How is a scarf made?

Posted on 03 October 2016


We love a mystery

 

As a brand who believe in transparency, we're committed to being honest about how things are made. Fewer secrets means a stronger ethical fashion community.  
The process we use for making a silk scarf is no exception.  Here's how it's done. You might like to try it yourself one day, especially if you are a new brand or graduate wanting to start out in fashion. Many people assume making scarves is easy, but in reality it's a satisfying challenge. Usually there's a moodboard to spark ideas and test colour combinations. The artwork is then drawn onto watercolour paper by Ali using pen and ink, acrylic paints and pencils.

She usually draws several different images, which are combined afterwards. Next Ali uses hand-worked collage and digital editing in Photoshop to create the final artwork. It's always her goal not to make it look too digital, retaining the quirks and imperfections of the hand drawing as much as possible.

 The artwork is then sent to our printer Scott in Sussex. He's got a digital textile printing machine, which is a fantastic invention because it allows fabric to be printed with virtually no waste at all! The cloth is guided through the machine by hand to prevent it slipping. It's a fiddly business!

Digital printing of fabric is an exciting development in fashion production. There's hardly any excess dye, which means less water waste,  fewer chemicals washed into the ecosystem. It also allows us to achieve virtually endless colour combinations and tonal values- everything from block colour to photographic realism.

 The final stage is the scarf hemming, which wherever possible, is done in the UK by Nicola at The Pin House, our partner studio where all our clothing and cushions are now made. Most of our scarves have hand finished corners with a lovely sharp mitred point, which is held together by a small hand stitch. This is extremely hard to achieve, and many-a-seamstress has shed tears trying.

 

 

Mot of our scarf edges are machine hemmed, or in some cases hand-rolled or hand frayed.  All these techniques require a great deal of patience and a skilled, steady hand. A great seamstress like Nicola knows a lot, but most importantly, she never stops learning or being excited about new techniques.

For large shop orders we sometimes have to sew or hand fray scarves overseas, but we'll always use a trusted supplier who's ethics match our own. Fair wages and good working conditions are a must and we'll always reject suppliers if we're not satisfied with conditions even when that means paying more.   

One last thought on the environment: Few people realise that traditional methods like resist dyeing and screen printing use an enormous amount of water to wash out excess dyes. Read more about our commitment to clean printing and dyeing in our post Why Print Digitally.

You can also find a list of our suppliers here, which might be helpful if you are starting out as a print label, or a consumer wanting to make informed decisions.

If you'd like to know more, please get in touch HERE or on social media using the links below.

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