Inkjet Fabric Printing Compendium

Allen Smithee

Well-Known Member
That other forum inexplicably chucked a legit thread on all things inkjet fabric printing except whether a certain Gianni Cerrutti of Passaggio Cravatte was guilty of using said fabrics and passing them off as ancient vintage hand printed stuff.

I had no idea this technology ever existed, not that I ever thought about it. I mean that Undercover Boss show let me know that mass-market brand t-shirts are screened by hand in this day and age, so the fact that expensive silks were going through a glorified office color printer was news to me.

So let's discuss the technology, the history, the advantages and disadvantages, , the ways to discern different printed goods and all that. Someone else start or remind me later.
Last edited:
My amateur understanding is that:
1. White silk edges/back as opposed to a more natural cream color is a tipoff, as it needs bleaching for inket printing.
2. The inkjet is not a deep soak and rarely saturates through to the reverse side, whereas the "very old" stuff was initially dyed a background color throughout...
3. Thicker fabrics or denser fabrics will be more resistant to complete saturation even with the more time consuming deeper saturating old printing methods.
you really can't tell just by looking at the printed surface, right? i will page the new members that know more on this if they don't find their way here.
Oh yeah, does anyone know if inkjet dyes are more water soluble than other types? Will the resulting printed fabric be more susceptible to the dye running if it gets wet?
Oh yeah, does anyone know if inkjet dyes are more water soluble than other types? Will the resulting printed fabric be more susceptible to the dye running if it gets wet?
If you extrapolate from paper printing, then I would have to say absolutely it would run. But then, who's going to print up a tie that can't be cleaned?
Interesting. The tech of all the treatments modern textiles get is mind-boggling. Water and stain resistant, wrinkle resistant, UV fading resistant, all sorts of goodies. Thanks!

found it fascinating too. Better living, er, wearing through chemicals
Question: does anyone know the amount of inkjet printed fabrics that are being used by the respected makers?

Does Patrizio use them and if so to what extent? Sarto has posted a Kiton inkjet and Henry Carter will have inkjet Macclesfield prints.

It seems that inkjet will become industry standard as it provides economies of scale for those who print the fabric for tie makers plus the flexibility and ease to do special runs of old designs.

Should we be concerned with this shift in printing? Or since most tie makers use contemporary fabrics anyway is it just to be expected. Won't we still get quality silk and handsome designs from the reputable makers no matter what technology is used.
I thought I'd read that there was a sweet spot of mid-sized lots that inkjet was good for. Presumably the initial investment is unwarranted for small lots, and the slow printing machine is less productive for long runs. I may be wrong.
Oh yeah, does anyone know if inkjet dyes are more water soluble than other types? Will the resulting printed fabric be more susceptible to the dye running if it gets wet?

T4phage said:
i would
be dubious too
especially with
teh newer stuff
funny thing
i heard about
teh early inkjet
(this from
one ex partner
of a famous
rtw tailoring
when this
tailoring house
started offering
inkjet printed ties
way back when
(or so many years
on its shoulder)
when it would
get wet
the colours would
customers would
ask why....
and the tailoring
house said...
it is a vintage
Rubinacci double sided inque jette

Missed this thread for some reason. I'm not doing any inkjet Macclesfields any more only sourcing hand (screen) printed silks direct from Adamley.

But the main advantage with doing inkjet is its cheaper to do smaller unique runs because there are no set up costs for screens, larger runs are cheaper to screen. Registration is also better on inkjet than screen printing because of little to no movement between colours, compared to up to 1mm in screen movement. In saying that though, a little bit of movement in the registration gives the fabric character IMO.

If anyone wants a more detailed explanation on how registration works just let me know, I worked in the screen printing industry for 5 yesrs.
Correct ConchitaWurst. In laypersons terms, registration is getting all the colours to line up properly. With screen printing, say a burgundy tie with a floral print of white, black and blue is 4 colours I.e 4 screens. Registering the colours means lining up each screen so the pattern aligns correctly. So even 1mm out on a small floral design can make a big difference in the final print.

As to why I stopped selling inkjets, it was no more than I've started a (good) relationship with Adamley and they have a huge range of screened silks, much larger than the previous inkjets that were sourced through our manufacturer rather than directly by us.

Make sense?
A year or so ago, a Nordstrom catalog had a page on some spendy designer tie that boasted high resolution and variety of color. I want to say it used sixteen or more colors, and the fun thing was that the back blade featured the pure color dots like you'll find at the back edge of any printed bag like a bag of chips. I think they are there for quality control...
Anyhow, I must assume this was inkjet.
Oops, never mind. It was Zegna 'Quindici' and is hand screened with 15 colors. Any idea what magic they are using to achieve this?
Never heard of it I'm afraid. $300 for those ties though...They must have Gianni Cerruti as their creative director.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom