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- This part of the handmade process is what makes our products unique and should not be seen as a fault. They will never affect the overall aesthetic of the product and its ability for use as intended.
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Maheshwari Sarees: A Story Of Royalty Told In Warps And Wefts
The quintessential saree has remained one of the most favourite canvasses for Indian weavers. Craftsmen from all over the country have found an unadulterated freedom of expression in this nine yards of fabric, and perhaps this is why India is home to some of the finest handloom fabric traditions since time immemorial. One such beautiful weave, the Maheshwari saree, comes from Maheshwar, a city in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh. With its rich history, the town falls right in line with its famed Maheshwari fabric.
Legend has it that Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar employed a special team of craftsmen from Surat and Malwa to design an exclusive nine yard saree that could be gifted to her relatives and guests who visited the palace. With the first saree conceived and designed by Her Highness herself, Maheshwari sarees went on to become a huge hit in the royal and aristocratic circle. Following this, the production of Maheshwari sarees caught up, and these graceful sarees soon started becoming popular with women of all ages. Today, this beautiful textile is one of the best sellers in both national and international markets!
Two types of handlooms are used in Maheshwar – the older pit looms which are heavy and fixed, and the newer frame looms with lightweight metal frames. The latter is the more popular type now. The dyed and untangled yarn is now ready for the tedious and time-consuming process of weaving by master weavers. After dyeing, the yarn is normally received by the weavers in the form of bundles. Both in the case of weft and the warp, the thread needs to be freed from tangles and stretched in order to make them tighter. They are then are taken through a process of reeling by using a charkha, thus converting the bundles into small rolls. In case of warp, a big motorised charkha is used; in case of weft, a small, hand‐driven charkha is used, which makes bobbins. In the case of the warping of the silk threads, a more delicate process involving an octagonal cylindrical frame and hooks is used.The fabric was dyed with naturally extracted colours and zari and kinari was used to enhance the richness of this weave. Weavers also used gold or silver threads and gemstones to embellish the intricate patterns and add shimmer to the saree. However, now copper coated nylon wires have replaced the zari and time constraints leave little room for the process of slow natural dyeing. Apart from sarees, Maheshwari fabric today is used for kurtas, shirts, stoles, dupattas, etc. Since the fabric is airy and lightweight, outfits made of this fabric are perfect for the Indian weather, making them an absolute favourite.