How a Leheriya Fabric is Created

Learn this unique technique of creating colorful and patterned fabrics

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya textile (2010) by Badshah MianDastkari Haat Samiti

The Process

Leheriyas are fabrics with colourful diagonal or chevron striped patterns that have been created through resist dyeing. It is a resist technique, which is unique to the state of Rajasthan, in India.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

A glimpse of a typical Leheriya workshop - fabrics at different stages of production can be seen.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Preparing solution for degumming the fabric (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

A solution for de-gumming the fabric is first prepared.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The fabric is soaked overnight, and boiled if necessary, to remove starch and other impurities.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Using Threads to Create Colour

The distinctive stripe and chevron patterns of Leheriya are achieved through the particular technique of folding or rolling the fabric before it is tied. Tying of the fabric for Leheriya resist is done only by women artisans.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The fabric is folded diagonally and rolled, or folded like a fan before it is tied at intervals to produce the characteristic strip or chevron pattern on dyeing.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Rolled up fabric is ready to be tied according to the design.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

A wooden stand like this is used to tie the fabric.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The fabric is then tied, according to the required design.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Tying of fabric for leheriya resist is done only by women artisans in their homes.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

These specialised women artisans are called Bandhere.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Leheriya ties are made with multiple ply untwisted yarn.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Keeping a tie to the width of their two fingers, each Bandhere imparts her embodied uniqueness into a Leheriya.

These traditional and time-tested techniques infuse a distinctiveness at every turn of the process, each singular object retaining a harmony with the craft form through the rhythm of method.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The Mixing of Colours

Fugitive or kaccha colours are used, so that the unwanted colour is removed, in order to give a pure colour with lines of graphic quality. The fabrics used are usually very fine cotton and silk, which allow the dye to penetrate the inner layers during production. Their diaphanous properties also allow for an interaction of colour and pattern when the fabric is worn.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The tied fabrics are soaked in the water before dyeing, to ensure that they soak the dye.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The dye is mixed in a large copper vessel...

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

...and salt is added, to fix the colour for cotton fabric.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

See how the resist-tied fabric is dyed

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

When done, the dyed fabric is spun, to drain out excess water.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: In the Leheriya workshop (2017-08) by Badshah MianDastkari Haat Samiti

Removing the ties

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Once dry, the resist ties are removed.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya production (2017-08)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The leheriya pattern is revealed when the resist ties are removed and the fabric is opened out.

Leheriya Tie-Dye: Leheriya textile (2010) by Badshah MianDastkari Haat Samiti

Credits: Story

Text: Aloka Hiremath, Jaya Jaitly
Photography: Suleiman Merchant
Artisans: Badshah Mian and family
Ground Facilitator: Charu Verma
Documentary Video: Suleiman Merchant
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.
Explore more
Related theme
Crafted in India
Meet the makers. Explore their craft. Share their stories.
View theme
Google apps