Elongate the shelf life of hand-crafted ensembles: Tips and tricks

Handcrafted Indian ensembles are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of India. From the intricately embroidered sarees to the heavily embellished lehengas , each outfit is a work of art that reflects the country's diverse cultural and artistic traditions.

The legacy of handcrafted Indian ensembles can be traced back to ancient times when weaving, embroidery, and printing techniques were first developed. These techniques were passed down through generations, and over time, different regions in India developed their own unique styles and designs.

One of the most well-known styles of handcrafted Indian ensembles is the saree. This six-yard-long garment is traditionally made of silk or cotton and is draped in various styles depending on the region. The saree is often adorned with intricate embroidery or embellishments, and each region has its own unique style and technique.


Handloom Yellow Moonga Silk Saree With Hand Embroidered Border


Onion Pink Handloom Crepe Saree With Kashmiri Tilla Embroidery


Brick Red Handloom Organza Saree with Closed Neck Brocade Blouse

Another popular handcrafted Indian ensemble is the salwar kameez, which consists of a long tunic paired with loose-fitting pants. The salwar kameez is often made of lightweight fabrics like cotton or silk and is adorned with intricate embroidery or embellishments.


Offwhite Chanderi Silk Hand Embroidered Sharara Set With Dupatta


Dark Grey Hand Embroidered Velvet Kurta With Velvet Farshi And Organza Dupatta


Olive Green Hand Embroidered Velvet Kurta With Velvet Salwar And Peach Organza Dupatta

The lehenga choli is another popular handcrafted Indian ensemble. This outfit consists of a long skirt paired with a short blouse and a dupatta or scarf. The lehenga choli is often heavily embellished with intricate embroidery, beads, and sequins, making it a popular choice for weddings and other festive occasions.


Handloom Lime Green Kadhwa Silk Banarasi Lehenga


Handloom Powder Blue Pure Katan Silk Banarasi Lehenga with Meenakari

However, these outfits are also highly susceptible to wear and tear, and their shelf life can be significantly reduced if not taken care of properly. In this article, we will discuss some tips and tricks to elongate the shelf life of your handcrafted Indian outfits.

  1. Proper Storage: Proper storage is crucial to elongating the shelf life of your handcrafted Indian outfits. Always store your outfits in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, as sunlight can cause discolouration and fading. It is also essential to store your outfits in a well-ventilated area to prevent moisture from accumulating, which can lead to the growth of mould and mildew.
  2. Use Hangers: Always use padded hangers to hang your handcrafted Indian outfits. Padded hangers prevent the garment from getting creased and misshapen. It is also important to avoid hanging heavy outfits like sarees or lehengas for long periods as the weight of the garment can cause stretching and damage.
  3. Fold Properly: If you have limited storage space or do not wish to hang your outfits, fold them properly. Always fold your outfits along the seams and avoid creasing the embroidery or embellishments. Use acid-free tissue paper between the folds to prevent the transfer of colour and to protect the fabric from moisture.
  4. Dry Clean Only: Handcrafted Indian outfits are often made with delicate fabrics, intricate embroidery, and embellishments, which require special care. Always follow the care instructions on the label and have your outfits dry-cleaned by a professional dry cleaner. Avoid washing the outfits at home as the delicate fabrics and embellishments can be easily damaged.
  5. Store Separately: Always store your handcrafted Indian outfits separately from other clothes to prevent the transfer of colour or damage. It is also essential to avoid storing your outfits in plastic bags or covers as plastic can trap moisture and cause damage.
  6. Use Naphthalene Balls: Naphthalene balls are a great way to keep moths and insects away from your handcrafted Indian outfits. Place a few naphthalene balls in the storage area to keep the pests at bay. However, make sure to keep the balls away from direct contact with the garments, as they can cause staining.
  7. Air Out Your Outfits: It is important to air out your handcrafted Indian outfits from time to time. Take the outfits out of storage and hang them in a well-ventilated area to allow the fabric to breathe and prevent the accumulation of moisture. This will also help remove any musty or stale smells.
  8. Handle With Care: Handcrafted Indian outfits are delicate and require special care when handling. Always handle the outfits gently and avoid pulling or tugging at the embroidery or embellishments. It is also important to avoid wearing sharp jewellery or accessories that can snag or tear the fabric.
  9. Avoid Direct Heat: Direct heat can cause significant damage to handcrafted Indian outfits. Avoid ironing the outfits at high temperatures or exposing them to direct heat sources like heaters or radiators. Always use a low-heat setting and place a cloth over the outfit before ironing to prevent direct contact with the iron.
  10. Inspect Regularly: Regular inspection of your handcrafted Indian outfits can help you identify any potential damage or issues before they become significant. Check for any loose threads, missing buttons, or areas of wear and tear. It is important to address these issues immediately to prevent further damage.

The popularity of handcrafted Indian ensembles has also led to the revival of dying art forms. Many artisans who were once struggling to make a living from their craft are now seeing a renewed interest in their work, leading to a resurgence in traditional techniques and designs.

However, the legacy of handcrafted Indian ensembles is not without its challenges. With the rise of fast fashion and mass-produced clothing, many artisans are struggling to compete in the market. The high cost of materials and labour, coupled with the time-consuming nature of the craft, often means that handcrafted Indian ensembles are out of reach for many consumers. Furthermore, the lack of proper recognition and support for artisans means that many traditional techniques and designs are at risk of dying out. It is essential that steps are taken to support and promote the craft, such as through government initiatives, educational programs, and marketing campaigns.

Handcrafted Indian outfits are a reflection of the rich cultural heritage of India. These outfits are made with intricate embroidery, exquisite designs, and delicate fabrics, which make them highly valuable and cherished.

Handcrafted Indian ensembles are not only popular within India but have also gained global recognition. The intricate embroidery, exquisite designs, and use of rich fabrics have made these ensembles highly sought after in the international fashion market. In recent years, there has been a growing demand for sustainable and ethically made fashion, and handcrafted Indian ensembles are a perfect fit for this trend. These ensembles are often made by skilled artisans who have been practicing their craft for generations, and the use of traditional techniques ensures that each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind.

Author - Aditi Bapna