Jamdani weaving is done on pit looms. Jamdani sarees usually use cotton and sometimes silk yarn. In this technique, the patterning is done with thicker threads, on a light, transparent fabric. The designs are inlaid by hand, without any mechanical assistance. Usually the base of the saree is undyed cotton yarn with designs woven in a variety of dyed threads. The extra weft technique is used to give a special effect to the motifs. Traditional motifs of the Jamdani include- floral motifs, fruits and leaf motifs. These are accentuated by creepers and paisleys, spread over the width of the saree.
The Jangla technique is characterized by heavy and intricate weaving, with vegetation motifs. It is amongst the oldest techniques practiced in Varanasi. In this technique, threads are attached to the top of the loom, with their corresponding ends attached to the warp (bana). The body of the saree will typically have lots of creepers called ‘bel’, with flowers and birds, attached to them. It is representative of a wild jungle scene. A traditional, expensive jangla saree’s pattern is woven with pure gold and silver threads or ‘zari’. A slightly less expensive will have selected parts in pure gold and silver zari.
Known to have originated in China, Tanchoi is similar to brocade weaving. ‘Tan-chhai’, typically refers to a pattern which covers the field or the body. It is done by weaving a single or double warp and a variety of colors on the weft, on silk fabric. Its motifs involve flying birds, baskets containing flowers, peacocks, hunting scenes, parrots and a variety of flowers. Done is Gujarat, as well, Benarasi Tanchoi is particularly different because of its heavy use of zari (golden threads).
Tissue is the technique of making the entire cloth translucent and golden. This is done by laying silk and gold threads across the entire body, in both warp and weft. Gold or silken threads form the brocaded patterns laid over this base. This technique is most popularly used for weaving veils over wedding sarees.
Cutwork technique is locally called Feccua and is actually a simplified form of jamdani in which the pattern is not spread out but runs from edge to edge. Any part of the thread on the reverse side that does not form part of the intended pattern remains untidily attached to the main cloth, with the loose ends left floating till the piece is taken off the loom. Cutters then get to work elaborately and carefully cutting away the extra threads.