How do you wash a Bandhani cloth?

Bandhani sarees

Today, I wore my first ever Bandhani saree and when I was looking up on the internet to find out how to properly wash a Bandhani fabric, I was surprised that there aren’t many articles or blog posts that give a direct answer to this question. Did you know that Bandhani or Bandhej is a popular technique that means ‘to tie’ or ‘tying’? In this article, you will read about where the Bandhani technique originated, the technique itself, the patterns, the colors, the types of Bandhani, and the how of washing a Bandhani cloth.

Read on to find out more about this amazing art form that actually originated in the desert state- Rajasthan and yet, its sparkle is inclusive to Gujarat and parts of Uttar Pradesh. And how do you wash a Bandhani cloth?

Bandhani Technique

Bandhani is an art that is ancient. Its early references involve picking the fabric with nails and tying it before the process of dyeing. This dates back to the 4000 B.C. in the Indus Valley Civilization. It is also extolled in the texts during the times of Alexander, the great.

To start off, using the impermeable thread, the fabric is tied in different patterns and designs. It is then dyed in solid colors. When dyeing these fabrics, the tied part of the fabric remains the same color as the fabric itself or it remains white. After dyeing, it is left to dry in the open air.

Weather plays a major role in the time taken by these dyes to dry. 4 to 5 hours is sufficient for the dye to dry during the summer season while during the monsoon season, it takes about 2 days for the dye to dry. Apart from the weather, the type of the fabric also plays a major role in the time taken for the dye to dry.

How do you wash a Bandhani cloth?

Washing of any fabric does not only mean that it has to remove the bad smell and the stains from the fabric. It must also ensure that the fabric does not lose its color after the wash. Also, it must be good to wear even after the wash.

Before washing any fabric, be it Bandhani or anything else, one must always read the instructions given on the tag and follow them to the dot.

Here is the detailed explanation of how you must wash the Bandhej fabric.

  • Before you keep the clothes to wash, if you are soaking them in water, ensure that you separate the white fabrics from the non-whites so that even if colors bleed, they do not get stuck to your white fabrics. It is best to softly wash Bandhani fabrics with hand separately.
  • If you are going ahead and washing the white and the non-white Bandhani fabrics together, it is best that you add some Oxygen oriented (Oxi clean) powder into the machine so that the colors do not bleed.
  • If the instructions tag on your Bandhani fabric says that you should dry clean the fabric, then you must dry clean it.
  • Use cold water for washing warmer colored Bandhani fabrics and warm water for light colored Bandhani fabrics.
  • Do not wash the Bandhani clothes along with your regular clothes. Wash them separately.
  • Fill the machine to the ¾ level first and then, use detergent to ensure that the Bandhani fabric that you are going to wash gets cleaned properly.
  • It is always advised that you hand wash the Bandhani fabric first before you machine wash it. Only machine wash it if it is extremely dirty. Otherwise, a hand wash would suffice.
  • Before putting the Bandhani fabric in the dryer to dry, ensure that you use a fabric conditioner. This will ensure that the fabric stays fresh and also, the color of the Bandhani fabric remains intact for a longer duration of time.
  • If the Bandhani fabric that you have just washed is made of cotton fabric, it is best that you iron it before you wear it because drying it in the dryer would make it crumpled.

Bandhani Production

It is an Indian handmade art that is carried on by skilled artisans, workers, dyers, and families that have been doing this as a tradition. Young girls and women in Bandhani centers tie the fabrics that are a few times pre-traced with the designs so that they can create Bandhani. The men of the family then dye, re- tie and then, re-dye these fabrics. This is a major industry, though time-consuming with traditional processing and techniques.

Practice Of Bandhani

This technique has been associated with the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Motifs and patterns which are used in the Gujarati and Rajasthani Bandhani are extremely sought after. The finer Bandhani is, the higher the price you have to pay to acquire it.

Families in Anjar, Bhuj, Jamnagar, Mandvi, etc. have been involved in the bandhani trade for ages. The bandhej that is made in the Saurashtra belt, Kutchi Bandhani, is coarser. Jamnagar is extremely popular for bringing in together Bandhani patterns, as the water in that area is known to bring out the best colors in the red- palette. Simple Bandhej patterns are found in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surendranagar, Morbi, and Deesa.

In Sikar and in Bikaner of Rajasthan, the finest of the Bandhej patterns are tied. The whole of the Jaipur belt also makes Bandhani. Aside from this, most of the cities also have their very own Bandhani centers. Block printing, Lehariya, and Bagru are among the other crafts that are popular in the Rajasthan area.  

Bandhani Patterns

The single dot in Bandhani is known as Bundi or Ek Dali. The four dots together are known as Chaubundi while the seven dots together are known as Satbundi.

Dots that are small and have a center that’s dark are called Boond and Kodi is what we call a dot that is in the shape of tear-drop. The cluster of three is known as Trikunti and the group of four is known as Chaubasi. Also, the group of seven is known as Satbandi.

Different elaborate designs can be created by repeating these patterns and dots. The designs include human figurines, leaves, trees, and flowers. Waves, Indian sweetmeats, and the mountain pattern are the other most commonly used Bandhani patterns.

Bandhani Colors

Auspiciousness and Bandhani are vividly connected to each other. It uses dark, deep tones but begins with the usage of lighter hues.

Yellow is one of the first colors that Bandhani comes in and then, by dyeing and re-dyeing the fabric, other colors like red, ochre, maroon, tangerine, turquoise blue, deep green, and indigo blue are formed. However, nowadays, other colors are also being made in Bandhani like purple, black, pink, beige, and mustard yellow.

Types of Bandhani

Now, there are about three different kinds of Bandhani out there. You can get them in sarees, dresses, turbans and other forms. The types of Bandhani are—

#1 Jhankaar Bandhani:

With extreme vibrancy and colorfulness, Jhankaar Bandhani has fine patterns on it. This Bandhani type doesn’t have white or light colored dots on it. For instance, a green Bandhani will have maroon or red dots on it.

#2 BorJaal Bandhani

Bandhej of this type is used in weddings and other occasions and it has a jal work all over it which is extremely intricate. The Marwari communities tend to wear this type of Bandhani a lot. The striking and intricate interplay of patterns, colors, and dots create an amazing design usually and they are a hit amongst people. These designs can be made on georgette fabrics, too.

#3 Color Discharge Bandhani

Usually, Bandhani is designs of light colors on top of dark ones. However, in this type of Bandhani, there usually are a darker color dots and designs on top of lighter colors. For example, in this case, you will be seeing a dark red dots pattern on a lemon yellow base.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know so much about Bandhani and also about the process of washing it, are you excited to make your very first Bandhani saree purchase? If yes, do let us know!