Dhokra + Kantha + Weaving + Leather + Printing + Jewelry + sasha skills

sasha craft >> Weaving

Weaving is one of the oldest crafts in the world and in each region myriad techniques and fabrics have evolved. In West Bengal, woven fabrics are famous for their very fine count, soft texture and intricate jacquard or Jamdani patterns. The colours are gentle, in keeping with the lush landscapes and seemingly of infinite tones. Saris, stoles and gamchas or towels are the main products woven here.


Phulia (also spelt Fulia) is a town in Nadia district in West Bengal. After the partition of India in 1947, many skilled weavers of Dhaka came and settled in West Bengal in Nadia and Bardhaman districts, both traditionally renowned centres for hand-woven fabrics.

These talented weavers soon revived their ancestral occupation and the art of exquisite weaving once again flourished.

Today, finely woven feather-touch textiles and saris in exotic designs and colours are being produced in the vast weaving belt of Shantipur, Phulia, Samudragarh, Dhatrigram and Ambika Kaln - each centre producing superb fabrics in its own unique weaving style. Phulia and Samudragarh specialize in a combination of jacquard and jamdani work.

Process of Weaving

The sound is the first thing that hits you… Beyond the prayer-songs blaring from the community puja pandal, behind the long, warning horn of the passing local trains, there is the constant chatter of looms. As you walk through the village, observing the many different processes that go into transforming yarn to cloth, you cannot get away from the constant clackety-clack of the weavers at work.

Normally pure cotton and silk yarn is used in Phulia. The first step is thoroughly wash the yarn and de-gum it, in a process called scouring.

Then the yarn is dyed in a vat, squeezed to get rid of excess liquid and dried. It is dried on bamboo sticks in the open so that the sun seals the dye.

All the yarn is then starched with rice-water. This is done to stiffen it, which makes it easier to set on the spinning wheel.

The yarn is then transferred to a spinning wheel manually.

Spinning the wheel transfers the yarn to small bobbins From bobbins, the yarn is transferred on to large drums, by a complex process called 'drumming'. Already, at this stage, bands of yarn are spaced on the drum according to the final design planned

Next, the yarn is transferred to the warp beam, again, measured and placed according to the planned weave design

Drafting: the loom is set according to the pattern desired, the strings pulled through tiny metal rings to set the warp of the weave. The yarn is then 'lifted' according to the number of shafts required for the weave.

The beam is taken to the loom, where actual weaving takes place. This is where we see the result of all the different stages, as the cloth is finally formed. The weaver uses a shuttle to pass the weft through the threads of the warp, or the longitudinal yarn. With his feet he manipulates the warp, and from the complex, fine, interweaving of the warp and weft the fabric is born.

In Phulia, complex patterns with raised thread are made using the Jacquard loom. Here the loom is controlled by punched cards with punched holes, each row of which corresponds to one row of the design. Multiple rows of holes are punched on each card and the many cards that compose the design of the textile are strung together in order.

The final product is finished by the ends being tasseled and ironing.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Click here to download the full book.


Read about our other crafts
Dhokra + Kantha + Weaving + Leather + Printing + Jewelry + sasha skills