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  match box sari

A new line of saris from Andhra Pradesh is gaining notice for its sheer weightlessness

Master-weavers from certain regions of what is today the State of Andhra Pradesh were once known for producing extremely light fabric varieties. Muslin, a fabric of plain weave made in a wide range of weights from delicate sheers, got its name from the port town Machlipatnam, earlier Masulipatnam. A lot of muslin was being exported to Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Weavers elsewhere in the region have started building on that expertise, for example in Prakasam district. Master-weavers have now come up with a handloom cotton sari weighing as little as 75 grams. Those who wear it testify to a lightness that helps them stay cool during this scorching summer.

Notably, elsewhere in Prakasam district they make saris of such fineness that they can be folded and kept, famously, in a match box.

A regulation cotton sari usually weighs something between 350 grams to 500 grams. The lightweight version that costs around Rs. 600 weighs but a fraction of this and has a yarn count of 100 to impart its fineness, explains master-weaver Srimannarayana of the Arumbaka Weavers’ Cooperative Production and Sale Society.

The yarn count indicates the number of threads per square inch in a fabric. The higher it is, the softer the fabric gets, adds the weaver, who has put some of his work on display at a handloom exhibition here. The event, where 24 handloom cooperative societies from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have displayed their products, will be on till April 7.

Some of the sari varieties from Venkatagiri and other places come with the Geographic Indication (GI) tag, an official of the State Handlooms and Textiles Department said.

Handlooms and Textiles Department Assistant Director M. Ramamurthy Naidu, highlighting his department's interventions, said 16 block-level clusters had been formed in the district. Each of them would get assistance to tune of Rs 1.35 crore to upgrade weavers’ skills and provide them computerised designs and marketing support. 
 
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