Lotus silk is one of the world’s most exquisite and rare fabrics, made exclusively in Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and parts of Manipur. Lotus silk can ultimately cost ten times as much as regular silk.       

LOTUS SILK possesses incredible features such as lightweight, soft-touch, breathability, Crease-resistant, pilling resistance, tear-resistant, Cellulosic fibre, stiffness, neatness, moisture absorption, Antibacterial, Self-cleaning and tensile strength. The stems of lotus flowers are used to produce this silk thread. As a result, this fibre is free of animal cruelty.

Vietnamese weaver, Phan Thi Thuan checking the quality of natural raw material from a lotus stem to be processed into silk, at a pond in Hanoi.

Lotus stems first cut in small portions. A single lotus stem contains a tiny quantity of fine, sticky fibre which is twirled and pulled to reveal a web of thin filaments. The filament is placed on a wooden surface and kept damp by intermittent water splashes. The artisan rolls the wet fibre together to create a denser and stronger thread as the practice occurs with new stems. A new length is welded on to the last to form a continuous thread. dried off together.

To preclude fibre degradation the lotus fabric must be woven in 24 hours. These parched yarns would then be weighed carefully, skillfully hand-crafted, and put into the loom at last. The natural fibre is delicate at this stage but, it can be just as workable as traditional silk once woven.

Lotus fibre is manufactured entirely by hand and is only obtained by a few skilled craftsmen worldwide.  It also takes a lot of time. To extract one kilogram of fibre, it can take up to two months. In addition, only a minuscule amount of fabric can be produced.

STEP 1- Gathering

Lotus plant stems for the production of fibre are collected from the lake. The lotus flower is ideally expected to flower in full when the stem is collected. the deep pink flowers make the best lotus fibres.

Step 2- Extraction of lotus fibre

5-6 Lotus plant stems are gleaned with a shallow knife, sliced, tore and contorted to reveal 20-30 fine white filaments of fibre. These stalks are cut with a low cube and the 5-6 stalks are simultaneously snapped, revealing 20-30 fine white fibre filaments.

Step 3- Yarn production process

Prepared skeins are placed on the bamboo spinning frame and then relocated to winders for the warping phase. Yarn is coiled in plastic bags to mitigate tangling. The weft yarn is wound on bamboo bobbins. Crude lotus threads are a creamy colour, and coloration is usually done with natural dyes.

Step 4 – weaving

To weave the material in an outfit, strands of 120,000 lotus stalks are required. In a single day, a spinner can produce a thread of up to 250 metres. Around 30 kg of stems is required to produce 250 metres of thread. A skilled weaver could weave one metres of lotus fabric daily.

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