Textiles

Textile Spotlight: Velvet

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Ah velvet. That woven fabric easily recognizable by its short dense even pile that is so soft to the touch. Still chic after hundreds of years, the textile originated in the Far East in the 14th century and grew significantly in production by the 16th century in Italy.

Historically, velvet was created by skilled weavers with silk for nobility and for the church, its presence was a symbol of power and wealth. To make it, warps are drawn over rods to create loops then the rods are removed. The resulting loops are cut into a dense pile that is soft to the touch and changes in various light as it is draped or folded. Variations of the weave include crushed velvet, burnout, voided, embossed, and pile on pile, among others.

In modern times, velvet textiles are made from a variety of materials. Silk is shinier and softer but also the most expensive. Cotton and wool are used for more affordable versions and most inexpensive velvets are made from synthetics such as polyester. Velvet is one of those fabrics that begs to be touched and brings to mind a famous George Castanza quote, “I would drape myself in velvet if it were socially acceptable.”

Velvet makes its appearance this time of year because it’s so soft and warm against the skin although it’s a fabric desirable in interiors all year long. These twin gray sofas are perfection in a space decorated for the holidays featured in House & Home.

gray velvet sofas

    

A velvet headboard is one way to bring elegance to a bedroom, tufted or with nailhead trim, it’s a classic touch year round!

gray velvet headboard

song of style

blue tufted headboard

how to decorate

gray velvet headboard

victoria hagan

Velvet is always appropriate in the dining room where it adds a dose of formality and so comfortable it encourages family and guests to linger longer.

velvet dining chairs

 house & home

teal velvet dining chairs

landino photo 

  

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Inspired by Block Print

Monday, April 21st, 2014

I’ve been crushing on the look of block print textiles in the home for awhile, I love the repetition found in these global patterns, and as summertime approaches breezy colorful cotton fabrics are welcome! I tried my own block print inspired stamped tea towels two years ago and it continues to be one this blog’s most popular DIYs to date (I used large rubber stamps instead of blocks but the method was similar.)

Block printing dates back thousands of years to China, India, and Japan. Patterns can be simple or ornate, the technique involves the application of ink to paper or fabric via hand carved block print stamps made of wood, rubber, or linoleum. This article shares the detailed process of creating authentic block print fabric.

indian wood block prints

block printing process

india pied-a-terre / oh so beautiful paper

Browsing through catalogs, you’ll find several major brands that are offering their versions of the look too, from bedding to table linens. 

indigo block print viva terra

block print runner

blockprint tablecloth wisteria

viva terra indigo bedding / pottery barn runner / wisteria tablecloth

John Robshaw’s brand of textiles feature predominantly block printed fabrics inspired from his travels through India but these beautiful prints are sold at a higher price point.

john robshaw duvet

john robshaw bedding

 

Saffron Marigold offers authentic block print textiles that are beautiful and affordable.

saffron marigold block print

 

If you want to try your hand at DIY block printing, you can invest in a block print carving kit, or search around online for many of the premade block print stamps from Etsy vendors. Grab an inexpensive cotton window panel, some fabric medium, and craft paint to create a fabric version, or apply stamps with craft paint to cardstock for unique stationery.

indian block print stamps

 tree / circle medallion / branch / paisley / pie floral / flower

 

I’ve been so smitten with the repetition in these motifs I came up with a block print inspired pattern of my own for the summer collection, it will be available soon in my Spoonflower shop in the three softer colorways and the seven brighter versions below.

kate riley designs summer print

This print is really lovely as a tablecloth, napkins, or window treatment, I can’t wait to share the other patterns with you next month – I’m working hard to finish them all before May!  

Are you a fan of textiles with block print motifs?

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