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Printed silk is a more contemporary form of stylizing silk and offers many benefits to the contemporary buyer in the form of cost-effectiveness and versatility. Printed silk sarees refers to a length of silk yarn or silk garments that have patterns and designs in the form of prints on them.
In India, it has picked up in popularity since around the 2010s. The prints and motifs used in such manner have seen a lot of influence from Bollywood, pop-culture, and modern art.
Traditional sarees experimentation with silk in terms of designing all trace back to tweaking the method of weaving the silk yarn. Silk is one in all the oldest fabrics in India. Its use in formal wear, office wear saree, royal garments, and opulent clothing is so great within the history of India.
In the last number of decades, printing on silk has become very popular and fashionable block printing. It is practically a tradition in India, practiced by many of the communities for a very long time industrially produced printed silk.
Sources of Inspiration
This was initially restricted to hand-printed items, the idea of machine printing silk gradually trickled down and is now huge in the market. First seen on the ramp, printed silk initially showcased a number of unusual motifs such as geometric prints, splashes of color, and more.
These patterns cannot be embroidered onto the garment and hand printing is only a viable option for customization. Besides the two motifs mentioned above, this technique has now been adapted to any and every type of print one can imagine, whether traditional or modern.
One of the many processes that were taken over by factory production was the embellishment of silk. Whether standalone styles or more affordable versions of the classics sarees or unique designer sarees using printed silk, the use of machinery is integral and now inseparable from the textile industry.
Hand printing on silk, also known as woodblock printing, involves carving a block of wood with the required design and manually decorating the fabric with it. While machine printing follows the same principles, the blocks are carved and then fitted into a slot in the printing machine and from thereon it is applied onto the desired parts of the saree.
Woodblock printing is another name given to this style of printing and is one of the most important cottage industries in the country. When done on silk, the textile becomes more expensive due to the man-hours spent on embellishing the fabric in just the right way. Hand printing as a cottage industry has emerged in a big way since there are certain communities in India, especially in Rajasthan that practice the art specifically. The most common motifs used on hand-printed silk textiles are intricate floral and paisley patterns and include blossoms and vines.
A block still has to be carved out with the intricate pattern that needs to be applied, the finish is a lot cleaner, the blocks last longer and the process is much faster. One of the reasons why machine-printed silk garments are so popular is because they use the most formal of all Indian textiles, i.e. silk, that is combined with rich prints that can even be in the color gold to give an impression of zari ka kaam in print. Machine printed silk sarees are easier on the pocket as producing them comparatively low cost.
Wearing the Attire
Printed silk is one of the most versatile fabrics that has come about in Indian fashion in recent times. It is best to accessorize it with chunky jewelry in silver, precious stones, or wood so as to give the whole ensemble. The whole appeal of printed silk is to appear chic and modern in traditional Indian attire.
Silk as a fabric in itself is best maintained when dry cleaned. However, if it is to be washed then it should be dried in a shaded area. The colors on printed silk items are cured at the time of purchase, which is why there is no need to worry about leeching.