Block to Top

Like many others, I suddenly found that I had all this extra time to do those things I'd always intended to do, but never seemed to get around to. Now there was no excuse!

Having ordered some gorgeous nubby noil silk, natural printing dye from Madder Cutch & Co and decided to use a pretty little block we bought in Sanganer, Jaipur, I was ready to block print the silk and make a simple sleeveless top for Summer.

Firstly I needed to make sure the silk was washed thoroughly to remove any treatments or dressings used during manufacture. It was washed twice on a gentle cycle, with a good scoop of sodium bicarbonate. It was then dried and ironed.

The large table in the conservatory made an ideal airy space for printing and after covering it a thick heat resistant table protector, which makes a perfect soft surface for printing, I was ready to go!

Most of my printing has been done during my trips to India, amongst the highly skilled printers therefore I needed to ensure I had prepared everything before making a start!
Having experimented with various ways to load the block with ink, I have found the best results come from using a simple baking tray lined with a piece of boiled wool or felt. Using a paint brush the wool is coated with plenty of ink, but not completely flooded. The fabric was then carefully positioned and pinned down to make sure it didn't move whilst printing.

It didn't take long to print just under 2m of fabric and I was extremely pleased with the results.


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It was a beautifully hot day, so the silk was left to dry in the sunshine and it was ironed the next day on a warm setting to 'fix' the colour.

Using a very simple pattern, I was ready to arrange and cut the pieces, ensuring that where possible the pattern aligned along the side and central back seam.

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