Sewing with Tibetan Tigers / Block Prints

Sewing with Tibetan Tigers / Block Prints

It is officially Spring and the block prints and Tibetan Tiger prints are flying off the shelf (and into my home stash! hehe). Let's talk about them. I get a lot of questions about the opacity, the weight, the width, washing instructions etc so we will dive into all of that here. 

Let's talk laundry first.

First of all, block prints might have a weird smell from the natural vegetable dyes they use - that's normal and it will dissipate with washing. You can speed up this process by washing it with a little vinegar. Block prints are also prone to fading in the wash slightly because they are made with natural dyes - again - this is normal and to be honest, I find this process *gorgeous* - I made lounge pants with the faded black block print and they became even more faded and lost their sharp contrast. They often get almost... a vintage look? You can also try to prevent fading by washing the first few washes on cold with a handful of table salt to "fix" the dyes, but like I said, I love the fade. 

The traditional block prints; before and after washing (see above). The Tibetan Tiger didn't fade much after washing.

Note on Quilted Block Prints:

Another note on laundry - some people have hot-washed the quilted block prints to get *extra crinkle* and that's totally fine - it will just shrink up even more so you might want to order an extra half yard or more to compensate. I pre-washed my quilted block print on cold to try to preserve the dye / color and only got minimal shrinkage but maybe a little less crinkle. 


A note from @theladywholunches / Jenna on her washing experience with quilted block prints (see above). 


Let's talk opacity - a hot question - yes all block prints are semi-opaque because they are printed on paper-thin fabric, a delicate plain weave cotton called a "batiste." My block prints are produced in Jaipur, India which has a rich history of printing textiles and is the heart of block printing. As you can imagine, a very thin fabric is ideal in that hot climate. Because my shop is in the PNW, I ordered the custom quilted block prints so we would have a Fall/Winter/Spring friendly version but I LOVE the regular block prints for breezy summer layers and the most incredibly comfortable loungewear and pajamas. I am a sweaty sleeper and I love wearing super thin cotton PJs so I have two pants made up already in our block prints and am IN LOVE - I can run out of the house for errands and can sleep/lounge in them. Win/win! 


So even though this fabric is very thin and "semi opaque" - can you see my undergarments? Probably not. I chose a pattern with some ease and am wearing undergarments that low contrast with my skin tone so not hot pink. The block prints with more dye tend to be more opaque which is why I stock the ones that have more dye/color. 

I made the Lane Pants by Syd Graham (my tried and true comfy pants pattern), without the cargo pockets, for a casual vibe. I wear them as pajamas and style them differently for a daytime look. 

I also made the Genra Shirt by Daughter Judy and intended this to be a matching set but I prefer them as separates. Again, can you see my undergarments? Probably not but if they were high contrast and the garment was very tight - maybe you would. 

Are the block prints / Tibetan Tigers in your spring / summer sewing queue?


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