Fibres like silk or cotton, or a hybrid of the two defines Gadwal sarees the best. Gadwal Sarees were woven in the interlocked-weft technique known as "Kupadam". Hence Gadwal’s local name is ‘Kupadam Saree’. The entire saree is made of cotton while its zari borders are designed in silk, which gives the saree a new name, called the Sico sarees.
Origin of Gadwal Saree
In the 1930s due to the commercialization of Gadwal sarees wherein the spinning looms came into existence to help the weavers. Gadwal sarees were hand woven varieties of saree, which were the main source of livelihood for the weavers of Andhra Pradesh.
In the beginning, when the weavers began weaving this ancient craft. The designs and colours were adapted from the temples and nature. The earlier Gadwal sarees were only available in earth colours with rich designs. Gradually as the time passed and commercialization of sarees came into existence, brighter and better colours were made available.
Features of Gadwal Saree
The salient feature of Gadwal sarees is that its body constitutes of fine cotton and the borders and the pallu or the tail-edge of the saree is made of pure silk. The best part of a Gadwal saree is that it can be folded to match the size of a match box without ruining any part of the saree.
Making of Gadwal Saree
Gadwal is known for its wide range of designs and borders. The fabric of the silk borders is composed of Tussar silk or Mulberry silk. The cotton-body these days have resplendent shades, embellished often with silk checks. This fabulous mix of silk and cotton makes for the recent trend of Sico sarees, 50 percent cotton and 50 percent silk. Gadwals woven from pure silk is there, but not as popular as the "Sico". The silk used for the making of Gadwal sarees, is Bengaluru, while the real Zari, gold and silver thread which are interleaved into the base-material to give an ornate look, is brought from Surat.
Designs of Gadwal Saree
Gadwal Saree is a mixture of cotton and silk, where the entire drape is completely cotton-weaved and while, the borders are of silk. The golden zari work along the lengths of the borders giving it an exquisite touch. The brocaded designs woven into the Gadwal sarees represent south Indian cultural patterns. The motifs of Murugan, i.e., peacock and the Rudraksha rule as the favourite pattern in Gadwal Sarees. Often the cotton body was woven in small checks with a rich silk and gold border and pallu.
Gadwal Handloom Centre
Gadwal Handloom Centre established in 1946 by founder Late Ratan Babu Rao was mainly responsible for the widespread knowledge and detail regarding the Gadwal saree.