vixen blockprint tablecloths

July 7, 2014

The age-old process that brings these beautiful linens to life

The year was 2008, and our buyers were traveling to Jaipur, India—an area famous for block printing. One day they passed a small group of workers carving very traditional patterns out of the blocks, and the buyers were amazed at the artisans’ beautifully detailed work.

Today, our vixen blockprint tablecloths are still made by artisans in Jaipur by an ancient process of transferring a pattern onto wood blocks using paper and charcoal, then hand-carving the pattern.

To create a single tablecloth, the printer prepares the fabric by measuring the length to be folded for the hem so that the stripes start from the corners. Points are then marked on all four corners using a tailor’s awl.

The cloth piece is then laid out diagonally across the printing table so that the awl points are aligned. A strong line of twine is stretched across the cloth, connecting the corner points and creating a full-length guide for the printer.

Printing begins with the darker color as the background. The fabric is repositioned and pinned for the second color to be added, creating diagonal stripes that cross each other and create the overall pattern. The printers must precisely align each press of the block in order to keep the very long lines as straight as possible.

Once the cloth is completely printed, it’s hung to dry then washed to process and set the colors. Lastly, the hem is sewn and the finished tablecloth pressed for packaging. If you look very closely at a finished tablecloth, subtle breaks or overprints in the line can be seen, which indicate each hand-pressed print of the block.