Woven on a simple, horizontal handloom with two string heddles, the patola sari is always woven in a plain weave. The intricate patterning is acheived by tying and dyeing the warp and weft threads seperately, and according to the specific design of the overall sari. Motifs on the Patola sari were of flowers and jewels, elephants, parrots, tigers and dancing women used either in the border or in the central field, sometimes in a grid-like alternating pattern. These were always interspersed with geometric designs.
The designs themselves varied between patrons who were largely from the Hindu, Jain and Muslim communities with the latter not wearing animal and human figures. All three Patola saris in the Museum's collection are devoid of animal and human figures, and were probably meant to be worn by women from the Muslim Vohra [Bora] community. This patola sari features a 'pan-bhat' (pipal leaf) pattern also known as 'vohra-gaji-bhar', along with the caterpillar, lotus flower and stars.
Patolas were, and still are, highly prized and patronized only by those who could afford them. They took tremendous patience and precision to make. While double-ikats were woven in Patan and Surat, patola ‘imitations’ were made in single-ikat in Rajkot and Saurashtra. While a limited selection of Patolas continue to be woven today, mostly by the Salvi Jain community, natural dyes are seldom used.