One of the world’s oldest and perhaps the only surviving unstitched garment from the past is the saree. It is not only the weaver’s and printer’s artistic “canvas” , but since time immemorial, it has also been considered as the South East Asian women’s most sensuous and glamorous attire.
The magic behind this glamour lies in its colour, design and weaving technique. It is believed that cotton as a fabric and the art of weaving was introduced during the Indus Valley Civilisation. However, as time passed by, and alongwith the repeated invasions of many clans in India, many new designs and techniques of weaving, dyeing and printing was introduced to India. The nomadic Central Asians, on one hand had brought the tie – and – dye method into existence in Gujarat and Rajasthan. While , the caravans of the Arabs to Egypt, Java, Sumatra, etc and the middle eastern countries by the 10th century, introduced the culture of Patolas, which are still very famous in Indian fabric culture. Here mention must be made of the Muslim community as they had often tend to avoid wearing silk. In fact and indeed, they had brought a variety of new textiles to life with Mushroo, Himroo , Jamawar, etc. And the cold climate in the mountaineous Kashmir allowed, rather supported the concept of weaving woollen fabrics used for making shawls.
With the gradual development in textiles, the silks and cotton were so finely woven that, it had become an apt wear for the kings and queen around the world.
These developments in textiles had a direct impact on the making of the sarees. Various colours, patterns, paisley designs, figures , floral patterns, birds and animals motifs, also the use of brocades slowly acquired status with the sarees. However, Industrial Revolution brought the power of looms into the weaving industry.
All the above description is a prove of the fact that the Indian weavers and designers were the masters of the craft for many centuries. Undoubtedly, sarees were the greatest heritage that the weavers gave the South Asian women.
Hence, weaving is that process where textiles are produced with the use of two distinct set of yarns or threads. These set of yarns or threads are interlaced to form a fabric or cloth. The longitudinal threads are called the warp. While the horizontal threads are known as weft or filling. The way in which these threads are woven give the characteristic of the cloth.
And each weave involves a loom that holds the two set of threads at right angles to each other.The weft cross the warp threads horizontally.
The most important part in making of a saree goes into keeping a count of warp and weft threads. Threads, which consist of multiple yarns plied together producing a long, thin strand used in sewing or weaving are usually measured in units. Hence, it may be a cotton or silk fabric, threads count or thread per inch is used to measure the coarseness or fineness of fabric. This is done by counting the number of threads contained in one square inch of fabric or one square centimetre. It includes both warp and weft threads. This is done specially when it comes to cotton linens or sarees, giving a perfect look to fabrics for all occasions.
The more the counts the stronger is the quality of a saree. And it also denotes the excellence of the weaver of a saree. Through this parameter, one can easily evaluate the durability and stability of a saree.