How many times have you got your heartbroken because the saree that you were yearning to wear for a special occasion has lost its glow and now looks dull? Or the lehenga that is so dear to you has got a stubborn stain and now it won’t come off.
As much as we hate these mishaps, there is no use denying that it happens to most of us. However, preventing these may not be such a herculean task as it may seem. Some basic knowledge about fabric care can go a long way in preserving those pieces of clothing which are so dear to us.
For example, Khari, Gold Block and Foil prints have a limited shelf life and they usually fade away in 5-8 washes. Taking care of expensive fabrics also require a little investment. At Fabriclore, we advise to dry clean all fabrics ranging above INR 399/mtr.
Now that we have convinced you that your ethnic clothing and fabric will be your best friend if you take care of them, let us tell you how you do it fabric by fabric.
All Hand block Fabrics
It is always a good idea to first soak your handcrafted fabric in water for sometime before stitching it. Later just give them a gentle hand wash in cold water separately as Hand Block tends to bleed a little in first & second wash. But bear in mind for lavish fabrics like Chanderi, Silk, Organza, etc. it is always better to get them dry cleaned.
Cotton is like that best friend who goes grocery shopping with you and lends you a shoulder should you need one to cry on. Cotton is light, breathable and has a long shelf life. However, they too need to be taken care of if you want to count on them.
- Cotton tags along with a tendency to bleed and it accentuate when washed in warm water, hence it is advisable to hand wash cotton clothes in cold water
- Dipping Cotton in saltwater before stitching will be a good idea as it helps to keep the color of your fabric bright
- Since cotton tends to shrink, one shouldn’t dry it in direct sunlight
Like its name, the fabric is also a bit fancy. It is lightweight and has a sheer & shimmery effect. At Fabriclore all crafts like Hand Blocks, Kalamkari, Indigo are achieved on a Pure Chanderi base. So, a fabric fancy like this will require some effort in its maintenance.
- Pure Chanderi fabrics can be expensive and only dry cleaning is recommended for them
- Poly Chanderi can be machine washed
- Foil print Chanderi are durable and tough however, while washing brush shouldn’t be applied on the foil motifs as there can be a possibility of the motifs coming off.
Chiffon is a very light, sheer and comparatively delicate fabric. It tends to bleed and fray and hence a lot of care is needed to preserve it.
- Since Chiffon tends to bleed, it should be washed in cold water
- For Viscose Chiffon basic home wash is enough however, it is essential not to squeeze or twist or turn them as the yarns of the fabric are very delicate and can break easily
- For poly Chiffon, machine wash is recommended
Georgette is Chiffon’ s twin sister. Like Chiffon, georgette is also lightweight and sheer, however, slightly thicker. The similar characteristics of the fabrics mean their care guide would also be similar
- Georgette should be hand washed in cold water with a mild detergent
- Air-drying should be preferred to sun-drying
Crepe is a unique fabric; its wrinkly and grainy texture is what makes it so appealing. The fabric is lightweight and has a flowy feel to it.
- The high maintenance variant of this fabric, which is Silk Crepe requires a lot of care and should only be dry washed
- Polyester Crepe, on the other hand, is quite easy to take care of and machine or hand wash is all that it needs
6. Kota Doria
Kota Doria must be one of the most underrated fabrics which deserve a lot more attention mainly because it is perfect for India’s hot and humid summers. It is airy, lightweight and translucent.
- Poly Kota Doria do not need any high-end care, machine or hand wash is enough
- Foil Kota Doria, however, needs to be handled a little more delicately. Using the brush is not recommended as the motifs can come off easily.
Linen and Indian summers are a couple made in heaven. It is an ancient fabric which is super breathable, and it doesn’t cling to your skin. It is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics as well. However, it is no secret that Linen is a tad bit expensive and its care requires some investment.
- Linen should only be dry cleaned only, normal wash can damage the fabric
8. Modal Satin
Modal Satin is like your upscale South Delhi or South Bombay aunty. It is soft, flowy and highly lustrous. Now in order to maintain the beauty of the fabric, a certain level of attention is needed.
- For the expensive variant of Viscose Modal Satin, the dry wash is recommended. If the fabric is not very expensive i.e. less than INR 399, the basic home wash will suffice. However, squeezing or twisting or turning is not recommended as the yarns are very delicate and can break easily
- Poly Hand Block Satin should be separately washed in cold water
- This fabric shouldn’t be dried in direct sunlight
This fabric pride itself in being the first man-made fabric. It is quite a versatile fabric and can be shaped into a lot of garments. It is thin, breathable and flowy.
- Hand washing Rayon is any day preferable
- Squeezing, twisting and turning is discouraged as the fibers of the fabric might break
Nylon is your low maintenance pet which doesn’t need constant attention. It is durable, it dries easily, and it usually doesn’t shrink or change shape after washing. Sounds pretty good right? However, as low maintenance as they are, they do need a minimum level of care.
- Nylons have a very low resistance to sunlight and drying them in direct sunlight will make their color fade away in a jiffy
- Nylons aren’t very heat resistant either so they must be ironed at a low temperature
- And it is always advisable to wash them separately
The lustrous nature of Satin brings back a certain nostalgia of the childhood wherein we were so attracted to those shiny stationaries and toys. This soft and shiny fabric makes it perfect for a bridesmaid dress. However, its softness must not be taken as a sign of fragility as the fabric is quite durable and it is resistant to wrinkles as well.
Caring for the fabric is also not rocket science, it is quite easy to take care of Satin
- For Poly Satin machine wash is enough
- Hand wash is recommended for the rest of the variants
- However, squeezing, twisting and turning of the fabric is discouraged
Muslins are said to be one of the purest and softest fabrics out there, after all, there must be a reason why babies love it. It is a fine Cotton fabric although its thickness may vary.
- Basic hand wash is recommended although squeezing, twisting and turning is not recommended as the fabric is delicate and may break.
The good old sign of royalty, Silk has been around for centuries. Not to mention it has always maintained a prestigious status amongst the fabric cluster. Its graceful & lustrous nature is what makes it so attractive. A luxurious fabric like silk will also require some high-end care.
- Since it is an expensive fabric, it should always be dry cleaned
14. Lizzy Bizzy
Winning the contest for the most unique fabric name, Lizzy Bizzy is a soft, flowy & daily wear fabric woven with Cotton and Poly yarns.
- The fabric forms a great base for Hand Block printing hence in order to preserve those motifs, a dry wash is recommended.
Let us debunk the myth of how it is always the expensive fabrics that will retain their essence and beauty while the less expensive ones will soon lose their charm. Maintaining the beauty of the fabric has a lot to do with the way they are handled- each wash, each ironing session matters.
Like every other thing in the world, the more you care for your fabrics, the more beautiful your outfit will look. Follow these tips and watch your precious fabrics retain their original glow and charm for a long period of time.
Ready to give a different fabric a try? Then take o look at our exquisite range of artisanal and designer fabrics, sarees, dupattas, unstitched suits and stoles and craft your own successful design stories.
Authored by: Sreetama Chakraborty