India Hand Block-Print Fabric

In the desert regions of Jaipur, artisans craft each one of our block-printed jackets by hand using centuries-old techniques that have been passed down for generations.

The process begins with the hand carving of a pattern’s design into wooden blocks. This laborious process must be repeated more often than one might imagine. Each block is used a mere 300 times before the precise lines become blurred. The old block is then discarded and a new block is carved. With the elaborate, delicate designs Orvis commissions for our jackets, the carvers are kept busy year-round.

Fabric is printed by hand using the same skill and precision. With a steady hand and even steadier patience, artists dip the block in dye and then apply the design to the fabric, taking care each time to line the patterns up. This is a skill few can master and the printers who excel in this talent are highly valued. The dyes are also made by hand, the dyers’ art being in the imaginative blends of earthen, vegetable and mineral contents they concoct to create the vivid reds, blues, greens, and yellows that are used for our fabrics.

Our jackets are then stitched, either by hand with a thread and needle in cross-stitch and embroidery patterns or by a single needle machine, with which another craftsman does the allover trapunto stitching that lends texture and a quilted effect to our jackets. The buttons of coconut shells or wood are then sewn on and the garment is complete.

Our block-printed jackets are truly works of art; every piece is unique, created by a cooperative of some of the most talented fabric artisans in the world. We are proud to share in this tradition of excellence by offering authentic hand block-printed clothing.