India is well known for its hot spells in the summer, a cotton saree is a much-preferred attire by many during this time. Cotton is one of those fabrics that is synonymous with comfort due to its soft and fluffy texture. Bearing this in mind, a cotton saree is woven with utmost care to keep the quality of the fabric intact. First discovered in the fifth millennium BC, the cotton saree has evolved into a stylish garment with unique designs. Whether you are out and about or simply lounging at home, a cotton saree is perfect for light and breezy wear.
Introduction and Different types of Cotton Sarees
There are countless fabrics that are used singularly and in multiplicity. Cotton sarees have also been tested with various clothing materials, creating fascinating products. The regions mentioned here are an example of this.
Kanchipuram, or Kanjeevaram, is a city surrounded by divinity and royalty. These attributes are best represented in their weaving of silk sarees. The Kanchi cotton sarees, like the silk ones, aim to replicate the radiance of this city through motifs and patterns. These handloom cotton sarees have designs that depict the temple structures, fruits, and animals seen in this city.
This eastern state close to the bay of Bengal produces a variety of handwoven sarees. From the many that are available, the ‘tant’ and ‘jamdani’ sarees are known for their pure cotton quality. These lightweight handloom sarees tend to have a thick border with relatively plain or drop-like motifs across the body. Some of these bengal cotton sarees are a mixture of silk and cotton, giving them a glossy effect.
Bangladesh, a neighbor and a former part of Bengal, was a part of textile trading with the Mughals. The trade included fabrics such as muslin, silk, and cotton. The Dhakai cotton sarees, formerly known as jamdani, still have a hint of Bengali motifs and designs mixed with the uniqueness of Dhaka. The designs on these handloom cotton sarees are inspired by folk art, nature, and symbols of the region.
Rasipuram or Rajapuram cotton sarees are known as the lighter version of the kanchi cotton sarees. Though they have less zari and gloss than their silk counterparts, these rasipuram cotton sarees are ideal for casual and formal wear. The contrasting and abstract designs make for an interesting handloom cotton saree collection that will spruce up any wardrobe.
An ‘auspicious hill’ residing in the Guntur district, the town is famous for the Lord Naramisha temple and its beautiful weaves. Mangalagiri fabrics are woven using pit looms with a special warp and weft interlacing technique. These handloom cotton sarees also contain the famed ‘Nizam designs’ that provide them with a rich look. The Mangalagiri cotton sarees have a plain body with bright colors and a gold or zari border that gives them a much-needed shine.
A hybrid saree that combines the best qualities of soft cotton and lush silk for long-lasting storage. The designs are also selected to complement the nature of the fabrics by combining the patterns and motifs seen in both. The Silk cotton sarees allow the wearer room to breathe and protect the body from the changing climate. Formal or casual, a handloom silk cotton saree can add value to a personal saree collection.
A town in Madhya Pradesh, rich with the history of Rajputs, Sultans, and Jain temples, its handloom cotton sarees are an addition to this list that cannot be ignored. The motifs and borders are reminiscent of the designs seen in the finery of the Mughal period. Whether it’s pastel or dark hues, the patterns on these Chanderi cotton sarees stand out and make for stylish designer summer wear.
Orissa Cotton/Odisha Cotton
Artistic heritage is prevalent in India owing to the many cultural influences. Odisha art has a beauty of its own influenced by ancient imagery of gods and goddesses. The Odisha cotton sarees reflect these by incorporating specialties of different districts. The Kotpad and Bomkai sarees are made primarily in cotton threads. The warli art and nature patterns are some of the famous designs that attract handloom cotton saree lovers.
A fishery station village in Andhra Pradesh, Uppada is another one of the regions close to the Bay of Bengal well known for producing handloom cotton sarees. The jamdani or flower vase weaving technique, a specialty of Dhaka, trickled down to other regions in the country including Uppada. The fabric, in the Uppada cotton sarees, is both hard and soft, the hardness keeps the colors intact while the softness allows for easy storage and wear.
The Chettinad region has many palatial houses containing rich cultural value. Among the communities that reside there, the Chettiyars are known to be skilled weavers since ancient days. They wove two kinds of sarees namely, koorai and kandaangi. Kandaangi sarees are also called the Chettinad cotton sarees. The colors on these handloom cotton sarees have bright as well as earthy tones.
A southern district in Andhra Pradesh, Kadapa or Cuddapah is a growing region with many businesses. The government encourages handloom cotton sarees weavers in this district through subsidies that act as a stamp of quality. These Kadapa cotton sarees are mostly seen with check print designs or small buttas peppered across the body. The visible government mark seen along the end of the pallu will wear off after a few washes.
The holy land of river Ganga with spiritual and religious significance, Varanasi is also home to the textile industry and handloom cotton sarees. The silk sarees of Benaras are notable for their gold zari and motifs with dark and bright contrasts. Similarly, the Benarasi cotton sarees have also gained recognition for their pastel shades lined with beige patterns.
An embroidery on a piece of clothing instantly makes it brighter, the stitched patterns make for an alluring visual treat. An embroidery work is also called ‘chikankari’, a traditional threading technique used in Lucknow. The etched designs are delicate and captivating. An embroidered cotton saree will look classy on the wearer.
Maheshwari Silk Cotton
The Maheshwari silk cotton sarees and fabrics were specially woven for the royal guests of the royals of Indore. The fabric contains a natural shine due to its silk components and the prints were inspired by the forts and local architecture. The modern simpler designs mainly contain lines and buttas that are soft-hued. A handloom cotton saree like this is a charming addition to casual wear.
Cotton sarees are opted for by many for its skin friendliness and ability to absorb sweat easily. Linen cotton sarees possess the same qualities. A mixed textured saree is always a strong combination for durability, linen helps with this by adding smoothness. These weaves create a plain body that can be experimented upon with embroidery and printed patterns.
Blended cotton sarees or semi-cotton sarees are a ‘blend’ or mixture of cotton with different fabrics such as Terra or Polyester. A unique saree is born each time a different material is woven with cotton. Such materials increase a saree’s life and keep it crisp for a long time. The result is an embellished effect that makes for a pretty sight.
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