A sari, saree, pudavai, selai, cheera or shari is a South Asian female garment that consists of a drape varying from five to nine yards (4.57meters to 8.23meters) in length and two to four feet (60 cm to 1.20m) in breadth that is typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder, baring themidriff.
The sari is usually worn over a petticoat (called ‘parkar’ in Marathi lahaṅgā or lehenga in the north; pavadai in Tamil, pavada (or occasionallylanga) in Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu, chaniyo, parkar, ghaghra, or ghagaro in the west; and shaya in eastern India), with a fitted upper garment commonly called a blouse (ravika in the south and choli elsewhere). The blouse has short sleeves and is usually cropped at the midriff. The sari is associated with grace and is widely regarded as a symbol of Indian, Pakistani,Nepalese, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan culture.
Classification based on saree’s fabric
Cotton is natural, breathable & extremely durable, thus making sarees in cotton a popular choice for daily use. As cotton accepts many dyes, a variety of print & dyeing techniques are available. Several weaving options are possible due to the strength & versatility of the cotton yarn; this results in beautifully textured sarees, across India. Often used along with or as an alternative to silk, almost each state in India boasts of it’s exclusive cotton saree styles. Here are a few well-known varieties of sarees available in cotton.
Silk is a natural fiber, which is most commonly woven into textiles. Because of its shimmering, smooth & soft texture, this expensive fabric is considered one of the most preferred fabrics for occasion & festive wear. Although silk is the strongest natural fiber, it loses strength when wet & in harsh sunlight. Today, many manufacturers prefer synthetic fibers or blends rather than pure silk to product more affordable & sturdy textiles. In India, silk Sarees are produced in different techniques, indigenous to the State, and are popularly renowned for their special qualities.
Raw Silk Sarees
The beauty of Raw Silk is its rough texture as it has shorter fibers. This makes it the fabric more delicate & so it needs better care. It has a naturally dull gold sheen for which it is popular.
Tussar Silk Sarees
Alternatively spelled as Tussah, Tushar, Tassar, Tusser and also known as (Sanskrit) Kosa Silk is produced from larvae of several species of silk worms belonging to the moth genus Antheraea, including A. mylitta, A. pernyi, A. roylii and A. yamamai. These silkworms live in the wild forest in trees belonging to Terminalia species and Shorea robusta as well as other food plants like Asan, Arjun, Jamun and Oak found in South Asia, eating off the leaves of the trees they live on. Tussar is valued for its rich texture and natural deep gold colour.
Art Silk Sarees
Artificial silk or Art silk is a synthetic man-made fiber, which resembles silk but costs less to produce. It is a commonly used fiber & sarees made in Art Silk have gained popularity because of its affordable price & great appearance.
Chiffon, from the French word for a cloth, is a lightweight, balanced plain-woven sheer fabric woven of alternate S- and Z-twist crepe (high-twist) yarns. The twist in the crepe yarns puckers the fabric slightly in both directions after weaving, giving it some stretch and a slightly rough feel. Chiffon is made from cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers. Under a magnifying glass it resembles a fine net or mesh which gives chiffon some see-through properties. Chiffon is most commonly used in evening wear, especially as an overlay, for giving an elegant and floating appearance to the gown. Due to this delicate nature, chiffon must be hand washed very gently. Chiffon is smoother and more lustrous than the similar fabric georgette.
Georgette is a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crêpe fabric named after the early 20th century French dressmaker Georgette de la Plante. Originally made from silk, Georgette is made with highly twisted yarns which is manufactured in surat. Its characteristic crinkly surface is created by alternating S- and Z-twist yarns in both warp and weft.Georgette is made in solid colors and prints and is used for blouses, dresses, evening gowns, Saris, and trimmings. It is springier and less lustrous than the closely related chiffon.
Synthetic fabrics are textiles made from man-made rather than natural fibers. Some examples of synthetic fabrics are polyester, acrylic, nylon, rayon, acetate, spandex, latex and Kevlar. Synthetic fibers are made by the joining of monomers into polymers, by the process of polymerization. A synthetic fiber, when magnified, looks like plastic spun together. The fabric is made from chemically produced fibers. The chemicals used to make the fibers are sodium hydroxide and carbon Delphinus which are derived from coal, oil, or natural gas. The chemicals are in liquid form and are forced through tiny holes called spinnerets. As the liquid comes out of the spinnerets and into the air, it cools and forms into tiny threads. Dyes are added to these threads before they are woven together to make the fabric. Synthetic fabrics can have many different uses and qualities, some which are not achievable with natural fibers.
Crepe is a silk, wool, or synthetic fiber fabric with a distinctively crisp, crimped appearance. Surat synthetic sarees available in cheap rate.
The specialty of Net fabric is that the weave construction is looped at their intersections, resulting in a fabric with large open spaces between the yarns. This weave give the Net Saree a fullness & lightness in weight. Along with elaborate embroideries & appliques, the delicate Net Saree is often a choice for evening wear.
Tissue or Lame is a type of fabric woven with thin ribbons of metallic yarns or usually gold or silver. It has a dramatic appearance & slippery texture. Lightweight & shimmering, the tissue saree is often used in evening sarees rather than everyday wear.
Sarees classified on origin basis
Kanchipuram Silk Sari
A Kanchipuram Pudavai or cheera (also known as a Kanjivaram sari) is a type of sari traditionally made by weavers from Kanchipuram located in Tamil Nadu, India. These saris are woven naturally. The Kanchipuram sari is distinguished by its wide contrast borders. Kanchipuram saris woven with heavy silk and gold cloth are considered to be special and are worn on occasions and festivities. Suns, moons, chariots, peacocks, parrots, swans, lions, coins, mangoes, leaves and many such motifs are woven into Kanchipuram patterns. Other common saris motif include a jasmine bud within a square or a round frame, locally known as mallimoggu. Another is Thandavalam where parallel lines run across the body of the Sari.
Patola Silk Sarees
Patola saris are a double ikat woven sari, usually made from silk, made in Patan, Gujarat, India. The word Patola is the plural form—The singular is patulu. They are very expensive, once worn only by royalty and the aristocracy, they are popular and in demand from those who can afford them. Velvet patola styles are also made in Surat. Patola-weaving is a closely guarded family tradition. There are three families left in Patan that weave these highly prized double ikat saris. It can take six months to one year to make one sari. The double Ikat Patola sari is rare and expensive.
It is a traditional sari made in Gadwal, Mahbubnagar district, India. They are popular for their Zari saris. This town boasts of having highly skilled weavers with rich traditional weaving values and techniques. This particular town has a unique style of weaving silk saris as they were encouraged and patronized by the royal family of Gadwal. The length of Gadwal sari is 5.5 mtrs. The characteristic distinguishing feature of this sari is that the body of the sari is woven in cotton (at times in check patterns) and the pallav and borders separately in pure silk and zari. The pallav and border is heavily brocaded with south Indian cultural patterns in contrasting colors. Patterns are influenced by traditional stone and wood carving of the Gadwa area. Available in combo pack at best offer price.
Banaras saris are saris made in Varanasi, a city which is also called Benares or Banaras. The saris are among the finest saris in India and are known for their gold and silver brocade or zari, fine silk and opulent embroidery. The saris are made of finely woven silk and are decorated with intricate design, and, because of these engravings, are relatively heavy. Their features are gold work, compact weaving, figures with small details, metallic visual effects, pallus, jal (a net like pattern), and mina work. The saris are often part of an Indian bride’s trousseau.
Arani Sari is a traditional sari made in Arani, Tamil Nadu, India. A sari is a strip of unstitched cloth, ranging from four yards to nine yards in length. Saris, derived from the Sanskrit word Saadi, have been described in Tamilian literature as early as the 5th or 6th centuries.
Originating from Madhya Pradesh, this handloom woven silk & cotton saree is a well known for it golden zari borders & pallu. The Maheshwari Saree is also known as the reversible saree & features hand block printed motifs.Maheshwari sari is gossamer thin – a delicate blend of silk and cotton yarn – made in tiny checks or stripes with a coloured border. Maheshwari saris, are available in both cotton and silk.
Chanderi sari is a traditional sari made in Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh, India. Chanderi Sarees are known for their sheer texture, lightweight and a glossy transparency. These saris are delicately woven and have subtle design. The Chanderi sari is characterized by fine zari band (patti) on its selvedge edge and is distinguished by the quality of gold thread that is used to ornate it. The Chanderi sari is woven in cotton (organdy) as well as silk (organza).The magic of chanderi sari lies in its thread, its warp and its weft. Traditionally weavers of Chanderi used silk as warp and cotton as weft to make this magnificent creation. These silk saris have a rich gold border and two gold bands on the pallav. The more expensive saris have gold checks with lotus all over known as butis. Borders are the distinguishing features of these saris.
Bhagalpuri Silk Sari
This saree is a silk sari made in Bhagalpur, India. More than a century old Tussar silk weaving industry in Bhagalpur has about 30,000 handloom weavers working on some 25,000 handlooms. The total value of annual trade is around Rs.100 crores, about half of which comes from exports.
Jamdani one of the finest muslin textiles of Bengal, produced in Dhaka District, Bangladesh for centuries. The historic production of jamdani was patronized by imperial warrants of the Mughal emperors. Under British colonialism, the Bengali jamdani and muslin industries rapidly declined due to colonial import policies favoring industrially manufactured textiles. In more recent years, the production of jamdani has witnessed a revival in Bangladesh.Jamdani Saree is a delicate muslin cloth on which decorative motifs are woven on the handloom. Often a mixture of cotton and gold thread are used against white or grey bases, lending grace & beauty to this saree.
This Sari is again similar to the Guntur Saris. It is made from 100s and 120s cotton yarn in both the warp and weft. For surface ornamentation cotton yarn and zari is also used for making butta and other motifs. Saris are woven with an interlocking system where the body, border and pallav are first woven separately. These saris are delicate in nature and can be worn occasionally.
Mysore Silk Sari
India is one of the largest producer and consumer of Silk in the form of Silk Saris. As Silk is considered as the queen of textiles similarly silks saris are Queen or saris .Silk saris have an aristocratic status. It is worn at all important function and marriages. Mysore silk saris are produced and woven in the purest silk possible. These are woven in Karnataka state particularly in Mysore, Kollegal, Dharmavaram, Muddenahalli, and Doddaballapur.
Kumbakonam silk Saris and Thanjavore silk Sari
These two areas of Tamil Nadu also produce the Kornad Saris with similar design and technique; however the saris are medium weight and the end pieces of warps are attached differently as compared to other Kornad saris. Other special types of Temple Sari from this region are called “mubbhagam” with interlocked weft woven; this has two borders and fields of equal width. Border of these saris is decorated with two “pettu” (stripes).
These silk saris hails from a small town in South of Tamil Nadu called Chettinad. Chettinad saris apply the modern principals of design by creating an illusionary charming effect with the extensive use of color and pattern with bold checks, stripes and contrasting tints and hues. The popular Chettinad colors are mustard, brick red, and black. Other vibrant hues using cotton, silk and blends are also produced. Chettinad cotton saris are handloom made from thick, coarse cotton and are capable of withstanding the roughest wash. These saris are an epitome of India when combined with contemporary modern blouses. These saris are available in hues of earthly reds, oranges, chromes and browns.
Madurai, one of the historic cities of India is the capital of Pandya and is located near the river named Vaigai in Tamil Nadu. Madurai saris are lightweight and perfect for the hot climate. They are woven out of shiny and highly mercerized cotton with glistening silk borders, which were earlier made of silk, but are now replaced with polyester or cotton blends. These may also be tie and dyed at times and woven with Zari borders. Madurai also produces very beautiful block printed Madurai saris called Sungadi. Handloom weaved in low price
Coimbatore is in the North West region of Tamil Nadu which produces very fine cotton cloth in an amazing range of traditional and artisan designs. The saris are all 48″ wide and the standard six yards, unless otherwise specified. Coimbatore cotton saris often features elaborate cotton brocades, borders and pallavs. They are fine and airy cotton saris. Body is generally a plain weave with very subtle understated pallav which may be ornamented with fine stripes. The high end versions of these saris features intricate and colorful thread and zari work on the border. These sarees are also available at wholesale rates from weavers.
Varied Sari work styles
Jacquard style sarees
Jacquard – a highly ornamented material in which the design is incorporated into the weave instead of being printed or dyed on. These days, Jacquard sarees are often woven in art silk, with a glossy texture & lightweight body. Jacquard is seldom used on its own, often paired with net or velvet in Half and Half sarees.
Pochampally Sarees or Pochampalli Ikat sarees
Pochampally Sarees or Pochampalli Ikat is a sarees made in Bhoodan Pochampally, Nalgonda district, Telangana State, India. They are popular for their traditional geometric patterns in Ikat style of dyeing. The intricate geometric design find their way into the hands of skillful weavers and make it to the market as beautiful sarees and dress material.
Zardosi worked sarees
Zardozi or Zar-douzi work is a type of embroidery in Iran, India Pakistan and Bangladesh. Zardozi embroidery is beautiful metal embroidery, which once used to embellish the attire of the Kings and the royals in India. It was also used to adorn walls of the royal tents, scabbards, wall hangings and the paraphernalia of regal elephants and horses. Zardozi embroidery work involves making elaborate designs, using gold and silver threads. Further adding to the magnificence of the work are the studded pearls and precious stones. Initially, the embroidery was done with pure silver wires and real gold leaves. However, today, craftsmen make use of a combination of copper wire, with a golden or silver polish, and a silk thread.
Embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins.An interesting characteristic of embroidery is that the basic techniques or stitches on surviving examples of the earliest embroidery—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.
Applique worked sarees
Appliqué is a smaller ornament or device applied to another surface in saris . An appliqué is usually one piece. In the context of ceramics, for example, an appliqué is a separate piece of clay added to the primary work, generally for the purpose of decoration. The term is borrowed from French and, in this context, means “applied” or “thing that has been applied.” Appliqué is a surface pattern that is used to decorate an aspect of a garment or product. It is highly used with the textiles industry, but lately is a key trend for make do mend items.
Half & Half Style sarees
The Half & Half Saree is usually an eveningwear option, which features two or more fabrics combined to make one saree, used in a cut and sew fashion. Mostly Net sarees are bordered with silk, velvet, jacquard or brocade. Additional rich embellishments, appliques & zari-work make up this gorgeous saree.
Block printed sarees
In these saris the blocks are generally hand carved from wood and printed on the cloth in repeating patterns.
Kalamkari saris use a style of hand drawing with dyes on cloth.
Resham worked sarees
Resham work is embroidery done with coloured silk thread.
Thread work sarees
Embroidery created by the weaving of different colored threads other than zari.
Zari Saris or Jari Sarees
Zari is a thread traditionally made of fine gold or silver used in traditional Indian garments. The thread is widely used for weaving and embroidery work especially in high quality saree.