The moment you think of Khadi, the image of Mahatma Gandhi spinning this fabric on his charkha pops-up in one’s mind. Khadi has long been associated with the freedom movement and the strong will of a nation to set itself free from the clutches of a century-long foreign rule.
While the usage of Khadi reduced post independence, this hand-woven fabric is now making a fashionable comeback.
To make Khadi, raw materials like cotton or silk are spun into threads on spinning wheels called charkhas. This spun yarn is then wound into reels and sent to weavers who in-turn weave this yarn into a fabric. The weaving of the yarn results in the creation of air pockets, which help one stay warm in winter and cool in summer.
On the whole, Khadi is a versatile and light fabric which makes it comfortable to wear and carry. It also lasts long and is used to make a large variety of items, one of which is obviously the saree. One important thing to note is that Khadi is generally woven using only cotton. But the demand for different varieties has resulted in the use of other materials like silk and wool. Nonetheless, any silk or wool Khadi clothing will have some percentage of cotton in it.
Khadi silk is 50% cotton and 50% silk. This fabric is characterised by its sheen and luxurious appearance. It is more expensive than cotton Khadi and must only be dry-cleaned as opposed to cotton Khadi that needs to be starched so that it maintains its firm and crisp texture. Usually, the Khadi silk fabric tends to shrink by 3% after the first wash.
Khadi sarees (cotton or silk) can be bought in various colours. Embroidery work, printed or hand-painted floral/animal motifs is done to decorate and add something extra to a simple Khadi saree.