Paithani is a variety of sari, named after the Paithan town in Aurangabad, Maharashtra state where they are woven by hand. Made from very fine silk, it is considered as one of the most expensive saris in India.
The Paithani, a pure silk saree with a zari of gold and silver traces its origin to the brocades of the Yadavas which were sourced from Paithan in Maharashtra. The Paithani saree is a much treasured heirloom of any Maharashtrian lady. Today, the Paithani is a dying art form due to its high price and exclusivity, and the market is flooded with powerloom copies. The weaving process uses two components, the tana which is the warp, so called as it is stressed and under tension while weaving, and bana, a rougher and thicker type of silk that is the weft. The padar contains the distinctive motifs of the Paithani such as the mor, bangdi mor, kamal, asawali and akruti. The padar is one of the most intricate and time-consuming parts of the Paithani to weave, taking from two weeks to two months depending on its length, level of detail and the intricacy of the motifs.
- Procurement of raw material- silk and zari yarn.
- Pre-processing and dyeing of yarn (done at dyers place) The raw silk is first untied. A sticky substance is naturally present on the yarn which is removed by scouring it. The yarn is then dyed in required colours by hot water dying.
- Making of warp yarn spool (wagi)
- Winding of small weft yarn spools (kandi) using cycle charkha.
5. Setting the warp on loom
- Tying the warp spool in its place.
- Taking the warp on warp beam in sections as separate threads.
- Setting up dobby according to border design.
- Setting up jacquard according to motifs in body of saree.
- Fixing punch cards in jacquard attachment.
- Threading the yarns through the jacquard heddles for motifs, dobby heddles for border.
- Threading the threads through heddles of fly shuttle loom.
- Taking the yarns forward from the reed.
- Attaching tensions to the yarn packages.
- Tying the threads to an iron rod and cloth beam.
- Let off and taking up of yarn on loom.
6. Weaving of the saree/ fabric starts.
- First the skirt portion of saree is woven. It basically is of plain weave which is done using shuttle (dhota). If border is in different colour two different shuttles are used for it.
- In jacquard motifs the threads lift up automatically according to the design. The weaver has to insert yarn from the gap.
- After this the pallu portion is woven. The whole of pallu is a region where the weavers make use of small cotton spools wound with different coloured silk yarns. According to the design the number of spools increases. These spools are moved from one side to other in one picking and then in opposite direction in next picking. The threads are lifted according to design patterns which are either fixed on paper below the warps or are fixed in the minds of the weaver in terms of number of threads to be increased and decreased to create the pattern.
- Once the saree is complete the weaver leaves a space of about 5 inches and begins plain weaving.
- After 2 inches a gap is left and again a little plain weave patch is woven.
- Then the threads are let off and fabric is taken up on cloth beam.
- A rod is inserted through threads in between two woven patches.
- Finally the ready fabric is cut off from the loom!