North India Textile
The influence of Chamba pahari painting is evident in the Chamba rumals of Himachal Pradesh. The Chamba rumals are delicately embroidery kerchiefs in subtle shades of green, yellow and ochre with themes taken from Radha and Krishna stories. All of nature including trees, flowers etc. are depicted in these rumals.
Kashmir is famous for its very fine and delicate embroidery work. Neatly embroidered shawls on Pashmina or shahtoosh are treasured by many. Chain stitched embroidery is done on woolen Namdas which are spread on the floor or used as a covering on beds. These are stylized and exquisitely embroidered.
The famous Jamawar shawls of Kashmir are embroidery so fine that they are reversible. Making theses five shawls is no easy task, which is why very few made every year. In fact, the few remaining ones are treasured as family heirlooms and antiques.
In nearly every part of India, we find embroidered fabrics using a variety of techniques and designs. For example, the Phulkari or the Bagh embroidery work of Punjab is done mainly in darning stich. The whole woven fabric is covered with embroidery using a variety of geometric designs and motifs from nature.
Block prints is what India is famous for. And some of the best block prints are the Sanganer prints of Jaipur in Rajasthan, In the desert of Rajasthan women wear bright and contrasting clothes which are richly embroidered and printed by using these block prints.
The Bandhani and Leheria are two tie-and-dye methods which are popular in Rajasthan and Gujarat. For Bandhani, the fabric is tied into minute knots to from a design and them dipped into the dye. The Leheria (waves) pattern is also achieved with the tie-and-die technique. Diagonal lines in a single colour run across a white background to create a magical effect.
One of the most renowned textiles of India - the brocades of Varanasi, come from here. The brocade or 'Kinkhwab' (fabric of dream) is the weaving of pure silk and gold strands to create a lush beautiful fabric. Skilled weavers use a special method of interweaving coloured silk, gold or silver threads to form fascinating designs. A variety of motifs like creepers, flowers, birds, animals architecture and human forms could be incorporated into a single design.
The delicate chikan work embroidery of uttar pradesh was originally done on sarees unlike today where it has adapted for linen, table-mats, napkins etc.
South India Textile
Named after the known of Kanchipuram in south India comes the famous temple sari called the Kanchipuram. It is the dream of every bride to dress up in one on her wedding day. Ever since it was first woven around 400 years ago, this vibrantly coloured sari, with checks in silk yarn or gold threads, has always been a favorite.
Andhra pradesh is called the Land of Hand-woven fabrics. And some of the most beautiful sarees come from the looms of Pochampalli; Venkatagiri, Gadwal, Narayanpet, Dharmavaram and other regions of this state. They are named after the place of their origin. The Pochampalli textiles are made using the tie and dye technique. Different coloured yarns are woven to from exquisite geometrical designs. Pochampalli sarees and dress materials are available in both cotton and silk.
Beautiful motifs are created in cross stitch in the Kasuti embroidery of Karnataka.
East India Textile
Assam produce a large variety of Tussar, both plain and with design woven into the fabric. The ï¿½mekhalaï¿½ worn in Assam has woven motifs, which are unique to the region.
In Manipur, delicate silk thread embroidery in dark colors is done on the borders of phaneks worn by women
Ikat is a type of weaving where the warp, weft or both are tie-dyed before weaving to create design on the finished fabric. Orissa, in eastern India, is home to one of the most famous Ikat traditions called the double Patan Patola. These silk fabrics double Ikat. While the single Ikat from Rajkot is more affordable, it is the double Ikat that is regarded as a masterpiece. In fact the technique and process to make it has to be so precise, that a sari length takes two men about seven months to complete.
Baluchari textile comes from the town of baluchar in Bengal. It was during 17.4 that the first Baluchari weaving took place. At one stage no gold or silver threads were used in the making of the fabric except the pure mulberry silk. The unique characteristic of this fabric is the outlining of motifs like animals, vegetation and other figurative patterns.
A special mention must be of the soft silk sarees of Murshidabad in West Bengal. Some of these sarees have intricate designs using gold or silver threads woven into the border and pallu.
West India Textile
Gujarat and Kuch are known for their mirror work embroidery in which tiny pieces of mirror are fixed to the fabric using herringbone and stain. It is popular for its rich and vibrant colors.
From the Maharashtra town of paithan, comes the regal paithani. A paithani takes month to weave and with a normal salary many more month than that to buy one. Which is why it was owned mostly by royal households. Once bought, the Paithani is treated as an heirloom for generation to come. Motifs of parrots, peacock and flowers are very popular in Paithani design.