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Tie and dye is one of the most widely accepted and one of the very traditional methods of printing textiles in India. It is difficult to trace the origins of this craft to any particular area. According to some references it first developed in Jaipur in the form of leheriya.
The process of tie and dye starts with lightly outlining the area of fabric to be dyed in the color of choice. Next, a thin sheet of clear plastic is placed on top. This plastic has pin-sized holes over the indicated area, and the color and pattern desired is transferred onto the fabric.
The dyer then finds a spot with an imprint of the hole and pulls a small amount of fabric through, winding thread around the cloth and coming through the hole to form a small knot. After all knots are tied, the fabric is washed to remove the imprints left. After this, the cloth is dipped in a chemical called naphthol for five minutes, and then in a light color dye for another two minutes.
The fabric is rinsed, excess liquid squeezed out, and then it is dried, tied, and dipped again in a darker color. The cloth is left alone for three to four hours as the colors soak into the desired areas, allowing the fabric beneath the threaded knots to remain undyed.
Once completed, the fabric is washed and starched as required. Once dry, the makers pull apart the fabric in a very precise way to release the tied knots and reveal the unique pattern of blank dots beneath them.