Wednesday, July 4, 2012

In the store: Hand Printed Summer Sleepwear

clockwise from top left: turquoise square night shirt - $53 / organic cotton blue flower night shirt - $88 / neem pj set (pants not pictured) - $60 / organic cotton night shirt with collar detail - $88 / gray and burgundy block night shirt - $53 / organic cotton blue flower robe - $93

Summer is in full swing, and there's really nothing more we could ask for on warm nights than these hand block printed nighties and PJs. Sheer and cool, with the gorgeous detail of artisan printing. 

Various techniques are used in the hand block printing process. One method, shown below of our Blithe Neem pajamas, involves carving a teak block and printing repeatedly over cotton or silk fabric. Each color is meticulously printed in a multitude of steps - the result is an exquisite, detailed intricacy of pattern.

images of neem PJS being printed courtesy of Blithe © 2011

images of neem PJS being printed courtesy of Blithe © 2011

images of neem PJS being printed courtesy of Blithe ©2011

images of neem PJS being printed courtesy of Blithe © 2011

Textile designer John Robshaw says of another hand block printing process, "It's so simple and natural. You touch a woodblock to wet clay and then to the fabric. After the clay dries, you dip the cloth into the indigo vat and the clay stays on. One dip gives the fabric a sky-blue color, two dips and it deepens to cobalt, three dips and its a saturated midnight blue. Then the fabric is laid out to dry in the sun and later the clay is washed off. The dyer says the indigo vats are like a mistress because they need constant attention. I was completely fascinated by the dyeing and printing processes, as well as how the finished product is used. Textiles become intimate companions in daily life, whether as a pillow, bedcover or sarong." 

The result is a florid, human creation. As opposed to a mechanical mass printing, hand block printing requires artisans to have a deep knowledge and perfection of the craft. We love that this sleepwear supports artisans that have been printing textiles for generations.

For more information on supporting artisans around the world, check out Aid to Artisans


Shelley Lowther said...

I just got a new hand-printed nightgown from Blithe and I love it! The material just gets softer with each wash, and the nightgown retains it's beautiful pattern! I can't wait to order the pajamas! said...

I have Blithe pajamas and a nightgown. Not only are they incredibly soft, but they are truly pieces of art. Thank you for sharing the interesting hand block printing process.

Liz Moore said...

Thank you Wildflower Organics for including Blithe in your Hand Printed Summer Sleepwear Post. All of the pajamas and nightgowns look like excellent choices for steamy summer nights!