It’s only when we see an Indian-origin embroidery or weave on the international ramp that we realise how lucky we are to be sitting on an unlimited data base of weaves and handlooms. What makes Indian fashion interesting today is the influx of Western sensibilities coupled with traditional Indian craftsmanship – and the results are outfits that speak to a truly global buyer. Be it Kanjeevaram, zardosi or Indian brocade, India has marked its fashionable stamp on the planet.
One such interesting type of weave is pattu. Rajasthan is one state that is known for its gorgeous embroideries and a number of weaves, mostly on cotton. Besides cotton, Kanjeevaram pattu saris are known for their intricate embroidery and gorgeous appeal. Delicate silk thread is used to create interesting patterns on the sari and to give wide contrasting borders.
Artisan working on a pattu loom
How is pattu work done?
Weaving a pattu sari can be a difficult due to the usage of delicate silk; hence, experienced hands are required to work on each and every piece. Once the weave is made, it is followed by the process of dyeing and drying.
Much pattu weaving is done in Rajasthan specifically in the Jaisalmer, Barmer, region and surrounding villages. Traditionally, wool from camel and sheep was used in the process, which used to give pattu outfits a limited colour palette. With the changing trends and introduction of artificial dyes, pattu is now made in a variety of beautiful and bright hues making it more popular and wearable.
Pattu weave is an intricate process, and the Meghval community of Rajasthan has been in the practice of creating pattu for centuries. The fabric is worked upon in a loom and gorgeous patterns are created by interlocking the thread and extra left-out weft. Extra weft brings out a gorgeous texture almost resembling embroidery on the cloth.
The gorgeous hues of Pattu weave
Stunning colour combinations are something that make pattu weave extraordinary
Types of pattu
What makes pattu work one-of-a-kind is its variety. The designs that dominate Rajasthani pattu are from the Bhojsari and Malani regions. Initially, pattu was worn by Gujjar and Kumhar women owing to its rough texture. It is interesting to note that pattu is also worn by women of colder regions such as Manali. Women in Manali used to weave local tweed called ‘patti’, which was further used to weave pattu, providing effective winter wear.
Pattu can be characterised based on the type of motif used. The basic ones are hiravali pattu, baladi check, and kashida pattu. Then there is plain pattu, which simply has vertical and horizontal lines. Chitra pattu has a specific pattern and a red border at both ends; ek phulwala pattu has an interesting colour combination – there is no set scheme for it and a similar pattern on both sides.
A women in a Pattu weave outfit from Manali
Pattu in today’s fashion
Thanks to the Indian designers and craftsmen who have interpreted pattu in a variety of ways, the weave is perennially fashionable. From fashion doyenne Ritu Kumar to Rajesh Pratap Singh and Pero by Aneeth Arora, pattu weave has been incorporated in the creative vocabulary of designers for the past many decades. Pattu saris, blouses and kurtas are often preferred by working Indian women.