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The surface of a fabric provides enticing stimulus to an artist’s creative imagination. An infinity of surface patterns can be reproduced in many ways.
TRANSFER PRINTING is the process of applying the print to paper and then transferring it to the fabric by the use of heat and pressure. Fine sharp registry of the design can be achieved by this method as well as the ability to obtain multiple colors and tones. Transfer printing is less expensive than roller printing.
ROLLER PRINTING, or direct printing, is a simple procedure used to produce large quantities of a design that is engraved on a series of rollers, one for each color to be used. These print rollers are arranged around a large drum in exact positions, and color is applied to them. When the fabric feeds between the rollers and the drum, the areas of color coincide to form the complete design. Discharge printing uses a bleaching paste to bleach out the design on a solid color fabric. Resist printing uses a dye-resistant paste to print the design. The fabric is then dyed and the paste removed, leaving a lighter print. Burn-out printing uses chemicals to dissolve one of the fibers in the fabric, creating a raised motif on a sheer ground. Flocking adds textural interest by printing a design on the fabric with an adhesive and then applying short fibers to the surface. The fabric can also be completely flocked to give the appearance of a velvet or velour.
SCREEN PRINTING is a sophisticated version of the stencil process. The design is cut out of a thin sheet of film, which is then adhered to a frame covered with a fine, strong mesh fabric. The fabric to be printed is stretched out on a table, the screen laid on top, and the pigment or dye is forced through the screen in the areas where the non-porous film does not act as a barrier. Adapting photographic processes to cutting the film has allowed screen-printing to produce fine gradations of tone and delicate detail. Though it is slower than roller printing, it is often used to produce limited quantities of a print.
TIE DYEING is an ancient craft that produces interesting and varied textile designs. Puffs of fabric are wrapped in waxed thread or sewn and tightly gathered, then dipped in dye, creating intriguing sunburst effects as the dye penetrates the fabric unevenly. The blending of several colors and the combining of techniques contribute to the unique effect. A machine process has copied the technique effectively.
BATIK is a process that can be used to create striking and delicate designs. It is a method of resist dyeing in which wax is applied to the cloth in areas that are not to receive color. After dying, the wax is boiled off, and the process repeated for each color used. It has now been adapted to machine printing.
EMBROIDERY was originally a hand technique executed on a base fabric with thread, yarn or other materials and a needle. Now there are many types of machine embroidery using different threads, yarns and a variety of stitches.
The production of eyelet embroidery, mechanized with the invention of the Schiffli machine, involves poking holes into the fabric as the edges are finished by machine.Surface design on fabrics has evolved dramatically over the years. With the introduction of the computer and very sophisticated home sewing machines, the average seamstress can literally create her own embellished fabric before construction of a garment. Printing and dying processes are available to anyone who has a little imagination and time.
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This page was last modified on: Tuesday, 2007-09-11 2:48 PST