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4 Ways to identify handloom fabric from powerloom fabric

Jackie Pinto

A smart shopper can tell the difference between hand-woven and mill fabric. It’s not that difficult if you know what to look for.....

All the fabric at Vayati has been produced by a handloom. This is a loom which is manually operated by a skilled human, rather than a machine.

The result is fabric which is unique, finely detailed and the result of a proud, ancient craft. Unfortunately handloom is a dying art, rapidly being replaced by power-looms simply because fabric can be produced faster and cheaper.

We've listed ways you can tell the difference between hand and power-loom produced fabric.

Selvedge of handwoven fabric


A handloom, by its very nature of being handwoven, is bound to have a rugged uneven surface giving it an ethnic appeal. Knots, thread pulls, near the border are a commonality in handwoven fabric. Even if woven with the same yarns, a power-loom fabric will be even in texture and flawless, lacking the allure of handlooms.


Handloom fabric is often soft in texture and more resilient whereas power-loom fabric will be stiff and hard in feel due to compact weaving and even spreading of the weft which happens in a power loom. To test the softness & its malleability, one must drape the fabric and check its feel.

warp ends used for tassels


Handloom fabric often has extra threads left at the end of the yardage, which can be used for making tassels.

border patter front and back


The reverse side is a replica in a handloom whereas in a power-loom a lot of loose threads or floats will be hanging on the reverse side, as it’s not possible to weave them in without the help of a skilled weaver. So do turn over the fabric and check the reverse.

Now that you know how to identify handloom fabric, make sure you shop smart!

Buy handwoven organic cotton sarees and stoles from Vayati's Summertime collection.

1 comment

  • Sandhya Bhat


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