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The dyeing process

The bundle of silk threads is dipped in hot water for about 15 minutes. The yarn is squeezed by copper rods to remove impurities and then washed several times in cold water. Then it is dipped in the dye bath removed after some time and dried in shade. this is repeated several times with intermediate washes in cold water making the yarn smooth and lustrous. this thread is then wound on the special cycle wheel and transferred to a Kandi. this is then dried and kept ready to be stretched on the loom. Setting the silk threads on the loom takes approximately one day.

The dyeing process of Paithani silk saree

The weaving process

There are three techniques of weaving. Split tapestry weave – This is the simplest of the three weaves. Two weft threads are woven upto adjacent warp threads and then reversed. The warp threads are cut and and re-tied to threads of different colors.

Paithani Silk Saree Weaving

Interlocking method

Two wefts get interlocked at the place where color change is required. The figuring weft made up of a number of colored threads is woven plain with warp threads and interlocked on either side. The ground weft threads that are golden, interlock with these figuring threads thus forming the figure. This interlocking system known as Kadiyal ensures that there are no extra floats on the back of the motif thereby making the motif design nearly reversible. Dove tailing method – two threads of the weft go around the same warp thread, one above the other, creating a dove tailing or tooth comb effect. The complexity of the weave is based on how complex the design is and could take 18 to 24 months.

Paithani saree interlocking process

Weaving the borders and pallu

In the good old days, the borders and pallu were of pure gold and copper drawn out into fine zari threads, for strength. Nowadays it is silver that has replaced the gold. Borders are created with interlocked weft technique with colored silk or golden coated silver zari. In the border woven with zari, the silk patterns are added as supplementary weft inlay against the zari in the form of a creeper or vine. There are two types of borders – Narali and Pankhi. Despite the main body having been woven by a weaver, the inlay border paths require a master weaver. Whatever be the color of the saree, the borders and the pallu have a lot of zari adorning them.

Weaving of Paithani saree borders