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Embroidered Sarees

The embroidered sarees or embroidery sarees in India are hugely admired among the Indian women as they display the intricacy and style in their designs. Artisans are settled in different parts of India and, thus, the embroidered sarees created by them have ethnic variations.

Along centuries, no ensemble has been able to match the grace and glory of embroidered sarees making them the most sought after apparels since ages. The fabrics used for making embroidery sarees are varied. Some common types are with Silk, Georgette, Chiffon, Crepe, Brocade, Chanderi, Handloom fabrics

Sarees are named depending on the type of embroidery employed and the state that they are made in. They feature a host of styles some of which are, Chikan Sarees Chikankari is a fine and meticulous shadow -work type of embroidery done using white or colorless muslins called tanzeb, Chanderi Sarees usually in subtle hues, chanderi sarees are cotton ensembles displaying gold checks and lotus roundels known as butis. Jamawar Sarees designing of jamawar engages finest motifs and patterns such as paisleys.

A score of other embroidery patterns such as florals, geometrical, Kasuti, Kantha, Phulkari, etc. are beautifully worked upon by skilled craftsmen and artisans. The demand for embroidered have caught up pace in almost all the quarters of the globe, making them the most sought after ensembles for all occasions.

The embroidered sarees are distinguished for their designs due to the threads that are used in the embroidery work. The Indian artisans use three types of metallic-thread embroidery two of which use gold-wrapped threads called either `kalabattun` which was used by the artisans of earlier times or `zari`. One style, muka, requires thick zari to be coiled on the surface and couched with silk, and is usually worked on heavier silks and satin fabrics. Another style of embroidery work, called `kamdani` and sometimes `kalabattun,` has metallic threads embroidered directly into the fabric with both the zari and ground cloth. This embroidery work is done with finer and lighter metallic threads than in muka work. These embroidery works are created on chiffon and georgette that have gained popularity in the local as well as in the national market scenario. This type of embroidery work is called zardozi or zardoshi work.
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The third type of metallic embroidery is easier to distinguish because it uses flattened gold or silver wire (badla) that is pulled through the fabric. In this embroidery work small raised metallic `dots` or `knots` are distributed over the cloth to form floral and foliate patterns. Patna had a strong commercial zardozi embroidery tradition for many years, serving local aristocrats and other wealthy patrons during the nineteenth century.

Including this, Eastern India also has a strong embroidery tradition. During the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the Portuguese imported embroidered quilts from Bengal. It has also been found in the history of the tradition of embroidered sarees that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, cotton and silk appliqués were created in Bihar. Various kinds of cotton-on-muslin, silk-on-muslin and zardozi embroideries were also commercially manufactured throughout the region. Yet by the early twentieth century, many of these commercial enterprises had declined because of changes in fashion. In the present era, the most well-known embroideries come from the traditional domestic arena. The government and non-government aid organizations are also encouraging this craft as a source of income for poor rural women.

As on the history of the embroidery work, kantha embroidery had been considered to be the most famous Bengali embroidery since the second half of the twentieth century. The embroidery is the application of simple running stitch in contrasting colours on a natural-coloured ground, depicting figures, animals and foliage in lively folk-art designs. Since the late 1980s, the `kantha sarees’ were embroidered by local rural women. The embroideries were often the mimic of nineteenth-century kantha designs and were created on tussar or mulberry silk sarees.

As the artisans have started creating embroidery work on very contemporary dress materials, the market demand of these sarees have increased to a great height. The traditional touch amalgamated with modernity creates a fusion in the Indian saree tradition. In recent times, the predominant local commercial embroidery offered in most towns and markets is machine embroidery. Although it is regarded by purists as of a lower order to handwork, much of it is finely made, in a variety of small detailed patterns.