Jamdani is a type of weaving done by loom on brocade in the west of India. It produces a beautiful, shimmering cloth with various motifs patterned on it. This is a region-specific craft practiced in rural areas in Bengal though today the Jamdani saree, the most common product of this handicraft industry, is widely popular all over India and is even gaining a certain amount of international recognition. The art of making Jamdani sarees is believed to be a combination of the ancient cloth making techniques of Bengal and Muslin production techniques introduced by the Mughals. Today it is widely practiced in both India and Bangladesh, with the Bangladeshi Jamdani saree being one of the most beloved items in a traditional Bengali woman’s wardrobe. The most exclusive and luxurious looking is the Dhakai Jamdani saree which is regional variation that was only available to the royalty for many years.
Historically, the Jamdani saree was only woven using fine cotton materials, sometimes in combination with gold and silver threads; however, nowadays silk and cotton blends are commonly used. This fabric is versatile enough to be woven with full silk, either pure or artificial and with various metallic yarns. The weaving is done using hand and foot operated tools and this makes the fabric very ‘eco-friendly’ though at the same time this increases the value and cost of the saree. For those seeking the classic versions of the Jamdani saree, Bangladesh would be the place to look. The weavers in the country prefer to use only the finest Egyptian cotton and stick to the traditional palette of white, beige and other pale colors. A Bangladeshi Jamdani saree collection would typically yield a collection of fine-textured, attractive yet understated woven cotton sarees, perfect for office wear.
Dhakai Jamdani sarees, on the other hand, should be reserved for special occasions because of their ultra-luxurious texture and look. These are typically quite expensive because of the amount of time, effort and technique that goes into their production. In fact it can sometimes take a year or longer to produce one special designer saree. This fabric is distinguished by its thin, gossamer-like appearance and ornate, intricate patterns. It can be woven in cotton, cotton-silk or silk with an intermingling of gold and silver thread. The fineness of the fabric means that it has a soft and supple feel and drapes beautifully over the female figure. Though other regions in Bengal and Bangladesh have some beautiful Jamdani sarees styles, it is the Dhakai type that is the most coveted. To get the most authentic varieties of the Dhakai Jamdani saree Bangladesh and India would be the preferred locations to head to as these are the main countries where this art is practiced. However, the customer base for such handicrafts has widened and not everyone can make a trip to the source. For those who wish to easily get Dhakai Jamdani sarees, online shopping can be a good option as long as it is a reputed online store with a varied collection of authentic sarees.
In any Jamdani saree collection you’ll find a lot of variety in terms of designs and patterns. The typical designs include multicolored motifs of flowers, lines and fruits, with the paisley or mango motif in particular being extremely common. The classic design is of a thick border with additional designs strewn all over the fabric. Regional variations are also known for their distinctive designs; Tangail Jamadanis have a single or double border with a shining appearance, Shantipur Jamdani sarees will have designs like checks, stripes and wavy lines, sometimes with a unique multi-colored look achieved by weaving contrasting colored threads into the fabric itself.
In terms of color, too, a lot of varieties are available today. Traditionalists maintain that the classic shades of white, beige and cream suit this type of saree best; however, In India, the craftsmen are willing to experiment with newer and bolder shades to meet the demands of their more modern customers. These have a bold yet appealing look, especially when interesting contrasts such as blue on black or silver on green are used.
Trendy Jamdani Sarees
The latest versions of these sarees come with a lot of interesting modern designs in place of the conventional ethnic motifs. For instance, tie and dye borders add a colorful vibe to the saree and provide an eye-catching variation from the old-fashioned single color borders. More contemporary designs are also seen like geometric shapes, abstract designs and stylized animals and flowers.
Jamdani sarees have an understated yet sophisticated vibe that matches well with off-beat ethnic jewelry. Items like oxidized necklaces, terracotta and dokra jewelry sets will look great with the casual varieties, while simple silver or gold jewelry will go the best with the formal wear sarees.