Chanderi- The Shiny Light Weave
|A Traditional Chanderi Saree (Source:India1001)|
My fascination with Chanderi fabric goes back to my school days. As a young girl in school, every morning I used to eagerly look forward to seeing a beautiful lady come at our bus stop. While she waited for her bus, I along with my friends used to watch and admire her. She always used to look stunning- in her bun with a flower on it, high heels and each time donning beautiful shiny Chanderi saree with delicately woven bright gold motifs, elegant borders in the gold zari, perfect shine, draped like a veil-the play of light created an optical illusion adding to the diaphanous of the saree.
Origin of Chanderi
For ages this fabric has mesmerized us. Some texts even suggest Chanderi has its origin back in the Vedic Period, and is believed to have been founded by Lord Krishna’s cousin, Shishupal. The art of weaving Chanderi is centuries old and has been practiced from generations in a small town of Madhya Pradesh called Chanderi. Chanderi is one of the most well-known handloom clusters of India.
The high quality of the fabric is due to the fine yarns that are used in weaving the fabric. The fabric is produced using 3 main raw materials cotton, silk, and zari. The most popular types of Chanderi fabric are - Chanderi cotton, Chanderi silk, and Chanderi cotton-silk. Traditionally, the motifs were swans, coins, lotus, peacock, but now the modern day motifs are of geometric patterns.
|Chanderi Fort, Madhya Pradesh (Source:MP Tourism)|
What sets it apart from other fabrics is its transparency, light weight and shiny texture. This transparency is not commonly found in other textile products in the country. Its delicate weave and intricate design gives it a rich look and yet feels like a feather on the skin- making it ideal for the Indian tropical climate.
|Traditional Floral Motif (Source: Jharokha)|
Kraftberry has a hand-picked collection of beautiful chanderi dress materials with a wide variety of motifs and patterns. Check them out here
From being just used to weave nine yard drapes for royalty to now being worn by masses in different forms - its versatility has made it a designers favorite.
|Chanderi used to design Indo western outfits (Source: India Couture Week 2015)|
It is being experimented with heavy embellishments and in its most recent avatar used for designing trendy skirts, dresses, dress materials, tops, indo western out fits and even home furnishings.
|Chanderi Furnishings (Source: Fabriclore)|
How to Identify a Real Chanderi Saree?
- A real Chanderi saree will have a glossy texture
- A handwoven saree will always have an uneven surface and sometimes the threads will be loose. So view the cloth at an angle - a totally smooth, flawless finish means it is a product of a powerloom and not handloom,
- Check the motifs – in powerloom a single thread is used to create motifs which gets snapped very easily.
- To keep the width of the cloth even, weavers use wooden needles to pin down the selvedge Check for minute pinprick marks on the borders.
How to Take Care of the Fabric?
- Use mild soap or detergent to wash
- Always use cold water to wash
- Dry in shade – always in reverse side
- Dryclean in case there is zari work
- To retain the shine of the zari do not spray perfume or deodrants directly on the fabric