The Life of the Sari

It is 8 o’clock in the morning and the Selyn handloom workshops in the villages in and around Kurunegala are silent. After the mumbling of morning prayers, the crackling sounds of the looms fills the air and the weavers begin their art. Colorful handwoven fabrics galore but todays story is about the Sari, the traditional drape for most South Asian women. To tell you a bit about the Sari, we need to take you back to Indus Valley Civilization around 2800-1800 BC, where the word ‘sari’ is believed to be derived from the Sanskrit word ‘sati’, which means strip of cloth. The sari is the national costume for women in Sri Lanka and is draped in many styles, the Indian (Nivi) and the Kandyan (Osaria) styles being the most popular. Elegant and respectable, the sari is worn for various occasoins ranging from weddings and work to informal everyday wear.

The life of the sari first begins with the dyeing of 100% cotton yarn into vibrant colors only limited by your imagination. After a 36-hour process of boiling, coloring, washing and drying, the colored yarn is ready for the weaving process.

First, the yarn is thoroughly washed, boiled and rinsed and put into the dying machines…

..then, the color recipe is mixed. All dyes used are AZO free and certified as eco-friendly.

The yarn bundles are spun around in the dye bath in order to get an even coloring and…

…the dyed yarn is then spun in a centrifuge to get rid of moisture and hung in a heat room for approx. 24 hours for complete drying.

The finished yarn is ready to go!!

The journey of the sari takes us next to the handloom workshops where the dyed yarn is woven by our masters artisans into saris.

First the yarn is spun into bobbins…

…..that is then used to create the warp, which dictates the design of the sari.

This warp is transferred to the weaver who threads, looms and then weaves according to the design.

The finished product!

This entire process takes up to 48 hours depending on the design of the sari and on a human side it touches the lives of many. In this respect, The ‘Wear Sri Lankan’ campaign at Selyn is aimed at promoting the use of Sri Lankan handloom garments; especially saris. Through this campaign we hope to connect the artisan to the consumer and most importantly we wish to pay tribute to the hands behind the loom.