Rebecca, Gaby and I recently took a trip out to visit our fabric screen printers. We want to show you behind the scenes because who doesn’t love to see how it’s made! Read more about screen printing in our Art of Making post here.
Rebecca started her line with fabrics she hand painted and screen printed in her apartment. While our production volume has outgrown her apartment, our screen-printed fabrics are still screened by hand. We now work with a printing mill in Rhode Island who prints all of our screen-printed fabrics.
This mill does everything except the spinning and weaving in house. The linen is imported from Belgium in huge lots. The mill puts the yardage through several processes to prepare it for printing. It’s scoured, bleached, and sized so that it is ready to hold the dyes.
When a new design is in the development stage, we send them briefs with color chips. They use these to mix new colors and then print a sample for us to review. Once a color is approved, they keep color standards on file for all the colors we use so they can always match. Because it's a hand done process, there is variation each time it's printed, but we work hard to keep this as consistent as possible.
They mix vats of dye for each order. I love these rows and rows of buckets full of color!
Each color of a design is printed with a single screen. They will print the full length of fabric with one color, skipping one space in between, before going back and filling in those holes. Once that's dry, they print the next color the same way. This goes until the print is completed. Because it is done by hand it will be slightly different and unique each time, which we love!