Shadow Tissue refers to a method which combines printing and weaving. The thread is printed with the pattern design and then woven to create the final cloth. The result is a distorted and blurred pattern which has all the longevity of a woven fabric. Its a really unique look which originated in the British Interwar period. Raf Simons, Creative Director, Haute Couture, Dior 2012-15, used the technique, which is referred to in the documentary Dior and I as imprimé chaîne (translated as printed chain), to reproduce artworks by Sterling Ruby as dresses and coats.
The technique has been revived by the company who specialised in it in the 1920s and 30s, Turnball Design. Turnball use digital technology to print the yarn which is then hand woven to produce the final fabric. Patricia Belford researched the technique in the Turnball archives for the research project The Rediscovery of Shadow Tissues, a Leverhulme funded project which resulted in a book, The Beauty of Experiment. Belford also writes about the project in The Journal of Textile Design Research and Practice.