A Silk saree holds a special place in a wardrobe due to its charming quality that immediately captures attention. It is a treasured apparel when well draped resembles a river of splendour.
Introduction and different types of Silk Sarees
Since this fabric indicates a sign of affluence and prosperity, it was initially worn by nobility. It is also woven to adorn gods and goddesses. A fabric imbued with influences from neighbouring countries such as Persia, Turkey, China, etc. it has allowed craftsmen and artisans a chance to create different types of silk sarees with varying styles.
Tussar or Kosa silk is mainly produced in Bihar, West Bengal, and Jharkhand. The silk thread for Tussar is reeled from the cocoons of the silkworm genus Antheraea. The resulting Tussar silk cloth has a coarse texture with a dull golden sheen. These sarees can be found in dark, pastel, and printed versions with distinctive patterns and motifs. A Tussar silk saree is a much-favored attire for formal and casual occasions.
Ikat is an Indonesian dyeing technique that gives the cloth a blurry effect. The Ikat silk sarees are a shinier version of the cotton ones, as they have almost identical designs. The dyes are applied on the yarn before an Ikat saree is woven creating a pleasing parallel effect of the patterns. These sarees typically observed in floral, diamond, and geometrical motifs with small zari work on the border are suitable for any occasion.
Paithan is a spiritual town in Maharashtra with a history that is a combination of religious and economic importance. Paithan or pattan was primarily woven as a gold and silk saree. The designs are said to be inspired by the statues and art in Ajanta caves, with motifs that pay homage to Buddha and nature. The present Paithani silk sarees can be seen in simple or plain bodies and also kaleidoscopic colors.
Mysore or Mysuru is a city infused with cultural spirit, lined with heritage structures and a thriving silk business. Mysore silk was woven chiefly for the Wodeyar royal family of Mysore. This silk is used for various clothing styles including sarees. The Mysore silk sarees have a simple or plain body with zari borders containing mango, floral, or droplet motifs. Currently, Mysore silk production is handled by the government of Karnataka and the sarees carry a unique identification mark for authenticity.
A city of historical significance earlier ruled by the Rajputs, Kota is a fusion of palaces, gardens, and modern constructions. The sarees of this region reflect this fusion by adapting cotton and silk blends. Later, the introduction of Kota silk sarees added richness to these lightweight kota doria fabrics with gold embellishments and striking designs.
Soft Silk Sarees are woven using fine silk threads. It contains less zari than pure silk sarees and thus creates an added smoothness. The fine silk increases the radiance of a soft silk saree’s structure and is even more lightweight than a normal silk saree. These sarees can be seen in an array of bold-colored prints with zari borders as well as mild-hued pastel colors with buttas and tissue borders.
The name for Matka silk was derived from the specific matka weaving style carried out by the craftsman in West Bengal. The Matka silk sarees are preferred by the Jains as the cocoons used for making silk threads do not involve killing insects. The coarse texture provides thickness to the saree with a feather touch that gives the wearer an airy feeling.
Odisha is an eastern state in India filled with different art forms showcased through dance, painting, handicrafts, clothing, etc. The Odisha sarees are woven in regions such as Koraput, Ganjam, Sonepur, Sambalpur, and many more. The patterns and motifs, in the Odisha silk sarees, are peppered with tribal art and traditions found in these regions. Fishes, flowers, and warli art are some of the common designs seen in the border, pallu, and body of the sarees. The fish designs are identified as a sign of success and luxury.
Bomkai sarees are one of the four major handloom sarees woven in Odisha. They are a popular choice among avid saree collectors for their bold and vivid colors. These Bomkai silk sarees have intricate designs representing the ethnic art of the region. The border and pallu of these sarees contain patterns with detailed threadwork.
A particularly captivating design can be replicated numerous times on a piece of cloth through printing. Silk is one of those exemplary fabrics capable of replicating such prints. Printed Silk sarees can be seen in two forms, hand printing and machine printing. The Hand printed silk sarees are carried out using wood blocks and have patterns spaced apart in a similar fashion across the body of a saree. The machine-printed silk sarees have both well-spaced and close-together prints.
Gadwal, a royally connected city through the Nizam of Hyderabad, houses a fort that protects many old temples including the Sri Chennakesava Swamy temple. The regality of this city is visible prominently in the gadwal silk sarees or SICO sarees. These SICO (Silk Borders & Cotton Body) sarees mainly have gold zari & silk borders with rich colored cotton bodies and many varieties of motifs.
Silk as a fabric has an attractive quality that encourages experimentation, this includes blending and beautification. Embroidery or chikankari work has the potential to elevate a silk saree’s appearance. Well-thought-out patterns with sequins and glass tissues embedded with the shimmeriness of the silk form a classy embroidery silk saree.
A village located in the Godavari district of Andra Pradesh, Uppada is a major producer of rice, prawns, and jamdani sarees. The flower vase (jamdani) style of weaving integrated from Bangladesh includes a heavy influence of nature splashed across the body of the sarees. Uppada silk sarees give an added sheen to these designs and also have zari work which can be seen in the borders and as buttas.
Dupion or Doupioni is a silk fabric woven using a fine yarn giving the end product a lustrous effect. The yarn used for plain weaving in Dupion silk sarees creates a durable garment that is both comfortable and environment-friendly. The satiny sheen instantly attracts a saree enthusiast and becomes a favorite wear for festivities and important occasions.
Viscose or Vegan Silk
There has been an emergence of silk fabrics that do not harm silkworms or other insects used for creating this material. One of the materials that fit this requirement is Viscose. The threads for this fabric are artificially produced using wood pulp and caustic soda. Viscose silk sarees have elaborate zari borders with detailed patterns.