Home PageAsiaCome Behind-the-Scenes: Naturally Dyeing and Printing Silk Fabric

Jul 30

Come Behind-the-Scenes: Naturally Dyeing and Printing Silk Fabric

How often does one get to travel to India and see the actual natural dye process and block printing of your own fabric? Follow along and you’ll get to see the video of the making of this mulberry silk, hand woven in a window-pane gauze, being created under the guidance of the Creative Bee husband-and-wife team of Bina and Kesa Rao of Hyderabad, India.

What I Love about this Silk Fabric
First of all, it’s hand woven. The mulberry silk gives it a bit of a slubby texture but the weight is fine enough that it isn’t stiff at all. It’s a simple, subtle weave created by a solid plaid with open-weave window-pane checks.

Second, it’s block-printed.  Two different blocks are used—one spiral and the other a scroll-like design. The printing is done using a discharge paste that removes areas of dye and reveals the natural-colored silk, producing an over-all pattern that floats across the woven grid.

Third, it’s naturally-dyed (this usually ranks at the top of my list but I’m a weaver first.) The brownish-colored silk cloth is first dyed black with iron buff, a dye produced by fermenting iron scrap with sugar. Of course, the blue above is indigo. 

To purchase this silk fabric visit the ClothRoads by the Yard store.

Fourth, it’s washable by hand or machine. I washed it in a mild detergent, cold wash and rinse and tossed it in the dryer on gentle. The cloth was soft before washing but softened even more, adding more drape. Our friend Mona sewed a long vest using two yards—most elegant.

And lastly, I get to share the cloth-making process with you in this short video by David McLanahan (click this link).

To purchase this silk fabric visit the ClothRoads by the Yard store.



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