When you think of handloom sarees the first thing that comes to our mind is Kancheevaram sarees and then comes the light weight cotton sarees worn by Actress Trisha in the movie Vinnaithandi Varuvaya. Two extreme opposite kind of sarees but both belongs to one category called HANDLOOM. India being a country that consists of varying cultures and ethnicity, several region in India have their own traditions of handloom sarees. Handloom sarees are a household name in Bangladesh too.

Actress Trisha in Handloom Saree

Actress Rekha in her Trademark Kanjivaram Saree

Handloom Economy

There are lakhs of families engaged in the textile hand weaving industry. And they have seperate corporation supporting the weavers. Primary Handloom Weavers Cooperatives (PHWCS) provide weavers, different job opportunities in the same field and support them in wages and labouring. Different tradition of weaving is followed in different region of India. Each region has their own traditional motifs, design and colours. The handloom industry is grown in village supporting lakhs of families for their livelihood.

Primary Weavers Cooperative society
Weavers Cooperative Group

Weaving Process

A shuttle pit loom is made with ropes, wooden beams and poles. The shuttle is moved from side to side by the weavers, another process is using a fly-shuttle loom which produces different pattern or designs, size or quality. Handloom sarees weaving is a family enterprise and one of India’s richest cottage industry.

Weaving Machine

Types of Handloom Sarees

Some of the well known Indian Handloom sarees are Kancheepuram silk sarees, Maheshwari Sarees, Bagh Print Saree, Chanderi silk Saree, Tussar Silk Saree, Banarasi Silk Saree, Baluchari Sarees. As the silk sarees range from heavy to light weight and the cotton sarees weigh light as feather . Especially the current trend Linen Sarees are weightless, it is the most prefered work outfit for many women in Tamil Nadu.

Handloom Sarees

Materials Used

The fabric used to weave handloom sarees are divided into Broad Division and Sub Divison. There are these extremely soothing and comfortable sarees for summer season like Jamdhani cotton and Linen sarees. Then, the fascinating, authentic, adding glamour to the festive look sarees like Baluchari silk, Tussar silk and Kancheepuram silk sarees which are heavier but a breathtaking beauty to be worn during festivities and weddings , any wedding is incomplete without these silk sarees worn by the bride or the family . The third type is the mix of both comfort and style which are sarees like , Kovai Kora Cotton, Chanderi, Maheshwari and Ikkat. All these handloom fabrics are breathable and flexible especially in hot seasons.

Variety of Handloom Sarees

With rapid increase in fashion industry, the handloom sarees are just not limited to plain and basic models, now they are made in versatile styling patterns, designed and colour combinations. Once in a while if you get bored of wearing the ordinary saree even if it is a handloom saree, or one might have a heritage handloom saree which is a heirloom and want to be worn easily everywhere and anywhere then the best idea is to remodify or remodel the handloom sarees into a long dress or an anarkali salwar suit and flaunt them.

Sonam Kapoor in handloom dresses
Kancheevaram Saree made into Anarkali
Ikkat Long Dress

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