Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Silk Tie Printing Process

This article shows the steps involved in printing a piece of raw silk better known as a Greige Good ( See below for definition. ). This needs to be done before a single tie can be made.
The Manufacturing of a necktie is not as simple a process as one thinks. During a trip to China I took a few pictures not of the actual making of the tie but of just of the process of printing a piece of raw silk. I have written a short explanation next to each image.

This is part of the Printing process where a design is printed on raw silk using a series of screens. Each color requires a new screen. This is a very dirty and tedious process. To help with the drying of the ink the temperatures in these printing factories are extremely hot. Roughly about 100+ degrees Fahrenheit.

In this picture is where the dyes which you see in the red containers on the left are put onto a piece of silk to get the color match correct according to the customers color requirements. Workers will lay pieces of raw silk on the table and test different colors to get the right mix for each screen. On the bottom right you will see a few more screens for the particular design resting against the table. Each screen is for a different color. The average printed pattern has about 7-9 colors.

Once the colors are all tested and corrected it's off to the printing table. Raw silk fabric is laid on tables each table being 100ft long. The screen is then laid on the silk and the ink is poured on and spread evenly on the screen. ( Hence the term screen printing. ) The screen is then lifted and moved to the adjacent piece and the process is repeated until the entire length is complete. This process is repeated with each screen which adds another color to the silk until all the colors have been added.

Once the silk has been printed and is completely dry the silk goes to the washing plant where it goes through a washing process to remove all enzymes and particles left on the raw silk. From this image you can see that this is not just a big washing machine but a carefully built washing plant. The silk is fed in on rollers so it is kept flat and straight throughout the washing process.

Once through washing its off to be dried.

Once washed the printed silk goes through a series of dryers on rollers and comes out the other side ready to be sent to the factory where it is made into a necktie, bow tie, Ascot or for that matter any garment that uses a printed silk.
From the above one can see that the simple tie that one wears has gone through transformation from the silkworm it came from to be that elegant tie, or bowtie that you see on
Definition of Greige Good as referenced above
Textiles that have not received any bleaching, dyeing or finishing treatment after being produced by a textile process (pronounced gray).

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