Wednesday 30 January 2013

Factors to Consider While Buying Indian Traditional Fabrics –Khadi

Khadi is a handspun and handwoven fabric. The following issues often come up when buying this fabric:

1. It is difficult to source these yarns. As these yarns are concentrated in the unorganized sector with regard to their production and the process is immensely labor oriented. 

2. Handspun yarn is of two varieties. One variety is called the original Charkha variety in which the raw cotton is drawn and twisted by hand on a charkha and wound. This quality is most difficult to find and bulk production is not possible. This is most suited for coarse counts suitable for hand spinning. The other quality is called the Amber quality, in which the yarn is twisted by hand by a process  called Amber Charkha in which the input material is roving from mills. Moreover the final  twisting and drawing operation is done by ring and traveler arrangement. The only difference from ring frame is that this ring and traveler is rotated with the help of a handle. Here bulk production is possible, finer counts are also possible and most of the handspun yarn is made using this process. There is this fabric called “Malkha” where the pre spinning part is done using a small scale machine developed by Vortex, however the yarn is Z twisted, as that of a milspun yarn. 

3. Khadi yarn in a fabric is determined by the amount and frequency of slubs that are coming in the fabric as well as twist. The twist in a khadi yarn is by convention opposite to that found in a milspun yarn. However, this reverse twisted yarn is also now being made in mills, though surreptitiously. I myself have seen a cone of a kahdi yarn made of machine in a mill. 

4. The quality of khadi yarn is not so good so as to be used in warp. The cotton used to make these yarns is of short staple quality and often quite old. It is therefore, used in weft, using handspun yarns. Attempts to get the quantities in production for handspun yarns have resulted in inordinate delays in the deliveries and numerous fabric defects. 

5. The count of khadi varies sometimes as much as 10-15%, this makes it difficult to keep the GSM of the khadi consistent. 

6. Khadi yarn doesn’t lend itself to be machine dyed on a continuous range. It can be cabinet dyed but the cabinets have to be modified as the diameter of lea of khadi is less than that of a normal hank yarn.  Usually it is dyed by hand using vat dyes. As the cotton comes from various sources- sometimes recycled cotton is used- it might give specks in the form of foreign fibers. 

7. When woven in yarn dyed form, it might give bandings as the yarn spools can be from two different sources. To avoid that, on a powerloom, Khadi is made using two shuttles. 

8. Khadi white is done by bleaching the yarn using homemade furnaces. This might give yellowness to the overall fabric, which is such a characteristic color for the original khadi. However, in order to cater to the requirement of buyers who still think in an export way, it is bleached in the fabric form. However, that reduces the weight of the khadi and makes it much thinner.

9. As it is also a handloom fabrics, getting bulk production and timely deliveries are always an issue. 

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.  

Friday 25 January 2013

Factors to Consider While Buying Indian Traditional Fabrics- Fabric Width

Effect of Width
Width affects consumption. This is very important in case of ethnic fabrics as most of them come at a width which is either lower or higher than the one contracted. As the fabric is dyed using local methods and dried in the air, it is impossible to control width or variations of widths over length. We’ll take some cases of the fabric.

When working with block prints on cotton, the fabric is usually mill and often powerloom. It is prepared locally at the printer’s for printing. Sometimes width contraction happens to full 10 inches. This happens specially in case of voile with lower constructions (92 x 80). It is useful to calculate the consumption under various width and issue out the fabrics based on that.

Width problem also occur in prints on powerloom cambric, mull or Mangalgiri. Due to different shrinkage treatment at the processing stage after weaving, sometimes after washing width reduces to an unequal amount.

Greige fabric, if dyed in dark colors is subject to full mercerization, shrinks the fabric widthwise, sometimes to a considerable extent.

Weft Ikat has a special problem with regard to width, the cuttable width is about 2 inches less than the actual width. Because of problems with tyeing the weft yarn, the actual Ikat motif start one inches inside the actual width.

The best way to control is to take the min. width of the whole lot and work out consumption based on that width. Or different thaans can be issued out at different consumptions.

Lots of pintucks are woven widthwise, which means that stripes come in the weftwise direction. To make them suitable for mens or women's garments bigger widths are chosen on loom. Similarly in heavy silk fabrics, bigger widths are chosen as the stripes run in the weft. 

Woollen shawls and stole present a particular problem as the best of the stripes come in weftwise direction. 

Width poses no problems when working with silks or woolens.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Factors to Consider While Buying Indian Traditional Fabrics –Thaan थान(fabric roll) Length

Thaan-थान is a Hindi word, which means a fabric roll. It cannot be called a roll as the traditional fabric comes in folded (bolt) form.
Thaan lengths affect consumption. The lower the thaan length, the more is the wastage per thaan  as the end pieces become more and only some of these can be used for conversion. This assumes more importance when ordering traditional fabrics as the processes have limitations which restrict the maximum thaan length. This has bearing on the consumption calculation in the situations when you want to issue fabric out for jobwork conversion into garments.
A case needs to be mentioned in this regard. Kota which is a traditional fabric obtained from the state of Rajasthan, was selected for conversion into garments. It was to be used as an outer fabric on a cambric printed base. The fabric comes traditionally in 10.5 meters of length which is equivalent to two saris. However, this fact was ignored when ordering the fabric and calculating the consumption. The fabric arrived and then it was found that the wastage had gone up by almost 10% of the total length ordered.
Traditional Jaipur and Jodhpur print which are produced using traditional techniques of Dabu,Bagru and Ajarak come in lengths of 5 to 6.5 meters only. Here the limitation is that these are to be manually dipped into a dye bath and hence after becoming wet, they will become so heavy that ordinarily only 5 to 6.5 meter length can be physically carried for drying. This has a bearing on the consumption as the end pieces cannot be used.
Ikat coming from Orissa and Andhra has a limitation on thaan length, maximum length being only 12 meters.     
While working out placement prints, lengths have to be calculated very carefully so that it comes out an exact multiple of the number of garments to avoid wastage. This needs to be communicated to the printer sizewise. Normally a gap of one inches is kept between the lengths so as to facilitate cutting.
When ordering Benaras Brocades, maximum thaan length that one can get is 10 meters as there is  a weight on the cloth beam increases  after weaving. Similar is the case when ordering Chanderi or Mangalgiri Handloom fabric.
In the next post I will discuss about the Effect of Width

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Dyeing of Cotton with Azo Free Dyes ( In Hindi)

एजो फ्री रंगों से सूत की रंगाई की विधि 

The following brochure from Weavers Service Center depicts the process:

Thanks for your attention. Did you find the information you were looking for ? Please leave a comment. Do you need to know more ? Please suggest a topic in the comments.
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