Block printing is a method of textile design that uses a series of carved wood blocks to create beautiful, vibrant multi-coloured patterns. Traditional block printing relies on generations of expertise and knowledge in each step of the process, from designing the pattern and carving each block, to printing the fabric itself.
India, in particular, has an expansive history of traditional block printing techniques and world-renowned hand-blocked designs dating back hundreds of years. Our Block Printed Organic Cotton Batistes are produced in Sanganer, a town near Jaipur that is known for its distinctive Sanganeri block prints.
Starting at the designs themselves, these prints are often purchased from artists in Jaipur who showcase traditional motifs as well as custom designs.
Once a design is chosen, separate wood blocks are then carved by the block maker for each layer of the print. A five colour design, for example, requires five individual wood blocks to complete the print. Depending on the intricacy of the design, these blocks can take up to a week to carve by hand.
Once carved, the blocks are then soaked in mustard oil for at least three days so that they are soft and ready for the printing process.
While the blocks are being carved, azo-free soluble vat dyes are matched to the design and tested as dips. These dyes are produced in small quantities to match the amounts needed, preventing excess waste. Any waste water produced is channeled through a sewage system installed by the government that ensures this waste is treated properly and does not impact the surrounding communities. Once a sample has been printed and approved, the dyes are ready to go.
Once the blocks have been prepped, they are ready for printing. The blocks are dipped into the dyes and stamped by hand onto the fabric base. This process is repeated to build up layers of colour and create a beautiful block print design. As the blocks are lined up by sight, the prints that are produced are totally unique with varying overlaps between each layer that give them their signature look.
After printing, the fabric is then washed, steamed, and ready to sew!
Our Block Printed Organic Cotton Batistes are ultra-lightweight with a crisp, airy drape making them perfect for blouses, dresses, and robes!
Head to our product listings to find our pattern recommendations.
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