Printing is the process of applying coloured designs and patterns to a woven textile. One or more colours are applied to the fabric in specific parts only, using thickened dyes to prevent the colour from spreading beyond the limits of the pattern or design. In quality printed fabrics, the colour is bonded with the fibre so as to resist loss of dye from washing and friction (crocking). Printing is an ancient textile manufacturing technique of which there are five print production methods you can use:
Burn Out Printing:
A process which uses chemicals, rather than colour, to burn out or dissolve away one fibre in a fabric. The purpose is to achieve a sheer design on a solid or opaque fabric. The chemicals used during production can make this fabric sensitive to ultraviolet degradation when hung in direct sunlight.
Rapidly becoming a popular and commercially viable printing method due to its flexibility, precision and consistency. With this new printing technique it is now possible to print any design, even with photographic detail, onto fabric. There are no restrictions in the amount of colour that can be used.
Engraved Roller Printing:
The printing method used for the majority of fabrics worldwide. The colours are printed directly onto the fabric. There must be one roller for each colour used in the print. The more colours used, the better the print definition and depth of colour. The number of colours used is printed on the left hand selvedge of a fabric along with the brand.
Hand Block Printing:
The oldest form of printing. Print designs are created by transferring dyestuffs onto fabric with the help of wooden, linoleum, or copper blocks. Artisans hand craft individual blocks to carry each different colour in a design and perfectly match block placement to create the all-over design.
Transfer Paper Printing:
Generally used to print onto polyester/cotton blend fabrics. The printing technique is transferring a printed design from paper to fabric via heat and pressure. Print definition is generally excellent.
Printed fabrics are widely available and allow you to create interesting design concepts when mixed together or paired with other styles of fabric.