1. Conceptual Design & Dyeing:
The most delicate part of Patola weaving is to set different colour of threads according to its design and pattern. It has to pass through a geometric calculation process in order to set the threads with different colors at accurate distance. Initially, its design is visualized on graph paper. To begin with, warp and weft silk threads are tied according to the design separately with cotton thread to set a particular design in the fabric. Thereafter, this tied portion is dipped into selected colour so that when it is untied, the color mark appears only at the outer part and the inner part remains intact. Further, this untied portion that has absorbed one color is again tied for dyeing in another color. This process is done each time for a block of complete pattern. Thus, tying, untying, retying and dyeing in different shades and colors are the main features of this process.
2. Weaving on Loom:
When the dying process is completed, moisture of color is allowed to dry completely. Thereafter, the threads of the warp of different repeats of a pattern are put together in a sequence on the loom, so that the design becomes visible. The technique of Patola weaving is unaltered since primitive period. The best part of Patola weaving is harnessing the loom with hands, without any machinery. Weaving process involves to and fro moving of bamboo shuttle keeping intact the warp shades. Each weft thread is thoroughly examined and matched with each part of the warp design pattern.
After every 8” to 10”, the stretches of warp threads are removed through needle, so as to accurately position the warp and weft as conceived in design pattern. This process is completely labour intensive, time consuming and requires high order of skill and adeptness.
Since this work involves huge artisanship, it takes two to three months to weave tie-dyed design on warp and weft threads for a single traditional Patola Indian Saree.
Finishing part also involves great care and attention. Even a slightest wear and tear is not accepted. It requires complete review to fine tune the fabric, pattern and design.