Silk is considered a luxurious and sensuous fabric and can be used to create almost any kind of design. Silk is one of the oldest textile fibers known to man. Silk typically requires more care than other fabrics.
Cotton is used to make very fine and lightweight cotton saris and salwar kameez. It typically keeps you feeling cool and is easily washable. There are various types of cotton fabrics including Pure Cotton, Khadi Cotton, Mix Cotton, South Cotton, Ahmedabad Cotton, Crush Cotton and Rajasthani Cotton.
Chiffon is a lightweight fabric made of a combination of silk and nylon. It is sheer and transparent, made with very fine, tightly twisted yarn, which gives it an image of elegance. It is very strong, despite the delicate look.
Crepe is a thin fabric of crinkled texture, woven originally in silk but now available in all major fibers.
Georgette is created with a combination of nylon and polyester. It has a graceful, soft and delicate appearance.
Brocade was originally an elegant, heavy silk fabric with a floral or figured pattern woven with gold or silver thread. Brocades are typically ornate, jacquard-woven fabrics. The pattern is usually emphasized by contrasting surfaces and colors, and appears on the face of the fabric, which is distinguished easily from the back.
Polyester is a synthetic and man-made fiber. Some characteristics include crease resistance, ability to dry quickly, shape retention in garments, high strength, abrasion resistance and minimum care requirements.
Satin is made from yarns with low luster, such as cotton or other staple length fibers. The fabric has a soft, subtle luster.
Net fabric is an open fabric, which is created by connecting the intersections in a woven, knitted or crocheted construction to form a mesh-like appearance that won't ravel.
Organza is a crisp, sheer, lightweight plain weave fabric made of silk, rayon, nylon, or polyester. In silk, the stiffness comes from the natural gum that remains on the fibers after processing. In man-made fibers, the stiffness is engineered.
Tissue is woven of 100% polyester, moderately wrinkle resistant, and is machine washable or dry cleanable. Tissue has great draping qualities and sumptuous texture. There is silk tissue as well as cotton tissue.
Types of Embroidery
Each state in India is specialized in its own kind of embroidery. The wide range of embroidered saris has emerged from a vast variety of threads. Some examples include:
Phulkari - Floss silk thread used to create motifs of flowers is the main highlight - popular in Punjab.
Chikan - Delicate embroidery in white threads either in cotton or in silk – popular in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).
Zardozi - Gold and silver threading – popular in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).
Kantha - Threads from old sari borders – popular in West Bengal.
Zari - Fine quality gold and silver thread embroidery – popular in Bareilly, Benaras (Varanasi), Lucknow and Agra.
Other work includes heavy embroidery in resham, sequin, bead, stone, dabka, gota patti, and kundan.