Friday, 16 November 2018

Block Party - For The Love of Block Prints



Ever since we visited an Ajrakh block-printing factory in Gujarat back in January (HERE) I've become more obsessed with block printed fabric than ever. You're probably aware of the huge prices vintage block printed garments command and, in the past, I've always sold the pieces I've found to fund our travels but I've come to the conclusion that I feel so damned good in my block prints that I'm going to start holding on to them, they could be our pension in years to come!



Sadly this little lot isn't mine!


Here's my small - but perfectly formed - collection of block prints.


After finding a bolt of vintage block printed cotton in a dusty old tailor's shop in Goa I handed over a dress I'd been travelling in and asked them to copy it. The dress I'm wearing to Mumbai's Prince of Wales Museumttook 24 hours to make and cost less than £20 (including the fabric). 


We're hoping to visit the Anokhi museum in Jaipur on our next trip to India so I was excited to find this vintage '80s Anokhi dress on eBay for a fiver. The yellow dress was from the same seller - I can't wait to wear it.





 Words cannot express my love for this Adini maxi dress I found in the charity clearance shop last Autumn. 


The demand for the block printed wraparound skirts we'd brought back from India for the festival season was so high that I ended up having to part with my own collection - I've only got three left now! 


The ones that got away (vintage Chelsea Girl, no less - what was I thinking?)


A Cotton Cottage purchase since sold to a festival goer!



I was going to save the Third Eye wraparound skirt to wear in India but I couldn't wait (always a sign of a successful purchase).


This wraparound is from mine and Jon's favourite ready-mades shop, Cotton Cottage. They sell exquisite hand-printed, organic cotton clothes and, luckily for us, their sale always coincides with our annual trip to India so Jon stocks up on their granddad shirts and I usually pick up a couple of maxi skirts.




Ayesha Davar's 1970s clothes often sell for ££££s so I was very excited to score this midi skirt on eBay for a bit of a bargain (I think the fact it had a 24" waist - like me- worked to my advantage!)





I bought the '70s pink cheesecloth tunic from a fellow Moseley Vintage Fair trader a couple of years ago and it's already visited Mumbai, Mangalore, Cochin and seen most of South Goa. Here it is on a visit to the splendid Fernandes House.


I've worn this Phool quilted waistcoat loads since I bought it at Vintage Village in the spring. Here's the last time it was captured on camera.


I love the ingenious construction of this Jake in India top.


I can wear it either way to show off the opposing patterns and can tie it at the front or the back.


I spotted these Anokhi pyjamas on the underwear rail in a charity shop a while ago - they're miles too big but the quality of the cotton is out of this world. They sell for daft money on eBay so maybe I should just list them and buy a pair in my size when I'm in India?


I bought the large scarf from Dr Khatri's factory and the smaller one came from a trendy shop called Happily Unmarried (that's us!) in Goa about 15 years ago.


Here's my kantha jacket - it's reversible which makes it a brilliant travel piece, two jackets in one!



Label love!!


Have a fab weekend - I'm off to cook a home grown (by me!) rainbow chard, chickpea and mushroom curry and there might well be a few drinks to accompany it. Tomorrow it's back to the decorating.

Updated to add photographic proof of my curry - you'll find the recipe HERE

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday.

57 comments:

  1. The time and effort they put into them, works of art really. You are right to hoard them :)

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    1. I can really appreciate the skill involves now I've been to the factory. x

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  2. BLOCK-PRINT!!!!
    SWOON!!!
    That 80's Anokhi dress is soo fab! Let's see, I have block-print tablecloths, napkins, bedding,kurtis, curtains, stationery, (I probably missed something) I <3 block-print!
    Enjoy that chard, chickpea & mushroom curry!
    xox

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    1. FabIndia do some amazing block printed homewares, I love going in and swooning over them all! xxx

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  3. Oh yes, I can see why you love block print garments. All of what you've shown is beautiful and you look wonderful in everything. I am going to keep my eyes peeled when I'm rummaging from now on!

    Have a lovely weekend
    xxx

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    1. They're so delicate that they're becoming increasingly rare - grab them when you can! x

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  4. I love seeing people's collections. It tells so much about them. Your eye is so good and you look stunning in every piece! Xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. Thank you so much - lovely to hear from you! x

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  5. You have some lovely pieces, there are some beautiful patterns. I always liked phool.
    Not long now until you're off on your travels, it doesn't feel like long since the last; time flies when you get older!
    I liked Bloc Party back in the noughties, I haven't heard them for ages! xxx

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    1. I was playing along to Pointless and scored a pointless answer to Bloc party's Helicoptera couple of weeks ago!
      I cannot wait to return to india, this weather and the endless Xmas hype is driving me insane! xxx

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  6. I cannot believe you let that first multicoloured wrap around skirt get away from you. It is my favourite of the bunch.

    Your collection is wonderful. I'm sure that your 24" waist affords you many things most people cannot fit into.

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. I know - I don't know what posessed me but the girl who bought it left our stall wearing it and kept it on all weekend so it went to the right person! xxx

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  7. Beautiful patterns and colors, and to think of them in a cotton dress...perfection! I agree w/you on that Adini dress.

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    1. Thanks, Beth! They really are pieces of art, aren't they? xxx

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  8. What a collection! My awareness of Indian patterns and block prints is growing - we have a very large Indian population on the west coast of Canada (I work with tons of Indian folks), and I do see things like this in the thrift stores. I will have to look more carefully at them! Thanks for the education, Vix (and good to know your waist measurement, in case I spot something REALLY special!).

    Happy weekend, my dear!

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    1. You do - I often meet Canadian Indians in Goa escaping the winter for a few months.
      Oh do keep your eyes peeled, Sheila. They're like gokld dust here and the on-line prices are mad! xxx

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  9. Wow, so many beautiful pieces! I never knew that they were called block prints, I only ever thought of them as fab patterns. It's interesting to realise that they were printed by hand. Hold on to them, Vix. Xxx

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    1. They're gorgeous, aren't they? Back in the 1970s they were really cheap but the fabric is so fragile not so mnay survived. xxx

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  10. You are making me re-think my collection. After seeing what sort of prices they get online, I've been tempted to sell some of mine as I rarely wear them, but maybe I ought to hold off. I never thought years ago that these would be the sort of thing collectors would go wild for.
    Have a great weekend.

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    1. People love them - I think I get more compliments wearing these pieces than I do with my crazier vintage stuff. mad to think they they command higher prices than CC41 or Horrockses frocks but, there again, they're a lot more wearable and the styles are a lot more forgiving! xxx

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  11. you have a stunning block print collection!! all those beauties!!
    sadly its very hard to get some decent block print here - if a shop sells some, mostly bed covers, then its expensive - i payed ca. 150€ for the piece i made my skirt from...... vintage block print garments are always to tiny for me ;-D
    xxxx

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    1. There's some well priced block printed bedcovers currently on UK eBay - I can always post them to you if you find anything you like! xxx

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  12. So interesting to see your collection of block printed pieces. I think I may have one also, a wraparound midi skirt I bought when we went to STN. Haven't worn it for ages as no boots to go with it at moment, on the lookout tho. Xx

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    1. I always buy the wraparound skirts when I'm in India, the price we pay ensures their rent is covered for six months and they sell out within weeks! I've been living in that Ayesha Davar midi skirt, it's perfect for layering up - you just need to right boots! xxx

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  13. well ive learned something, ive accidently bought a few vintage trendy bits over the last couple of years , just because i like floaty stuff and Free Size often means heifer sized ...who knew?

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    1. Well you know what to do when you're struggling for cash - stick them on eBay! i think that's one of the things that make them so sought after, they're vintage pieces in decent sizes! x

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  14. That jake (new garment name for me) pattern is intriguing, Vix. One wonders if it could be adapted to "use up" scraps of nice material? I'm thinking of several vests whose decorative backs are more attractive than their respectably boring fronts...and I'd wear them reversed if I could.

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    1. Oh, now I see the label...so what shall we call this, a "bib vest"?

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    2. I can't find the correct term for that Jake top - in a way it reminds me of those Thai fisherman's pants, you pull it on and wrap the ends until it fits. it would be a brilliant thing to copy. xxx

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  15. All your block print garments are gorgeous and you wear them so well. How fun you got to visit that factory...and that museum looks fascinating. I love museums of all sorts, and I have a special love for those connected with clothing or jewellerly.

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    1. I get a bit frustrated when I'm in costume museums - I get a weird compulsion to break the glass just so I can touch the items! Naughty! x

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  16. I love the block print items, so hard to find, i have a few precious bits from East, who went bust this year.

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    1. I didn't know East had gone. That might explain the amount of new with tags garments listed on eBay - have a look closer to Xmas - you might find a few bargains when everyone else is rushing about obsessed with present shopping! x

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  17. I had that exact Anokhi dress in the mid 90s - bought in their shop in Covent Garden ...

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    1. What are the chances? Interesting that you mention it being 1990s. I assumed 1980s with the boned bodice and basque waistline. xxx

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  18. You have a smashing collection of Indian textiles! I occasionally find indian print skirts at thrift stores but they are always too small for my waist. You should try using the wood block I sent you to print some fabric for a top or a cushion cover.

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    1. I'm on the lookout for something plain I can block print with my marvellous wood block - it seems surprisingly hard to find plain cotton garments in chazzas! xxx

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  19. That curry sounded so nice until you said the M word! ;-)
    I love your block-printed collection. I have a lovely block printed cheesecloth top that was my Mum's from the 70's. It was a lifesaver in Bali as it allowed me to me covered up but cool! I wonder what that label is? Will have to look for it!

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    1. You could easily omit the mushrooms - it's one of Hugh's recipes, his veggie stuff is always delicious!
      I nver travel long haul without a trusty cheesecloth top - cool and modest! xx

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  20. what a fabulous collection! I totally love block print, even if I only have a pair of pieces!. Your skirts and dresses are stunning, the vests are lovely and that reversible jacket is really perfect!! I'm amazed by the pattern of the 'Jake in India' top, it looks like something easy to sew using leftover fabric! And you look gorgeous wearing it!
    lovely post!
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! I'm very tempted to copy that Jake pattern, isn't it clever? xxx

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  21. What a wonderfully colourful collection. I can totally see the attraction: these pieces are so you. Shame about the one that got away ... I'd no idea vintage block printed garments commanded such high prices. xxx

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    1. The going price for my Adini dress is £190 upwards - it's absolutely crazy! xxx

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  22. Your collection of block prints is marvelous - they look so like YOU, and fit your vibe perfectly. I too have given away or sold most of my block-print wrap skirts, and now I'd like them back! xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. The things we get rid of, I'll never learn! xxx

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  23. OOOOO, so many beautiful block prints. I recently watched a video of how it's done. Fascinating. The artisans who still do this by hand do not get enough credit. Of course you look stunning in all of it. And, btw, how the heck did you get a 24" waist. I want the recipe!

    Theresa

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    1. I know, their skill and patience is utterly breathtaking! xxx

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  24. Those are such fabulous dresses. I will keep an eye out for block prints for you! Being slender clearly nets you all the bargains.

    Arg. Now I want to go back to India... or possibly to Sri Lanka; the current cricket tour made me suggest to Pete that he and I go out for the next England tour of Sri Lanka (probably in 3-4 years' time).

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    1. Thanks, Mim! The ones I watch on Ebay generally go for hundreds!!
      We tried to go to Sri Lanka in the 1990s but the Foreign Office advised against going after those atrocities and the airlines cancelled all flights. Everyone we've spoken to says that we'd love it. My brother is a member of the Barmy Army and has travelled all over! xxx

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  25. beautiful clothes. I now have ethnic, second hand, or custom-made, envy.

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  26. Thanks for finally talking about >"Block Party - For The Love of Block Prints" <Loved it!

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  27. Your collection is truly beautiful, Vix! Love the last outfit so much for the colors and print mix! That curry sounds really yummy, btw!
    Lots of love!

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    1. Thanks, Natalia! I've just added a link to the curry recipe - it's more South indian in flavour - I think you might enjoy it! xxx

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  28. hello i'm Scott harvey from Australia i love your long indian wrap around skirts so much so i've added them to my computers images hope you dont mind but i love these kind of skirts....

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Lots of love, Vix