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When add-ons make a world of difference

The traditional handloom saree has come down from ages yet it is the most interesting fabric that till date offers scope for presenting the canvas in newer and newer ways.

The spread of handloom sarees

Many are the types of handloom saris worn in India. From plain, simple coloured and lightly adorned cotton and silk blends worn by many women in their daily routine, to the jazzy stylish heavily decorated silks with all sorts of finery and additive features known as fashion and special wear, sarees still have the appeal and allure that no other fabric can provide the Indian woman.

Saree fabric material, be it cotton, silk, jute, nylon, rayon, georgette, chiffon, satin etc. or blends, there is a lot by way of taste and variety that have encouraged brilliant fusion experiments. evolve a new range of splendid never-before-seen fabrics having trending designs and patterns incorporated in the conventional handloom weaves.

Exploring the saree

There Indian sari is made up of three essential sections or areas - the body of the fabric, the borders and the loose portion of the saree, hanging over the shoulder, known as the pallu or end piece. All that can be done to improve the look of the fabric is within this limited area. Yet every product is slightly different from the previous, there is something novel or innovative to be discovered in each.

Adornments or additions – that enhance the look of the saree

Colors, designs, patterns, motifs are part of the weaving design that create the differences between product and product. They provide the basic attraction that ensures the interest in the product. But with a whole range of colored sarees and lots of patterns and designs to choose from, there crept in an air of expectedness and anticipation, that was fast moving towards saturation and the interest in the fabric waning. Something different that could ensure that each product could have similar display yet differentiated by the unknown factor. This was when adornments or additions, traditional yet novel to the market were brilliantly introduced to evolve outcomes that ranged from pleasant surprise to wonder and amazement at the effect that they caused.

The stunning extras that create magic

Traditional art and craftsmanship is all about beauty and enhancement where the average is raised to extraordinary.

You have Appliqué work that refers to the technique by which patterns are created by attaching a smaller coloured patch onto a larger base fabric mostly of contrasting colour or texture. The attaching could be by stitching, or gluing the patch on the larger fabric.

There are the Bootis or Buttis, that are repeated motifs or patterns hand woven, embroidered or printed onto handloom sarees. They enhance the beauty of any fabric on which they are added.

Hand woven Bootis were earlier woven by needles of different sizes based on the size and number of bootis to be woven. The Chanderi Saree especially makes the use of Bootis as a compulsory adorning feature.

You have the Tie & dye process that involves creating resists by tying threads tightly at selected points which could number from a few to several hundreds or even thousands based upon the complexity of the design intended, before dyeing the fabric. The tied part does not get dyed and when the threads are removed and the fabric spreads out the design becomes evident by a light coloured design on a dark coloured background.

Using ‘resists’ for making designs on a fabric, the conventional Batik process has a resist or a physical block in some form or the other to prevent desired areas on the fabric from being penetrated by the initial dye. Generally wax is used as a resist in Batik. The rarer type of Batik is Pen Batik. Fine designs are made on the fabric using ‘Tjanting’ tools. Pen Batik is a little more painstaking comparatively on account of fine detailing to be taken done by hand.

Dabu printing is a unique art form that has mud-resist hand-block printing that has amazed even the fashion pundits.

Chikankari is intricate embroidery on sarees and salwar kameez. An art form where, the design or pattern print is transferred to the cloth, Chikankari was practiced on fabrics like muslin, silk etc. initially only with white thread. Today even colored thread is used.

Zardozi is metal embroidery done on various fabrics like sarees using gold or silver colour coated copper wire along with a silk thread.

Kantha Work, is embroidery work done on sarees, with a running stitch on them in the form of motifs. Kasuti is a traditional form of embroidery in Karnataka, India. Kasuti work is very intricate and involves putting a large number of stitches by hand on traditional cotton and silk sarees. Kashida is embroidery done in the Kashmir valley and draws its subjects from nature and its offerings like leaves, floral arrangements, fruits, nuts etc. to be displayed as motifs.

The Kutch embroidery and the Parsi Gara embroidery that are akin to the Kasuti but practiced in Gujarat. The execution of the miniature designs in thread work, truly baffle, while the vibrancy of the colored patterns are extremely eye-catching.

The Bagru Hand block printing of Rajasthan is itself very popular on account of its simplicity and ease of execution but which results in prints on the Saris that are sharp, accurate and finely detailed.

There are many more such wonders that traditional practitioners have given modern India. They are spread across the country, sometimes in very remote corners too. It is their innovative skills and dedication to the art that has given India something to boast of with pride.

Buy online traditional handlooms from the Unnati collection

Unnati Silks has a very wide and varied range in handloom fabrics and here are some examples of what traditional adornments can effect in the look. You have the lovely block prints on the soft Bhagalpuri silks, the exquisite Kantha work embroidery on the Tussar silks, the captivating hand woven bootis on Chanderi silks, the stunning silver color patch work on the fine supernet sarees, the ikat patterns on the Sambalpuri Charka silk sarees or the Pochampally cottons, the grand zari borders of Uppada Silk or the Kollam silks, the shimmer or kaleidoscopic effect of Narayanpet handlooms, the dazzle of silk and golden zari of the Paithani silks, the tribal hand paintings on Tussar silks of Chattisgarh, the floral scapes of Kalamkari, the figurines of Warli painting, the mirror work on the Bhagalpuri dupion silk sarees, are examples of what additions to normally woven fabrics can achieve.

Shop online handloom sarees and get the Unnati advantage

Unnati Silks, largest ethnic online Indian shop offers exquisite designer sarees to buy online with matching blouse for sale. Online shopping store with the widest range of ethnic Indian