What is called printed fabric?


Printed fabric is a versatile material that has been used for centuries in various industries. It has revolutionized the world of fashion, allowing designers to create unique patterns and designs on textiles. This article explores the process, applications, advantages, and limitations of printed fabric, as well as its impact on the fashion industry.

What is Printed Fabric?

Printed fabric, also known as patterned fabric, refers to textiles that have designs, patterns, or images printed onto their surfaces. Unlike woven fabrics, where the pattern is created during the weaving process, printed fabrics are decorated after the weaving or knitting stage. This gives designers the freedom to create intricate designs and vivid colors, making printed fabric a sought-after choice in the fashion world.

The Printing Process

Printing on fabric involves transferring ink or colorants onto the textile surface. The most common printing techniques used for fabric include screen printing, digital printing, roller printing, and heat transfer printing. Each technique has its own advantages and limitations, but they all share the same objective of transforming plain fabric into a visually appealing masterpiece.

1. Screen Printing:

Screen printing is one of the oldest and most traditional methods of printing on fabric. It involves creating a stencil on a fine mesh screen and using it to transfer ink onto the fabric. This technique allows for precise and detailed designs, making it popular in the production of high-quality printed fabrics.

2. Digital Printing:

Digital printing is a modern technique that involves printing the design directly onto the fabric using inkjet technology. It offers the advantage of being able to reproduce complex patterns with millions of colors accurately. Digital printing is also an environmentally friendly option, as it requires less water and energy compared to other printing methods.

3. Roller Printing:

Roller printing, also known as engraved roller printing, is a technique that involves passing the fabric between a series of engraved rollers. The rollers are engraved with the desired pattern, and each roller adds a particular color to the fabric, resulting in a multi-colored design. Roller printing allows for quick and efficient production of printed fabrics with repetitive patterns.

4. Heat Transfer Printing:

Heat transfer printing, as the name suggests, involves using heat to transfer the design onto the fabric. The design is first printed onto a special paper using sublimation ink or a transfer medium. The paper is then placed on the fabric and subjected to heat and pressure, causing the design to transfer onto the fabric. Heat transfer printing is commonly used for customized t-shirts and other personalized fabric items.

Applications of Printed Fabric

Printed fabric finds its application in various industries, including fashion, home decor, and technical textiles. Here are some of the main applications of printed fabrics:

1. Fashion Industry:

The fashion industry is one of the biggest consumers of printed fabric. Designers use printed fabrics to create unique clothing items, such as dresses, skirts, shirts, and scarves. Printed fabrics allow designers to unleash their creativity and experiment with different patterns, colors, and images.

2. Home Decor:

Printed fabrics are widely used in home decor to add a touch of color and personality to interior spaces. They are used for making curtains, upholstery, cushions, tablecloths, and beddings. Printed fabrics in home decor range from bold and vibrant prints to subtle and elegant designs, catering to different styles and preferences.

3. Technical Textiles:

In addition to fashion and home decor, printed fabrics are also used in technical textiles. Technical textiles refer to fabrics designed and engineered for specific functional purposes rather than aesthetics alone. Printed technical textiles find their application in sectors like sports and outdoor activities, automotive interiors, and medical textiles.

Advantages of Printed Fabric

Printed fabric offers several advantages over other types of fabrics:

1. Versatility:

Printed fabric allows for endless possibilities in design. From intricate patterns to photorealistic images, printed fabrics give designers the freedom to create unique and eye-catching designs.

2. Customization:

Printed fabrics can be easily customized to suit individual requirements. Whether it's a personalized design or a specific color scheme, digital printing enables designers to bring their customers' visions to life.

3. Affordability:

Printed fabrics are often more affordable compared to fabrics with woven-in patterns or intricate embroidery. This makes them accessible to a wider range of consumers, allowing everyone to enjoy the beauty of printed textiles.

4. Time Efficiency:

With printing techniques becoming faster and more efficient, the production of printed fabrics has become quicker compared to traditional methods like weaving or embroidery. This allows designers to meet market demands and streamline their production processes.

Limitations of Printed Fabric

Despite its numerous advantages, printed fabric does have some limitations:

1. Fading:

Printed fabric tends to fade over time, especially when exposed to sunlight or harsh washing methods. To mitigate this issue, it is essential to use quality dyes and proper washing techniques to maintain the vibrancy of the print.

2. Limited Color Fastness:

Certain dyes used in printing may not have excellent color fastness, which means the colors may bleed or fade even with gentle washing. It is crucial to choose dyes that are suitable for the intended application and to follow the care instructions provided by the fabric manufacturer.

3. Fabric Selection:

Not all fabrics are suitable for printing. Some fabrics, like silk or velvet, have a distinct texture that may interfere with the printing process or affect the clarity of the design. It is essential to choose fabrics that are compatible with the chosen printing technique.

4. Design Distortion:

Printed fabrics may suffer from design distortion due to the nature of the printing process. Misalignment of colors or stretching of the fabric during the printing stage can cause distortions that may affect the overall appearance of the design.

Impact on the Fashion Industry

Printed fabric has had a significant impact on the fashion industry, influencing trends and enabling designers to create distinctive collections. Here are some ways printed fabric has revolutionized the fashion industry:

1. Unique Designs:

Printed fabric allows designers to differentiate themselves by creating exclusive designs and patterns. With digital printing technology, designers can translate their ideas onto fabric with precision and accuracy, setting them apart from competitors.

2. Artistic Expression:

Printed fabric provides a medium for designers to express their creativity and artistic vision. They can experiment with various prints, colors, and textures, bringing their imagination to life in the form of wearable art.

3. Sustainability:

As consumer awareness regarding sustainable fashion grows, printed fabric offers a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional fabric production methods. Digital printing, for example, minimizes water wastage and reduces the amount of chemicals used in the printing process.

4. Collaborations:

Printed fabrics have also paved the way for collaborations between fashion designers and artists. These collaborations enable designers to leverage the unique artistic styles of renowned artists, resulting in fabric designs that are truly one-of-a-kind.


Printed fabric has revolutionized the fashion industry by offering limitless design possibilities and customization options. From screen printing to digital printing, the advancements in printing technology have made it easier than ever for designers to create stunning patterns and vibrant colors on fabric. With its versatility, affordability, and wide-ranging applications, printed fabric will continue to play a vital role in the world of fashion and beyond.


Author: Jiede–Fashion Fabrics

Author: Jiede–Apparel Fabrics

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