Printed fabric invented: The first technique of printing on fabric was block printing. It is believed that it was mostly originated in China and then well accepted throughout Asia, India, and Europe. In block printing, patterns are carved on wood or cooper blocks, these blocks then are dipped into dye and then pressed hard against the cloth. The impression comes on the cloth and the printed fabric gets ready. Indeed, it is a very time-consuming process because unlike machines, every single print impressed by hands.
In the early 17th century, EastIndia Company started shipping printed cotton to England. They even commissioned simpler patterns than the traditional Indian styles and got them printed to be sent back to Britain. By the 18th century when the industrial revolution starts setting in, the process of printing became mechanized. Now, there were cylinder or roller printings were taking place. In this process, the fabric is carried along arotating central cylinder and pressed by a series of other rollers that areengraved with designs. Each roller was filled with different color and that’ show the printing process got much faster and easier.
By the early 20th century, the modern screen-printing method had arrived. It is said that the technique was prevailing at the time of block printing also and both these techniques have had almost the same journey. This technique involves the use of a stencil of an image on a screen of porous mesh (traditionally made of silk), a roller is used to press ink over the stencil, which in turn gets forced through the mess and comes onto the fabric. There are separate stencils for different colors. The rotary multi-colored screen printing which is prevalent in contemporary times helps printing fabrics at a better, faster and economical rate.
The one which is the latest and trendingnow days is digital printing. The computer-controlled lasers and high-pressurejets are there to inject ink directly onto the fabric. This allows for verydetailed patterns and beautiful ones. Also, the process is very expensive butdam faster.
The printing techniques on fabric have indeed evolved over time but the old ones haven't lost their relevance or charm.