The Process of Jamdani Weaving

How the Bengali craftsmen weave their finest fabric, the Jamdani

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Jamdani: Jamdani from Phulia (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Weaving Process

A highly prized textile technique, Jamdani weaving is displayed as the jewel and the master stroke of the Bengali weaver. The Dhaka Jamdani is world famous for its rich motifs and its fine muslin base fabric. In India, the state of West Bengal shares the same weaving heritage, and Jamdani is produced in the south-eastern weaving centres of the state. Jamdani weaving is also done by weavers in Benares, Uttar Pradesh.       

Jamdani: The making (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The sari has been the mainstay of the Jamdani weaving industry. The weavers of Bengal are very proud of their ability to weave fabrics that are highly appreciated across the world.

While many technological innovations have advanced the nature of textiles in the west, it is hard to beat the psychological pleasure of wearing muslin of the finest quality, knowing they are woven by hand.

Jamdani: Jamdani from Phulia (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Jamdani saris are mostly woven in fine cotton, with extra weft designs that are inserted by hand either with a shuttle or with a needle.

Jamdani: Intricacy of Jamdani (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The fine cotton yarn used for the base fabric needs starching in order to give it strength to withstand the stress on the loom.

Jamdani: Sizing and strengthening the fine muslin (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Traditional sizing methods use a particular type of rice starch (from Kalma rice).

Jamdani: Weaver at work (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The yarn is then transferred onto spools or bobbins to be used for the warp and weft.

Jamdani: Pre Weaving process (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Frame looms are used for Jamdani weaving, and the warp is prepared on a warping drum.

The ends are manually drawn through the reed when a new warp is prepared.

Jamdani: Drafting (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Jacquard looms have made it possible to make intricate designs, since the lifting order of the warp threads is defined by the jacquard cards.

Jamdani: Women weaver (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

While the base fabric uses fine yarn, the ornamentation is usually done with a thicker thread.

The design itself continues to be hand inserted, in a painstaking process that demands great skill.

Jamdani: Dyeing (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

A supplementary industry around weaving is that of dyeing.

Small dyeing units locally dye yarns according to weavers’ requirements.

Jamdani: Dyer taking the yarns for drying (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The dyeing process is mostly manual, and caters to the small and specific requirements of handloom units.

Jamdani: Packaging (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The dyeing houses provide dyed yarn directly to weavers and also supply it to yarn markets further away.

Jamdani: Narrative Jamdani weaving (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Read more about Jamdani weaving here:
- Weaving Centers
-Contemporary interventions

The Market
Credits: Story

Text: Aloka Hiremath and Jaya Jaitly
Photography: Chirodeep Chaudhuri
Artisans: Jyotish Debnath, Rajib Debnath and weavers from Phulia and Habibpur
Ground Facilitator: Ankit Kumar
Curation: Ruchira Verma

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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