The Story behind Every Thread of a Pochampally Ikkat Saree

The Story behind Every Thread of a Pochampally Ikkat Saree

Pochampalli Sarees, popularly also known as Pochampalli Ikat, is a traditional garment that originates from a small town in the Telangana State. These fabrics are woven in an interesting way which is very much different from that of the other fabrics. For weaving Pochampally, frame looms are used. One piece of this handloom skillfully designed saree sometimes requires hours and hours of labour and huge concentration. In this article, we will throw some light on the production cycle of this popular fabric.

The manual process

Each weaver works from their home and they involve all the family members who help in the different processes. One of them winds the bobbins, some marks out the design on warp threads while the other weaves on a loom. Each of their life revolves around the weaving process which is really time-consuming.

The manual saree weaving process for each Pochampally Ikat silk saree includes a number of steps that are highlighted below:

  1. Procurement of the yarn – It is the primary step of the production cycle. 
  2. Preparing the yarn – Next, the yarn is marked as per the desired design on the fabric.
  3. Designing – This involves tying a portion of the yarn to get the desired design. This step is essential before the yarn is coloured skillfully by assembling and using the tie and dye method with as many colours as required.
  4. Dyeing – Dyeing the yarn is an essential step after the design is set to achieve the effect of the color. In the case of Pochampally ikat sarees, the tie and dye method is used for dyeing. Here, the weft, warp or sometimes both are tie-dyed before they start the weaving process to come up with creative designs on the fabric.
  5. Wrapping – Extreme care should be taken in tying up the resist areas with a waterproof material like inner tubes of a bicycle that has been cut into strips. The precision of the design entirely depends on how well the wrapping was done. After the wrapping is complete, the warp threads are then dyed. Once unwrapped, the portions that were tied should retain the original colour of the yarn. If a pattern contains more than one colour, this same procedure is kept repeating. Every time a new colour is added, the tied-up yarn is opened and it is all ready for another round of wrapping. This actually gives Ikat its unique feathered look. This traditional dyeing technique is known as “resist” and results in glorious Ikats and Batiks. During this process, the designs are normally sketched on graph papers and since the designs are already imprinted on the threads, ultimate care should be taken while placing the wrap on the loom. Making sure that all the threads are in position is really important for the design to come out perfectly.
  6. Removing the rubber strips – Once the yarn is done with the first colour coating then the rubber strips are removed to colour the tied-up part with another colour.

e) Design Setting – After completion of the dyeing process of a particular design, the next step is designed setting where the weavers need to check that the design reflects in each thread in the warp.

f) Jointing – Once the yarns are designed, they are attached to the hills of the loom for weaving. The warp that has been prepared is drawn through the healed eyelets of the loom then made ready for gaiting.

g) Warps storage – This indicates the process of storing the warps that are ready to be woven.

h) Weaving – In this step, the designed yarns are set on the loom for handloom weaving to get the finished product. After gaiting of warp and connecting of weft manually, the fabric structure gets its form as per the pre-decided motif. Sequencing of the weft pins is important to ensure proper interlacement and to get the desired motifs.

i) Quality inspection – The woven fabric is then meticulously inspected on the loom during the weaving process. Cut fabric is then transferred for tabletop inspection. The inspected fabric that is found flawless is sent to the go-down marked with the status “Passed inspection”.

At the Handloom Park

If you do a survey in the Pochampally villages, you will come across only two communities i.e. the Devangas and the Padamshali weaving Pochampally in their own homes. But if you visit the Pochampally handloom park, you will notice that men and women from different backgrounds work there. Then Handloom Park is segregated based on the stages of weaving and the process. Men and women, there are engaged in cleaning and separating the yarn, tying and dyeing, weaving and finally doing quality checks.

The process of separating the yarn itself is a mammoth task. Hence, in Handloom Park instead of following the traditional process of separating by hand, machines are used for this process and other tasks too. There, keeping the comfort of the weavers in mind, small rooms are built where they can sit and relax occasionally and also have their food while at work.

Specialty of Pochampally handlooms

Though Ikat dates back to the 19th century, evidence proves that it came into existence in the 7th century as you will come across some women figures wearing clothes resembling Ikat pattern in the wall paintings of Ajanta Caves.

Pochampally handlooms are known for the natural and lasting colours used in their yarns. The count determines whether the fabric would be soft or hard. Here, count refers to the number of threads used for weaving length and breadth wise that are termed as warp and weft respectively. Each and every thread of the Pochampally ikat silk sarees are handwoven using the Ikat technique.

Ikats are can be either single Ikats or double ikat. The former indicates that either the warp or the weft is tied and dyed. The latter technique requires great skill, as both the weft and the warp are tied-dyed and the weaver needs to work on double looms.

Niayaa Craftloom makes a move Niayaa Craftloom, a group of professional artisans has taken an initiative in protecting this age-old weaving art. The organization has done a lot of studies to understand the pain involved in the skill of finally coming up with each of the hand-woven fabrics and truly appreciates it. They believe that to keep up India’s rich traditional products alive, they should ensure that these exclusive items reach the hands of the finest customers who deserve to own them. They take the pride in delivering some of the elite quality Pochampally Ikat sarees online through their own store.

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