ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Fashion and Beauty»
  • Clothing

Handloom: The traditional Indian weaving technique

Updated on February 14, 2018
swalia profile image

Blogger || Media professional || Art of Living teacher || Yoga Enthusiast || Avid reader || Spiritual || Loves to travel ||Loves to Cook ||

India’s textile minister Smriti Irani brought handloom into limelight by starting #iwearhandoom campaign on social media recently during the national handloom day on 7th August. Soon twitter and facebook was abuzz with people posting their photos with the hashtag #iwearhandloom. This campaign was quite a hit and was successful in its objective of raising awareness about handloom fabrics.

With the domination of power looms in India, the traditional handloom industry (fabric woven by hand) is in a pathetic condition and the weaver communities of Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are living in dismal conditions. Though in the past few years, traditional handloom crafts have witnessed a resurgence but still a lot needs to be done to revive India’s dying crafts.

The government is trying to do its best to promote Indian weaving techniques so that it can contribute to the livelihood of local weavers who are leading a pathetic life as the handloom industry is dying a slow death. Many renowned Indian fashion designers like Ritu Kumar, Sabyasachi, Neeta Lulla and Anita Dongre are working towards the revival of traditional Indian handloom techniques by featuring them in their collections. The designers are using traditional handloom fabrics for Western outfits, thus giving them a modern and contemporary appeal. The trend is to mix old designs with new techniques to create original products.


Khadi is the sun of the village solar system. The planets are the various industries which can support khadi in return for the heat and the sustenance they derive from it. Without it other industries cannot grow.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Handloom industry makes up for over a tenth of India’s total fabric production. Weavers across the country create a spectacular range of fabrics, from pashmina & shahtoosh of Jammu & Kashmir to the Madraschecks & Kanchipuram of Tamil Nadu to the eri & muga silks of Assam to the ties and dyes of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Along with the artistry of weavers, the Indian handloom industry portrays the rich and diverse Indian culture. Over 4.3 million people are directly involved in the production, thus making the handloom industry as the second-largest employment provider for the Indian rural population after agriculture.

Handloom is a simple machine which is used for weaving cloth without any electricity. Hand weaving is done using pit looms or frame looms which are installed in the homes of the weavers. This traditional art form has got a boost as many famous designers are now including handloom materials in their designs. Indian handloom fabrics are perfect for India’s tropical climate as they are breathable and skin friendly. Handloom fabrics allow more air penetration which in turn makes them cooler, softer and more absorbent, thus making them an ideal wear for Indian Summers.

Handloom fabrics are a bit expensive but one should not forget that apart from the cost of the raw material, handloom fabrics also include wages for the weavers who weave the entire fabric by hand as opposed to the power loom fabrics which are woven using machines and are produced in bulk. Indian handloom products are known for their finesse and unique designs.

One needs to educate India more about handloom. Internationally when you show people how a saree is woven, they say its such luxury. I think the biggest problem of handloom is that you don’t have proper education to tell people how precious it really is.

— Sabyasachi

Do’s and don’ts

  • Handloom fabrics have to be taken extra care of as they are more sensitive than power loom fabrics.
  • Make sure that the handloom material you buy is an original and not just a power loom replica. It’s easy to recognize an authentic handloom fabric as it will always have a glitch effect i.e. a raw or unfinished feel.
  • Handloom fabrics can’t be stretched and so don’t use them to make tight-fitted clothes.
  • Always check the reverse side of the handloom material for its finish. Sometimes after weaving, the loose threads are not finished which may damage the fabric in the long run.

Khadi is only seemingly expensive. I have pointed out that it is wrong to compare khadi with other cloth by comparing the prices of given lengths. The inexpensiveness of khadi consists in the revolution of one's taste. The wearing of khadi replaces the conventional idea of wearing clothes for ornament by that of wearing them for use.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Some ideas to pep up your mom’s old handloom sarees

  • A peplum jacket can be created using your mom’s silk brocade which you can pair with palazzos or silk skirt.
  • You can make a gown for formal events using a handloom raw silk saree.
  • A silk organza cape will look elegant when layered on a bustier worn with high-waisted handloom cotton trousers.
  • A Benarasi georgette handloom saree with geometrical motifs can be used to create a drape dress.
  • You can create short dresses for formal functions using old brocade sarees.
  • A maxi or dress made out of Chanderi cotton silk saree will look not only stylish but would be comfortable to wear too.
  • Try a shirtdress out of a Bhagalpuri silk saree.
  • Convert your old silk saree into a lovely midi skirt and use a powdered or matte toned top balance the look.
  • Nehru coats made from your mom’s old Kanjeevaram over a crisp light colored kurta would be an ideal way to make a fashion statement.
  • Create chic long skirts out of old silk sarees and pair them with nude toned and self-colored tops.
  • Remodel your silk saris into silk kurtis for special occasions.

Handloom Textiles of India

© 2017 Shaloo Walia

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • swalia profile image
      Author

      Shaloo Walia 3 months ago from India

      Now you an buy hand woven cloth and outfits online too. Websites like fabindia ship internationally.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 3 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have a few of these hand woven Indian outfits. I bought the cloth in India when my husband worked there but designed dresses from them. They're beautiful cloth. I need to go back there as I can't anymore fit in what I have.

    • swalia profile image
      Author

      Shaloo Walia 7 months ago from India

      @Bill You're welcome!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I love learning about other cultures so thank you for this education.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)