When it comes to buying ethnic clothes there are a wealth of patterns and techniques which produce really amazing designs and prints that transform simple styles into colourful unique clothes.

This article talks about some of the block printing techniques that are used to produce the designs and also describes where the designs come from.

Many of the prints that you see in stores today originate from the Jaipur region of India. This is traditionally a region where textiles have been the main form of work for the people for hundreds of years. Only now is this changing as companies outsource their industries to India and textiles have to start to take a back seat in the rapid growth of the country.

There is however some companied who carry on the traditional ways of textile printing using techniques that have been used for hundreds of years. In this article we will discuss several of the textile techniques that are used in this area to produce the wonderful original dresses, skirts and jackets that you see in high street stores.

Block printing has been a traditional way of adorning textiles for hundreds and hundreds of years. The basic idea for this technique is that a block is produced out of wood to a traditional pattern. This is then dipped in an ink and used to print a pattern all over a piece of fabric. The thing that makes this technique unique is that depending on the amount of ink on the block the pattern will not be completely uniform ensuring that every garment made from the piece of fabric will be completely individual in its pattern.

One of the age old traditional block prints is called Sanganer. This print features a common repetition of a flowering shrub called a Buta. The cloth was traditionally used for the turban, shoulder cloth and kerchief. Another traditional print is produced in a village called Bagru which is a large village west of Jaipur. The cloths produced here have previously predominantly been produced for the local community but as demand in the west has increased for hand printed cloth their designs have been exported all over the world. The prints are traditionally printed in a combination of red, black and indigo with highlights in green and yellow. The villagers in Bagru also carry on the traditional prints of Jaipur- this is because the city has expanded so quickly that the textile industry in the area is no longer. Quite often block printing also involves some resist dyeing to accentuate the design and add additional shades to the design. Mud is often used as a resist. This too is carried out in Bagru to great effect.

About the Author:

Fiona Muller is a trained textile designer and has written a textile thesaurus. She is interested in fashion and how it can work for anyone regardless of age, size or race. For a range of garments that use traditional hand block printing techniques go to -&sec=article&uinfo=<%=server.URLEncode(1780)%>">&sec=article&uinfo=<%=server.URLEncode(1780)%>" target="_blank">www.east.co.uk