Les Indiennes must initially be softened and bleached so that the fabric will feel as luxurious as possible and the colors, as vibrant. Bales of organic cotton are repeatedly rinsed and beaten against large rocks, then laid out on the grass to bleach in the intense Indian sun. If it rains, this step must wait.
Once the fabric is sufficiently softened and lightened, printing begins. Craftsmen dip hand-carved teak blocks in dyes derived from plants, roots, earth, and rock. Great care must be taken in pressing the pattern to the cloth. Then, the printed fabric is air dried for at least two days.
When the fabric is dry, it must be steamed over a fire of rice chaff to fix the color. Workers next haul the cloth to a stream and rinse the fabric to remove excess dye. Colors emerge from different streams in different tones¬--nature’s little tweak!
After the color is fully saturated, the fabric undergoes another round of softening and color-brightening. The fabrics are boiled, laid in the sun once more, and dipped in a natural, color-intensifying solution .
With all of these careful steps, it is not surprising that Les Indiennes arrive beautifully broken-in and soft, with sweet and pleasing hints that they are made entirely by hand.