Updated: Jan 27
As far as woven silks are concerned, there are two major categories; hand-woven silk sarees and power loom silk sarees. Both have their pros and cons and are available online as well as brick and mortar retail stores.
What are the major differences between them and why are hand-woven silk sarees so coveted? We delve into these topics in this article.
Handloom sarees are still preferred for bridal wear due to the intricacy of the weave and fabric thickness
Hand-woven silk sarees generally tend to be heavier. 3 ply to 4 ply silk is used to weave these sarees which combined with the fact that the weaver uses his skill to make sure the weave is intact, leads to thick and durable fabric. This is why it might take 10 to 20 days for each saree to be woven.
Power loom sarees on the other hand are lighter and the fabric is less thick compared to a hand woven saree. Speed is the main goal here and a power loom can weave a silk saree within 2 to 3 days.
Design and finish
Hand-woven sarees can be made of elaborate and grand designs. This is one of the main features of a hand loom silk saree. There is a reason why banarasi silk sarees, kanjivarams and paithani silks are so coveted. It is because of the intricacy of the weave and the elaborate and rich patterns.
At the current time, the designs that can be produced by a power loom are quite limited.
For obvious reasons, hand woven silk sarees are much more expensive than their machine woven counter parts. A pure zari hand-woven Kanjivaram silk saree might range from Rs 10,000 all the way to Rs 60,000.
In stark contrast, a power loom silk saree can cost as low as Rs 4,500 and go up to Rs 9,000.
Identifying a hand loom silk saree
If you are looking for a pure silk saree to wear for a party or occasion, then you are probably not too concerned about whether the saree is hand-woven or machine made. However, for saree connoisseurs, a hand-woven silk saree deserves a special status.
Here are simple ways to identify a hand-woven silk saree
a. Check the intricacy and quality of the zari work.
b. Check the thickness of the fabric.
c. Check to see if the paloo and body have a separation in the backside of the saree fabric.
This is a major feature of a hand-woven silk saree. If you see extra threads in the back side of the fabric at the separation, the saree is most definitely hand-woven.
d. It is common for some sellers to brand and sell power loom sarees as hand-woven. Buying from a genuine seller who informs you about the origin of the saree is always safer.
While we sell both hand-woven and power loom sarees, our pure zari Kanjivaram silks are all exclusively hand-woven.