Behind The Fabric: Banshu-ori Japanese Fabric
Banshu-ori (lit. "Banshu Region Weave") fabrics are textiles that are dyed and woven in the historical region of Banshu in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. The town in modern times is known as Nishiwaki City, and the locals have preserved the yarn dyeing and weaving techniques developed in the early 1700s.
The city is located at the mouth of three different rivers, and this access to water meant that it quickly became an area of importance for the Japanese fabric industry.
All fabrics in our Banshu-ori line have been dyed and woven in one of these traditional mills, and we're excited to show you the production process of our check and striped Banshu-ori fabrics during our recent trip to the region.
Dyeing the Yarn
Dyeing the yarn before weaving it into fabric gives a beautiful deep color and a soft-to-the-touch finish.
When dyeing yarn, a base color is created by testing dye blends in large beakers. During this process, the dyeing plant technicians refer to previously dyed threads while mixing the colors to get the best possible result. The yarn spun from cotton or flax (linen) fibers is then dyed one thread at a time.
Weaving the Fabric
Once the threads are dyed, each thread is set two-by-two on a comb-shaped loom. A total of 2,700 threads are used in this process, each one placed by hand. After the warp threads are set, the weaving process can finally begin.
The arm of the loom weaves the warp and weft threads together, slowly but surely. If a yarn snaps, the loom will halt weaving, and has to be set again by hand. This process takes hours, with a weaving technician on hand at all times.
Once the weaving process is finished, the fabric is checked for any mistakes in production. After the check is complete, the fabric starch is washed off, and the fabric goes off for the final manufacturing processes.
We asked for our Banshu-ori fabrics to be washed in order to create a gentle and well-loved finish.
From the Loom to your Hobby Room
We designed our Banshu-ori check and striped fabric to get more and more character the longer you use it. We appreciate the hard work that goes into every step of the fabric manufacturing process, and we believe our Banshu-ori fabrics are a worthy addition to your sewing stash.
If you have any questions about our manufacturing process, need pattern ideas for our Banshu-ori fabrics, or just want to chat about sewing, we'd love to hear from you. Get in touch at our Contact Us page.