Jaya Bachchan, Isha Ambani, Indira and Sonia Gandhi, all of them have worn the Patola of Patan.
From Phulkari in Punjab to the silk sarees of Kochipuram, Patola of Patan has quietly slid in its way to such tops.
Patola is derieved frim the Sanskrit word, ‘pattakula’ i.e. Silk. And patola of patan is all silk sarees and scarves and all and is hugely known because it has double ikat.
To comprehend this, imagine of many threads, stretched across. Okay now what happens is there are designs made on these threads and hence the design that is made on thread before looming is called ikat.
There are two threads in a cloth. The warp and the weft. Imagine a jute mat. In that the horizontal threads are called the warp and the vertical ones the weft.
Here is the process:
- The silk threads are first gummed and handtwisted to make them strong as there are bound to break.
- These threads are now grouped lets say maybe 20-30 threads a group.
Now is the main thing of the Patola of Patan is the tie and dye process (tie and dye is a process wherein some part of the cloth is tied and dipped into the dye. Let’s say the dye is of red then after dyeing, when opened the tied portion wont have any colour because that portion was tied and so no colour seeps to it). Patan’ patola has a somewhat complex tie dye process-
This picture shows how the silk threads are grouped and the design.The design for the patola is made on a graph, then drawn on these threads.
Now other threads are taken (not silk, maybe cotton or somwthing) and are tied like in this picture, the blue threads are. Why it is done so is these blue threads are the place where the design is.
Now they will take all these thread groups and dip it in dye let’s say, orange. After the dyeing is done, the blue threads are opened and that portion remains uncoloured because it was covered with those blue threads. Now to colour this design, the orange portion is now full covered with thread so that only that design is exposed and then dipped to say green.
The threads are removed and you get green on the design and orange on the full background. Now see, the design is already done before the threads are loomed and hence its called ikat!
This way using threads the portions are covered and how many designs are there, and colours are to be used, on that basis the silk threads are covered and dyed. Is not that perplexing?
Hell yes! It is! But wait, why is it double ikat? See, the example of this orange, green design that was given here was just done on the horizontal threads i.e. weft. But in double ikat, the same tye die process is also done on weft ie vertical threads. And it is also done on warp i.e. vertical thread such way that you know when that weft is kept on warp, they complete the design, like a puzzle!
That is the reason they use graph so that they draw the whole thing, see precisely what portion of design goes in warp and weft and tie dye them and put them together and loom them into a great fabric!
That is doubke ikat and Double ikat is done in many places like Bali, Guatemala, Japan but the most precise double ikat is done in Patan. In its patola. The makers of patola of patan were 700 families and today they are just 3.
You cannot say that this culture is dying because many organisations have come up to promote them and was also worn in the Lakmé Fashion week a few years ago.
That is the story of this patola that talks of culture and history.