Mashru Fabric is currently one of the most renowned and popularly used fabrics in the country. In Arabic, the word Mashru means ‘permitted’ while the Sanskrit version of the word means ‘mix’. The fabric is a satin-finish blend of cotton and silk and the prime centers of production are set up in Patan and Mandavi in Gujarat. Mashru fabric is characterized by a striped Ikat weave combined with strips of fabric in vibrant, contrasting hues. Sarees and lehengas in Mashru are currently, an integral part of the bridal trousseau in India.
The fabric itself is said to have originated around the 19th century, somewhere in West Asia. From there, the textile found its way into the Hindu communities of Kutch Nomads in India.
The making of Mashru fabric is a scientific process. Where the silk forms the warp threads, cotton forms the weft. The silk goes under the cotton thread once and over it about six to eight times. It undergoes a lot of natural processes in order to make it shinier and more malleable. Originally, natural vegetable dyes were used to color the fabric whereas now many synthetic colors are also used. Even the silk thread, is now being replaced with colored rayon fiber so as to make the production process cheaper.
The take on Mashru fabric has changed over the years with Ikat designs being either replaced or combined with other detailed patterns. Bandhani style patterns have also been introduced within this fabric. Maintaining the fabric is a lot easier than maintaining pure silk. However, it should be washed in cold water in a cold cycle, and dried in a cool, shaded area.
The lusciousness of the fabric has made it suitable for use in party wear as well as designer wear clothing.