After the beautiful embroideries, Gujarat is also home to amazing weaves that are a combination of generations of expertise and skills; which results in aesthetic beauty. Mashru fabric is a hand woven mix of cotton and silk. Mashru silk has the appearance of glistening silk that conceals the soothing feel of cotton. Bright contrasting stripes in vibrant colors are a characteristic of Mashru fabric. The fabric is mainly manufactured in Patan and Mandvi in Gujarat. Mashru fabric have a satin finish and striped Ikat weave. It is an important part of the bridal trousseau in a variety of communities in the form of sarees and lehengas.
Mashru has a silk exterior, but the inner fabric which stays in contact with the skin is made up of cotton. It seems that the makers of this fabric put every possible color together in lustrous compositions. For the people with a taste of luxury, this blend of the opulence of silk and the comfort of cotton, in multicolored stripes and Ikat patterns, is the right choice. Silk on the outer surface has a glossy appearance, the cotton yarns on the back side, soak sweat and keep the wearer feeling cool in warm weather conditions; thus, making this luxurious fabric, of practical utility. Craftsmen have developed new designs by tie-dyeing the fabric and using Bandhani technique. Traditionally used in garments, Mashru is also used for making quilts, cushions and bags.
MAKING OF MASHRU
Mashru fabric is made up of silk and cotton yarns; where silk is used as the vertical yarn and cotton is used as the horizontal yarn. Each silk yarn goes under the cotton yarn once, and five or eight time above it. After completing the weaving of the fabric, it is washed in cold water and is beaten with wooden hammer while it is moist. Natural vegetable dyes are used to add color to the fabric. Mashru is compressed with hard press. This weaving technique of Mashru fabric results in a shiny surface that is identical to silk fabric and comfortable cotton on the inside of the clothing. Interweaving of silk and cotton makes Mashru a durable fabric.
PRESENT DAY STATUS OF MASHRU
Recently, a few craftsmen use chemically dyed rayon instead of pure silk, to reduce the cost of the final product. Rayon is economical and gives better texture and shine than silk fabric. However, synthetic dyes that are used now, make the fabric weak. Mashru has now found its place in a range of home furnishings, side lining the garments. Designs of Mashru have become simpler with time. Bright and vivid designs with solid colored fabrics are replacing the traditional Ikat designs and patterned stripes. Craftsmen incorporate Bandhani saree designs with Ikat. Traditional Mashru is on the brink of extinction. Fabric is being made with power looms today. Creation of Mashru with cotton and silk yarns, is a dying art form.
MAINTENANCE OF MASHRU
Mashru fabric is relatively easier to maintain as compared to pure silk. However, care tips include, washing this fabric in cold water and slowly rinsing. Drying the fabric in direct sunlight helps in keeping the glossiness of the fabric for a long span of time.
Precious Mashru fabric finds its customers all across the country. Colors of Mashru cheer up a tired soul; the popularity of this multi-colored textile among color loving people keeps hope for the revival of this beautiful craft. You can now purchase Mashru Silk Online on The Design Cart, at wholesale fabric prices.
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