When I was a child, all the women around me were dressed in sarees. As an Indian, it is not uncommon to see everyone in sarees. Aunts, grandmas, cousins were all draped in colourful and gorgeous sarees. A saree can be described as a rectangular piece of unstitched cloth material which is six to nine yards long and two to four feet wide. Typically, we drape a saree around us using a petticoat and couple it with a crop top. The way we drape the saree varies from region to region in India.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I used to be filled with curiosity and admiration for my mom’s saree collection. I used to spend several hours feeling every material and admiring the colours and prints on the sarees.
“Zari” is a type of thread made of gold or silver. It is common to use zari threads to weave the saree, especially near the borders. The pattern that runs along the length of the saree is called the “border” and the elaborate designs at the end of the saree covering the entire width are called the “pallu”. Pallu is also the part of the saree that hangs over the shoulder.
Sarees have different names depending on the kind of material (thread) that is used to weave the fabric, the place from where the weaver’s hail and some times the technique that was used to weave the sarees.
Some traditional saree varieties found in India are Pochampally, Kalamkari, Kanchipuram silk, Mysore silk, Kerala – Kasavu, Sambhalpuri, Ikat, Murshidabad, Batik, Tussar silk, Assam – Muga silk, Paithani, Kolhapuri, Bandhani, Patola, Garchola, Kota, Leheriya, Maheshwari, Chanderi, Bhagalpuri silk, Kuchai silk, Benarasi silk, Chikankari, Phulkari, Kashmiri Kadai etc. Apart from these traditional sarees, the popular ones today are chiffon, georgette, organza, linen etc.
The cost of a saree may depend on different factors: Silk sarees are more expensive compared to cotton. Some sarees have heavy embroidery that requires more material and labour. Sarees from a particular region might have a high demand making them pricier. Labour costs may vary according to the effort that is put.
Different sarees feel different on the skin. Natural fabrics like cotton, kadhi, sheer sarees allow easy passage of air and thus comfortable for hot summers. Velvet and silk sarees are slightly warmer making them favourable for winter. Chiffons and georgettes are light and dry quickly so they are suitable for the monsoon.
Saree colours range from light and delicate shades to bright and vibrant colours. Casual and office wear sarees are either totally devoid of special embellishments like beads, mirrors, embroidery, flashy borders etc. They are either plain coloured or simple printed sarees. The party-wear and wedding sarees are the ones that have a lot of heavy embroideries, zari work, beadwork etc.
I could spend days talking about sarees but I would like to stop here. I want to hear from you. What do you think of sarees? What is your favourite style of clothing? Please comment below and share your opinions. Have a blessed day!