Monday, 28 January 2013

Factors to Consider While Buying Indian Traditional Fabrics- Colorfastness

Colorfastness to Washing/Rubbing/Light

Every traditional fabric has Its own list of defects, some defects are inherent to the techniques, one has to live with them if they want that fabric.

All fabric indigo dyed or printed traditionally rub or bleed. It applies to Dabu and Bagru styles of printing. The dyeing is done in indigo pits, the concentration of which is kept in check by adding lime or Jaggery. Also every thaan has different shade of color in it. Traditionally these are dried in the sun and weather condition affects them. Indigo fabrics also fade, this poses a problem in storing them in stores where they can develop prominent fold marks. Kalamkari is also better in this respect except the designs which contains blue color which tends to rub or bleed. Ajraks are better in this respect. The fact that these fabrics are washed many times before the final process, make them much better as far as colorfastness to washing, rubbing or light is concerned. Dhars have very good colorfastness to washing or rubbing. Pigment prints are better in these respect, only difference is made when they are printed on traditionally handwoven fabric such as Managalgiris, where the base color often bleeds.

Ikats especially containing more than three colors are prone to bleeding as direct or napthol colors are used. Reactive dyes cannot be used as in the high temperature process of reactive dyes, the dyes will penetrate inside the rubber band used to tie the yarn. However it is possible to dye with reactive dyes warp ikats used in Andhra if the number of colors are less than three. In Orissa where weft Ikat is used, only direct or napthol colors are permitted, getting the colorfastness is a challenge.

For normal powerloom cotton fabrics woven in UP and Bihar, the yarn dyeing is often done with vat colors. However for black, sulphur black is used. It has a danger as the yarn becomes tender if the fabric is not washed properly after weaving. It leads to tearing of the fabric. Tearing is also observed in Patri print of Jaipur done with Aniline Black dyes, if the fabric is stored for longer time.Luckily, most of the weavers are shifting to the chamber dyeing, where the yarn hanks are dyed with reactive dyes and a colorfastness of the range of 4-5 is obtainable.

Silks from Varanasi has no problems whatsoever with drycleaning. However Silk when blended with viscose problems poses a problem with colorfastness when piece dyed. The people in Patna, Bhagalpur and Purnia still are using direct dyes which make the fabric vulnerable to the colorfastness. Silk Matkas, Mugas and Ghicha do not pose any problems.

Traditional fabrics of south are dyed with reactive dyes so colorfastness is not a problem there.  

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