Madhya Pradesh is known to be the famous weaving centre between the 7th and 2nd century BC. Presently the villages of chanderi owns the credit of following the trend followed in the ancient times. Chanderi is the abode of looms and is known for its hand-woven silk sarees. The cloth business of chanderi reached its peak during the Mughal period. The cloth was known for its sophistication and delicacy which can be proved through history when the Koshti weavers packed the fabric in a hollow bamboo to be gifted to the Badshah Mughal Akbar but to their amazement on unfolding the cloth which could easily cover the elephant.

The Chanderi silks is known for its sheer texture, glossy transparency and light attain its uniqueness the chanderi fabric has to undergo traditional processes. The whole process starts with the design, there are two main aspects of design. One is the design aspects of the saree like the border, the color combinations and the kinds of motifs to be used and the other is the most exquisite motif or the booty design which is designed by the most experience weaver on a graph paper.

The phase of designing Chanderi silks is followed by the process of dyeing. The process is initiated with dissolving the pigment in the water followed by the yarns dipped in the solution. The amount of time the yarns dipped in the solution describes the richness of the color. The dyed yarns are washed and soaked in a solution of containing warm water, detergent and soda. Once taken out of the solution it is washed again with normal water and left to dried on the bamboo poles.

The dried yarns are sent to the weavers where they disentangle and stretch the threads in order to make them tighter and durable. The threads are then molded into bobbins reeling them with the use of the spinning wheel popularly called Charkha ultimately forming the weft yarns.

In case of the warp yarns, they are stretched and and are adjusted on two iron hooks plugged to the ground to prevent them getting tangled which is then passed through two thin parallely placed bamboo sticks and the end are rolled onto the warp roll. This is when the yarns are ready for the process of weaving where the warp threads are interlocked with the weft threads being carried across the warp threads through a flying shuttle with controlled movement of strings. The process of weaving the chanderi silks is time-consuming depending on the intricacy of the design and is expensive in terms of money and tradition.

Photo Curtesy : Travels in Textiles

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