We at Cravat Club are true believers in the sublime texture and the beautiful finish of silk. We produce two distinct types of cravats, ties and pocket squares; heavyweight woven silk, and lightweight printed silk. The textural difference between the two allows for a variety of uses, and each fabric lends itself to different patterns and designs. Every stage of production is carefully monitored as 'Great British Quality' is a key component to the Cravat Club brand. We’d like to take a dive into the silk printing process, to show you how a fine piece of silk gets to be one of our enticing designs.
There are two methods of silk printing that we employ for our designs - Digital Printing and Screen Printing.
Digital Silk Printing
Digital silk printing is perfect for intricate designs, where several colours are used and a high level of detail is required. We simply love colour and want to give our customers plenty of variety to choose from, and give you different ways to enhance your outfit. We pore over different designs and colourways, and constantly update our range according to our curiosity, knowing what this printing process is capable of.
Once the designs are finalised and colours are chosen, there are three stages to the process -
Silk is a very delicate medium, and needs to be prepared with a fabric finisher to accept the ink, or else the colour will not take and the effect will be ruined. Once this is done, the fabric is also spot tested, to ensure that the right pigments and weights are used - this is crucial to ensure that the finished product adheres to the design’s original intention. Once the printer is happy that the design looks correct and the fabric holds the pigment, printing can begin.
Once everything is prepared, the fabric can be fed through the machine, and the ink heads will spray the design onto the silk. This process is controlled digitally, for a precise and consistent finish - everything must be set correctly so as not to waste the precious silk! The computerised process means that even intricate designs can be printed onto the delicate fabric, for a beautiful finish in vibrant colours.
Once the silk has been printed, it needs to be finished with the utmost care. The silk is at its most vulnerable state and needs to be handled carefully. The fabric is delicately steamed to bond the ink to the silk’s fibres, washed to remove the coating, then finally dried out entirely, when it is then ironed or pressed to achieve the glossy finish that we expect to see. At this point, the silk has been printed, the design should have taken perfectly, and the final piece will be glinting beautifully in the light. This is now ready to manufacture into one of Cravat Club’s silk accessories.
While many of our designs are printed digitally due to their complexity, when it comes to our polka dot cravats, ties and pocket squares, nothing gets the job done like old-fashioned screen printing. For the simple, repeating pattern and the perfect circles involved, manual screen printing is the perfect method, and gives an incredible finish to the final piece.
Screen printing requires making a stencil of the design, which is then pressed onto the silk by hand. Each colour requires a different stencil, and each press gives a much thicker layer of ink than digital printing can. This makes it perfect for designs with high contrasts, like Cravat Club’s polka dots. Screen printing is labour-intensive and highly skilled work, and requires both knowledge and expertise to get right. However, in the right hands it looks spectacular, and lends an artisan’s touch to your accessories.
Our printed silk cravats are light and breathable, and feel incredibly soft next to your skin. They also accommodate our most daring designs, for when you want to stand out from the crowd, or to make a statement. Why not browse our range of high-quality printed silk cravats and scarves, hand-made here in England, and see if there is the perfect thing to set off your outfit in 2022?