10 Types of Khadi Fabrics We Use

In 2014, when we decided to relocate from Chennai to start Cotton Rack, we decided to create our base in Delhi. The idea was to be back in a familiar territory with all connections required available to us easily but when we started working on financials, we realized, it was Jaipur and not Delhi which would make more sense for our brand. Hadn’t we all heard how Jaipur was a craft hub?

So with an idea to start a handcrafted brand, we found ourselves utterly at loss when we landed in Jaipur and realized that while Jaipur was all about handicrafts, it hardly had any handcrafted fabrics to offer. We started to travel around and found a few weaving clusters that were making homespun handwoven fabrics, but the quantity and quality were too small and poor even for small batch production. With 3 years of travelling around and meeting various artisans & weavers, we were finally able to curate our fabric palette.

Today, Cotton Rack uses as many as 10 different types of Khadi fabrics sourced from weavers in Jaipur, Bikaner, Maheshwar and Kanpur as well as creating fabrics with our weavers in West Bengal and Jammu & Kashmir.

 

Khaddar

Cross Dyed (Blue & White) Khaddar Khadi Cotton Fabric by Cotton Rack

    • Sourced from: Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh
    • Fabric Details: Khaddar uses 0’s-5’s count of yarn in warp and weft giving it a bulky appearance. The yarn is thick and loosely twisted (as it is made on Gandhi Charkha) making it a highly absorbent fabric. Dry & arid conditions of Rajasthan are ideal for weaving this kind of Khadi.
    • Hand-Feel: The fabric has a soft and uneven surface. Due to low twist, the fabric surface is usually covered with loose cotton fibers giving it a hairy appearance.
    • Ideal for: Outerwear & Home needs
    • Trivia: The word ‘khaddar’ comes from the word ‘khad’, a hindi/Punjabi word for pit (Khadda) loom. And ultimately the word Khaddar evolved to become ‘Khadi’.

 

Jharna or Upkar

Uneven Space Dyed Red-Orange Khadi fabric by Cotton Rack also known as Jharna or Upkar Shirting in India

    • Sourced from: Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh
    • Fabric Details: This type of Khadi uses 40’s count Khadi yarn in warp & 10’s-20’s count Khadi yarn in weft (sometimes we use 40’s count Khadi in both warp and weft) making it softer than ‘Khaddar’. While this fabric is not bulky, the use of finer yarn count in warp results in a tightly woven fabric. Dry & arid conditions of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are ideal for weaving this kind of Khadi.
    • Hand-Feel: Because the fabric is tightly woven, the fabric looks coarse but actually isn’t.
    • Ideal for: Outerwear & Home needs
    • Trivia: This fabric was originally called ‘Jharna’ due to ripple like texture created by space dyeing technique. However, in year 1967 actor Manoj Kumar wore this fabric in movie ‘Upkar’ making it an instant hit with the masses. Till date, this line of fabric is called ‘Upkar Shirting’ fabric.

Khes

    Aqua Blue Khes Khadi Cotton by Cotton Rack with pointed twill weave.

      • Sourced from: Rajasthan
      • Fabric Details: Woven in beautiful twills, pointed twills, herringbone & houndstooth weaves in 10’s-15’s count yarn, these fabrics have a beautiful drape & brilliant surface textures.
      • Hand-Feel: Slightly coarse for twill weaves & smooth for houndstooth weaves.
      • Ideal for: Outerwear

     

    Reza

    Thicker Reza Khadi Cotton by Cotton Rack

      • Sourced from: Rajasthan (Ajmer)
      • Fabric Details: This type of Khadi uses 40’s count Khadi yarn in warp & 10’s-20’s count Khadi yarn in weft making it softer than ‘Khaddar’. While this fabric is not bulky, the use of finer yarn count in warp results in a tightly woven fabric. Again, dry & arid conditions of Rajasthan are ideal for weaving this kind of Khadi. Usually both the warp & weft use high twist Khadi yarns (Note: a high twist Khadi yarn is equivalent to a regular twist mill-spun yarn).
      • Hand-Feel: Because the fabric is tightly woven, the fabric looks coarse but actually isn’t. Also, this fabric has a more knotty hand feel than ‘Jharna/Upkar’.
      • Ideal for: Outerwear & Home needs
      • Trivia: This beautiful fabric is unprocessed and woven with broken cotton seeds. It is the one of the most carbon neutral fabrics.

     

    Kora

      Griege Unprocessed Kora Khadi Cotton by Cotton Rack.

        • Sourced from: Rajasthan (Dausa & Bassi) & Maheshwar
        • Fabric Details: Woven in 40’s count yarn in warp & weft, this fabric is the most absorbent fabric after khaddar.
        • Hand-Feel: Grainy but soft. Extremely skin friendly.
        • Ideal for: Clothing, Apparel & Home needs
        • Trivia: This beautiful fabric is unprocessed and woven with broken cotton seeds. It too is almost carbon neutral just like Reza.

       

      Cashmere Cotton™ - Single Ply

        • Woven in: Jammu & Kashmir
        • Fabric Details: A 100 % cotton based Khadi fabric with aesthetics of Cashmere wool. The lighter fabric variety is woven with single ply in warp and single ply in weft
        • Hand-Feel: Soft like Cashmere wool
        • Ideal for: Top, Tunics, Scarves & Shawls
        • Trivia: This fabric is woven in our private cluster in Jammu & Kashmir. It was originally woven by only one weaver in the country but now the cluster has grown to 4 weavers, 2 spinners & 1 helper. This fabric has a beautiful drape & is again a carbon neutral fabric. Cotton rack owns trademark for this fabric

       

      Unprocessed Cashmere Cotton Khadi by Cotton Rack.

       

      Cashmere Cotton™ - Double Ply

        • Woven in: Jammu & Kashmir
        • Fabric Details: A 100 % cotton based fabric with aesthetics of Cashmere wool. The heavier fabric variety is woven with double ply in warp and single ply in weft
        • Hand-Feel: Soft like Cashmere wool
        • Ideal for: Dresses

       

      Regular Khadi

      Regular Space Dyed 60s Cotton Khadi by Cotton Rack in colors like Blue, Pink, Red, etc.

        • Woven in: West Bengal
        • Fabric Details: Woven in 60’s count Khadi yarn in both warp & weft, this is our perennial fabric which makes 60% of our total collection.
        • Hand-Feel: Soft, slightly grainy and extremely comfortable.
        • Ideal for: Clothing and Apparel
        • Trivia: Unlike some brands which claim to use Khadi but actually use Khadi in only warp or weft, we use Khadi yarn in both warp and weft making it 100% genuine Khadi fabric.

       

      Bengal Mull

      Fine Bengal mulmul Cotton Khadi by Cotton Rack.

        • Woven in: West Bengal
        • Fabric Details: Bengal Mull uses 100’s count Khadi yarn in weft while using 80’s or 100’s count Khadi yarn in warp. This fabric is the most delicate fabric woven by our weavers and can only be woven in humid geographical location like West Bengal.
        • Hand-Feel: Creamy and soft texture. When held against the light, one can see the unevenness of the yarn due to translucency of the fabric.
        • Ideal for: Outerwear & Sarees/scarves
        • Trivia: We stayed with our weavers for a month to work out on the fabric constructions & colours. While we got to roam around and soak in local culture, the best part of the stay was the wholesome Bengali meal that our weavers would share with us and feed our taste buds experience delicacies like ‘Macher Dim Bhaja’ ( Pakodas made from fish eggs).

       

      Bikaneri Wool

      Bikaneri Woollen Khadi by Cotton Rack.

        • Sourced from: Bikaner, Rajasthan
        • Fabric Details: Worsted wool shorn from local Sheep.
        • Hand-Feel: From prickly coarse to smooth and soft.
        • Ideal for: Outerwear
        • Trivia: 50% of the winter wear collection at Cotton Rack is made from natural woolen colours (off White, taupe, beige, brown & grey).

       

      When we started, we really wanted to just travel for a year and make a textile map of India. While we haven’t had a chance to do dedicated travel for making the map, but our work certainly provides enough travel and adventure which is spread out. And we hope that our products and varieties of Khadi we use takes you along on similar tour across Handmade India.


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