Process of Thread Making
Banaras Town in Orangi Town that was established in 1964 is the place where the original weavers and their families were first settled with an innate skill of making banarsi fabrics as adept artisans and later on inherited their skill to their family members. Today these devoted craftsmen practice their traditional business, weave the fabric and supply to an ever-growing yet selective market in Karachi. Some daring and enterprising people in this trade have opened their outlets in the Banaras Town area, craving to make it big with mere hard work and a bit of luck.
Different techniques are used there to produce a product that has a splendor of creativity. Techniques include cultivation of thread, graphic design, hand loom, power loom, dyeing and polishing.
Fiber to Yarn:
The fiber is produced in fields in the form of cotton, flax and other fibrous plants. It is obtained from animals and insects like, sheep, goats, silkworms etc.
Minerals like asbestos and wollastinite are also mined for getting fibers. As if these natural sources of fibers are not enough, they are chemically researched upon and synthetic fibers are prepared. As such yarns are formed from both, natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, linen, jute, wool, silk as well as from manmade fibers such as nylon and rayon.
Yarn to Fabric:
Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibers, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery and rope making. When the short fibers are twisted together, they take the form of yarn. Thus, yarn is a continuous filament of interconnected fibers used for making textile. Yarn can be made by one of the several techniques of spinning. Networking of natural or synthetic yarn forms fabric.
Fibers, Yarns, & Threads are the basic requirement of any textile, apparel or related industry. The manufacturers require fibers, yarns and threads according to the product they manufacture. There are two forms of threads that are used while making of cloth, the one is warp (taana), which is the base thread, and the other is weft (baana), which is used for weaving the cloth. The threads that are used in making banarsi fabric are Silk, polyester, nylon and cotton. The silk thread is processed in the form of hanging thread called lachi and the Cotton, polyester, nylon threads are processed in the form of cone to be used over the loom. Hence warp and weft has to pass through many operations before actual weaving is done.
The threads are twisted, wrapped on reels and are doubled on charkha with the help of a process called cone in order to prepare a thread for weaving. The threads are then steamed and wrapped on the final spools. The required threads (spools) are then taken to the doubling machine, which is a machine used to make the warp for the weaving process. At last the thread goes over the loom for making fabric.
The Charkha is a very old tool, one of the oldest forms of a spinning wheel, popularized by Gandhi in the last century. The concept of the spinning wheel came to India by way of Iran in the thirteenth century. The charkha is powered by hand-cranking a wheel, which in turn spins, the spindle that sends twist into the fibers being spun, thus creating yarn or thread. Charkha means wheel in Hindi and was a tool as well as a symbol for the Indian Independence Movement. Gandhi understood that the people of India could be self-sufficient if they spun their own cotton thread and made their own cloth for their clothing, rather than being dependent upon imported fabrics.
The simple thread can also be twisted with gold threads in order to make zari. The zari fiber is doubled with the yarn to prepare it for the process of weaving. Another reason for twisting the zari fibre is to reduce its excessive shine. These fibers are then wrapped on reels with the help of a doubling machine. The threads are then steamed and wrapped on the final spools. The required threads (silk, zari, etc.) are then taken to the doubling machine for making warp.
Zari is basically a brocade of tinsel thread meant for weaving and embroidery.It is manufactured by winding or wrapping (covering) a flattened metallic strip made from pure gold, silver or slitted metallised polyester film, on a core yarn, usually of pure silk, art silk, viscous, cotton, nylon, polyester, P.P., mono/multi filament, wire, etc. Nowadays, it can broadly be divided into 3 types. ‘REAL ZARI’ made of pure gold & silver, ‘IMITATION ZARI’ made of silver electroplated (thinly) copper wire, and metallic zari made of slitted polyester metallised film. In ancient times, when precious metals were cheaply and easily available, only REAL ZARI threads were produced. Due to industrial revolution and invention of electroplating process, IMITATION ZARI came into existence to cut the cost of precious metals. As COPPER is the most malleable and ductile metal after Gold and Silver, silver electroplated copper wire replaced pure silver. Various modern colours and chemicals are used to create/impart a golden hue instead of pure Gold. The precious metals & copper too became dearer due to huge demand in various modern industries. Thus, a cheap & durable alternative was invented with non-tarnishing properties. METTALIC ZARI came into vogue replacing traditional metals like Gold, Silver & Copper. This ZARI is light in weight & more durable than earlier editions. Also, it had the most sought after properties of non-tarnishing & knot-free / knot-less.
Surat in the state of Gujarat on the west coast of India is the world’s largest producer of all types of ZARI & ZARI MADE-UPS namely Threads, Cantile, Laces, Ribbons,Borders, Trims, Fringes, Edges, cordonettes, Cords, etc. The art of ZARI making has been inherited from father to son since many centuries. Women from different communities & artisans produce Zari & made-ups for weaving, embroidery, crocheting, braiding, etc.
In Orangi Town Karachi the small entrepreneurs doesn’t have their own full unit of making banarasi fabric, instead being a lower class settlement the units are divided among each other. Some people master in thread making, others in naqsha drawing and so forth. among these small units they have settled there fully equipped units to produced zari threads according to their own need.
The quality of the cloth depends on the amount of threads used in the making of cloth. The thread count measures the thickness or fineness of fabric. The worker set the number of threads along two sides (up and across) of the square inch. Higher the thread count, finer the fabric is. The threads are selected with the preferred color and material.
Threads are usually purchased from the market. The price of the fabric depends on the price and type of threads used as raw material. Threads like Silk, Katan, Jamawaar are imported from china and sometimes Pakistan makes its own yarn from the imported cocoons that come from China. The yarn is cultivated in areas like Orangi town and Shershah, which are then sold to the weavers. The pure silk yarn, before it can be used, has to undergo treatment such as bleaching or washing (in soap) and then dyeing. In its raw state, the silk is hard due to the Seri clan; therefore it has to be removed. A single filament of the silk yarn is not strong enough to be woven on its own; therefore, it needs to be twisted in order to give it strength and hold. Whereas polyester, cotton and nylon are all made in Pakistan.