Fashion Designing is full of different kinds of subjects that deal with garment construction, block prints, design elements, color theory and more. There is so much to learn and explore in the field of design. During recent times we have seen many fashion enthusiasts and fashion designers taking a step towards sustainable and local fashion. That is a very good initiative towards encouraging our local brands, artisans, workmanship and promoting our traditional art forms. Fashion design includes types of printing and dyeing as a part of the program. That is a great way to learn about all the different types of techniques involved.
Block Printing Tips for Beginners
- Natural woven fabrics are the best for block printing. While looking for fabrics choose cotton, linen and hemp. Silk is also a pretty good fabric for block printing. Avoid wool as they are too fuzzy to block print on.
- Sketch out your motif before you give them for carving or carve them yourself on wood. Make sure the design elements are clear and not too delicate to get a clear print on the fabric. Keep the design clear and simple.
- Prepare your fabric for block printing. Wash it before you give it for printing, to remove starch if any. Iron your fabric if it’s linen, to avoid wrinkles while block printing. Attend to raw edges to prevent your fabric from fraying.
What is Block Printing?
Block printing is the means of transferring a print with a wooden block carving onto a fabric. The block printing technique has been used for ages in parts of Asia, with its origin being in China. Design motifs are carved onto a wooden block, it’s then dipped in dye and printed on a taut fabric mostly cotton or cotton linen.
We are going to be looking at some types of block prints that have found their way back into the fashion industry. Block prints are trending everywhere. You can find jackets, blouses, sarees, skirts, ethnic wear and what not! And we love them don’t we? They are unique, subtle and have a bohemian vibe going on about them. There are many fashion designer brands that have a collection solely made with block printed fabrics. There are many varieties of block prints based on the kind of motifs, fabrics used for making them. Let’s look at those!
Kalamkari is a type of block printing that originated in Andhra Pradesh. ‘kalam’ means pen, meaning the printed designs seem as though they have been drawn by hand. Kalamkari is done over different phases based on the colours that are used. The detailed designs are hand painting with a thin bamboo brush. The designs and motifs are inspired from Ramayana and Mahabharata. They depict stories from these epics. Fashion design courses will introduce you to all different kinds of printing.
Ajrakh block printing has geometric motifs and patterns which are printed on fabrics in different colours. ‘Ajrakh’ means blue in Persian, so the base colour used is usually blue and indigo which will make the designs stand out! There are many different steps involved in this type of block printing, as many colours are used on these designs. Ajrakh(1) block printing originated way back during the Indus valley civilization. These prints are vibrant and are closely printed, which give them a lot of character.
Bagh style of block printing is from Madhya Pradesh mainly in the village of Bagh. These are usually made in black and red colours set on a white background. The dyes are natural ones that are extracted from alum and rusted iron for the respective colours. The motifs in Bagh block printing are mainly minimal flowers which are moderately sized. You can also find floral pattern motifs in Bagh block printing. There are many fashion designers who are working exclusively with bagh block printing techniques to create beautiful garments ranging from sarees to all kinds of ethnic wear.
Dabu is a resistant kind of hand block printing that hails from Rajasthan. Initially Dabu printing originated in China and later migrated to Rajasthan in India. It became very prominent in Rajasthan and has gained a lot of popularity in all over India ever since. There are several steps involved in this hand block printing making it extensive. The patterns are lighter and are usually printed on darker coloured backgrounds to give maximum contrast. Dabu block printing involves mud resist technique where mud is used as the resist medium. It is in many ways similar to batik printing. The clay (mud) is applied in places where you don’t want the dye to reach, thus giving out beautiful patterns and designs.
Bagru block printing is one more kind of hand block printing that is very famous in Rajasthan. This kind of printing is done using natural colours and has very elaborate motifs with a lot of detailing. Bagru block printing is all about the richness and luxury that shows in the designs. The motifs are printed on light coloured backgrounds, especially the detailed ones. Then the printing is followed out in two techniques: direct and resist printing. Bagru style of block printing is being encouraged by many fashion designers to preserve its importance in the future.
These are some really interesting block printing techniques that are making their way back into fashion designer’s hearts. You can learn all about these techniques by enrolling with a fashion designing course. Hamstech offers some of the best fashion designing course options in the industry.