled fabric is then dyed according to the usual tie and dye process in bright colours. When the fabric is unfolded after dyeing, it leaves a lot of stripes or other shapes at intervals across the fabric in a design. Several tie and dye processes are undergone if required, to create a myriad of colourful stripes across the fabric length. Indigo is used in the last few stages of the process.
Mothara is a special ‘lentil design’, popular and achieved by the re-rolling of the unfolded first stage in the opposite direction and the resist tied at the diagonal end and repeating the dye process. The resulting checkered design has un-dyed areas at regular intervals which are the size of a lentil.
Bandhani sarees are a huge draw both in domestic markets and with a growing lot of international buyers. Designer Bandhani Saris with colourful prints and exquisite embroidery are extremely stunning. Recent fashion finds single-colour sarees or those with contrasting colours on the body and the border as popular choices.
Appreciated for the art and sought for the unique appeal, this ethnic form will continue to flourish through newer and newer fusion trials and designer experiments.