Pashmina Sarees: Dream Drape from Kashmir
We know this exquisite material by many names. In India some call it Pashmina, some Pashm and in the West and across the world it is known as Cashmere derived from the region where the Europeans first came across it – Kashmir, the beautiful mountainous region in Northern India, known for its exquisite handicraft and woolen products. The name Pashmina has Persian origins and is derived from the word Pashmin which means made of wool. In Kashmiri language, it translates into soft gold, which is probably the most appropriate name for this beautiful and soft fabric. Traditionally used for shawls and drapes, the fabric has now got a new avatar as exquisite pashmina sarees.
From Where Does The Wool Come for Pashmina Saree
Pashmina wool comes from goats found in the high mountain regions of Himalayas. It comes from four breeds of goats – collectively known as pashmina or Cashmere goats or Himalayan Ibex. The pashm fibre is very fragile and not suitable for machine processing and weaving. Hence, every part of the processing of the wool and its weaving is still done by hand. The fineness of the fabric and its quality depends upon not just the quality of the wool but also the skill and finesse of the weaver.
How the Soft Gold Fabric for Pashmina Sarees is Created
From collecting the wool to final finishing of the fabric every part of creating Pashmina fabric is extremely labour intensive. The winter under coat of the goat is collected in spring when the goats start to shed their winter coat. It cannot be sheared like sheep wool and has to be combed out and collected. It is then hand combed, spun, dyed, and woven into this exquisite lightweight yet incredibly soft and warm fabric that is then used as the beautiful Pashmina Sarees. Traditionally, the pashmina fabric is created in wider width than normal, making it ideal to be converted into a saree. Six yards of this soft fabric can be draped around the body of a woman to create a traditional saree.
What is Pashmina Silk Sarees
Pashmina fabric by itself has a dull and matt finish, but has a beautiful drape so essential to creating a saree that wraps around a woman’s curves like a second skin, covering yet enhancing it. To create a more interesting and glossy finish, silk yarn sourced from Kashmir as well as other parts of India is blended into the pashm yarn to create Pashmina Silk Sarees. The blended yarn can then either be woven on a handloom or a powerloom, as it is not strong enough to withstand the process. The resulting blended Pashmina Silk fabric retains the warmth, lightness and softness of original pashmina and gains a beautiful glossy finish due to the addition of silk.
Pashmina Sarees Style and Type
Pashmina sarees can be woven as plain sarees or can be styled to look like traditional sarees with a border and a pallu. You can find pashmina sarees and pashmina silk sarees in the following styles/types:
Plain: these sarees are solid colours without any embellishing, design or printing. They have their own charm and are ideal for office or work wear. Plain pashmina sarees are available in a rainbow of colours and hues. From natural beige to ivory, white, red, blue, green, yellow, pink, you name the colour and it is available.
Kani Weave: This is a special weaving style that is typical of the Kashmir valley and is employed to weave intricate patterns in a multitude of hues on fabric. Kani weaving is an extremely specialized job. It is highly detailed and time consuming and each saree can take months to make. Kani pashmina sarees are exquisite pieces of fabric and fit for heirlooms to be passed on from generation to generation. These sarees can be worn for any formal occasion. From power dinners to conferences, to glittering gala nights, these sarees will fit in everywhere.
Kashida: This is a special form of embroidery practiced only in Kashmir. Only one or maximum two types of stitches are used to create intricate patterns on the fabric. Kashida work can be done only on the border and pallu, or it can be all over. A popular style is border, pallu with little motifs strewn over the body of the saree. Kashida work sarees are pieces of art and having one in your wardrobe is a must. The sarees can be worn for all occasions depending upon the work and the colours used for embroidery. They make excellent heirloom and wedding trousseau pieces.
Sozni: this is a very intricate embroidery style from Kashmir where patterns are created using intricate satin stitch that can be worn from both the sides. Each side may or may not have different colours. Though mostly reserved for shawls, sozni is now making its way into pashmina sarees too. A fully embroidered sozni saree is extremely expensive, but for a statement piece, a thin border and pallu saree is available at more affordable prices.
Printed: Pashmina sarees and Pashmina Silk sarees also come in traditional prints. They are available as all over prints, border pallu and booti, floral borders and pallu, geometric border and pallu, etc. These printed sarees are as elegant and lovely as any silk or cotton saree and can be worn for casual as well as work wear.
Woven Double/Multicoloured: Pashmina sarees are available in double or multicoloured woven patterns with stripes, checks or just matching border and pallu over a plain center. These sarees are available in both 100% pashmina as well as pashmina silk.
Where to Buy Pashmina Sarees in USA
If you wish to treat yourself to a warm and beautiful pashmina saree or a pashmina silk saree in the USA, the best place to find an eclectic collection of Pashmina sarees is at Pure Elegance, your favourite ethnic wear showroom in USA. Whether you are looking for a casual wear pashmina saree or one that is an heirloom piece, you can find your perfect saree at the Pure Elegance Store in New Jersey, USA.
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