After having taken over the reins of the Textile Ministry, Union Cabinet Minister of Textiles, Smriti  Irani recently started the “IWearHandloom” hashtag that created quite the buzz on twitter, with numerous high-profile personalities like Malini Awasthi,  Anita Dongre, Nirupama Rao, Virender Sehwag and Manish Malhotra among many others, displaying their own favorite handloom outfits. So with all the furor around handloom and handweaving techniques, we give you a closer look into five of the most exquisite Indian ethnic handloom techniques of all.

Kancheepuram Handloom

Kancheepuram silk sarees are some of the most popular if not the most popular, in the whole country. They are known widely for their famed zari work with elaborate designing that is done by skilled artisans who have refined their craft tirelessly over the years. Although other types, such as Mysore silk sarees, Kasavu sarees and Uppada sarees are also popular in the South, they don’t quite measure up to the Kancheepuram ones.

Chanderi Handloom

The Chanderi handloom technique originates from Madhya Pradesh and is used mostly for Chanderi silk sarees. What sets them a class apart from other types of sarees is the fact that they often come in resplendent and unique shades with elegant designs. The saree apparently offers the person wearing it a soft and airy feel, because of its soft texture, butis and pallus. This handloom technique has caught on so much that they have even become a regular showcase on the ramp.

Baluchari Handloom

This handloom technique originates from West Bengal and commonly features mythological motifs along with the finest zari and resham work, done by consummate professionals. All golden zari woven Baluchari sarees are called Swarnachari. The pallus of these outfits often depict local stories or events from the epics.

Munga Handloom

Originating from the North-East of India, this handloom technique perfectly reflects the cultural aspects of the North East and has its own identity across the country. The most notable feature of the saree is that the fact that it offers psychedelic three-dimensional effects along with attached woven borders.

Uppada Handloom

The Uppada technique originates from Andhra Pradesh and features the finest and lightest silk sarees from Uppada and the East Godawari District. The most prominent feature of this technique is the weaving pattern which is a jamdani type, where the zari used is also pure.The designs of the Uppada silk sarees are classy while the colors are also vibrant.

Here are a few tips for you to easily distinguish between genuine handloom textiles and power loom textiles:

  • Touch and feel are everything. Handlooms are soft to the touch while power loom fabrics tend to be rougher.
  • These fabrics often contain imperfections, in that they there is no uniformity in the weave, which is what adds to its beauty.
  • The threads per inch count are higher than normal fabrics, making these ones softer and richer.
  • The reed which is an instrument used in most handlooms is evident in the textiles when held vertically against the light.
  • There are no oil stains whatsoever in these sort of fabrics, while in power loom fabrics the oil used on the steel machinery stains the fabric badly.
  • The fabric edge marks are slightly wavy and uneven
  • These beautiful fabrics also feature “pin marks” which are caused while the fabric is weaved.