Tutorial: Create a photo mashup to make the perfect men’s shirt fabric

OCT 9, 2012

This week guest author Emma Jeffery from the blog Hello Beautiful visits to show us how she used cloud photos to create a one of a kind shirt for her outdoorsy, science-loving husband. 


I enjoy making things for my loved ones, but I often feel underwhelmed by the sewing potential for making things for my husband. To be frank, he’s one of those people who doesn’t even need much; give him a bike, some tunes he likes and a decent pair of flip flops, and he’s pretty satisfied with life.

But that doesn’t mean he should be able to sneak, undetected, beneath my sewing radar. It just means I have to think more creatively when it comes to ideas for making things I know he’ll love.

He’s an outdoors type of man who likes stargazing, weather reports and well….science. Whilst it may be a little lost on me, I was happy to spend a sunny afternoon during a recent vacation, taking photos of passing clouds, to make into a one-of-a-kind fabric design that I sewed up into a shirt for him.

I uploaded my photos to Picasa and created a collage of approximately 30 individual cloud photos, under the ‘picture pile’ tab. You can easily rotate and resize each individual image. I recommend not having any clouds at the edges of the design, which will make a repeat design in Spoonflower seamless.

Using the ‘duo-tone’ option under the ‘image processing’ tab, I was able to make the final layout of the collage two colors: white and blue.

Having uploaded several color versions to Spoonflower, I ordered swatches of all them, to allow my husband to approve just the right shade of sky blue.

I had my design printed onto Spoonflower’s cotton poplin, which is an ideal fabric for men’s shirts and other kinds of clothing. It has an estimated 3% shrinkage so it’s important, as with any garment sewing project, to prewash the fabric before cutting.
Upon receiving my yardage, all that was left for me to do was to sew the shirt. I used a simple men’s Hawaiian shirt pattern by BurdaStyle.


About Our Guest Blogger

Hi! I’m Emma, and as well as working on the Fiskars Design Team, I blog over at hellobeautifulblog.blogspot.com/

I’m an obsessive sewer, often leaping into projects with more enthusiasm than talent, more bravado than skill and more good luck than anything else. This technique has worked well for me so far and more often than not, I make things I love, even if they’re not absolutely perfect. And though I’m no expert, I have a passion for fabric, color and design. I know what I like and what I like makes me smile.

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  • Really great fabric… I have been wanting to do something similar!
    I am an avid cloud photographer…so I have tons of photos begging to be used.
    Thanks for the cool tutorial!
    ^_^ — PinkSodaPop

  • He sounds like my husband, I love this idea, those blue skies are such a beautiful colour. INteresting cloud shapes too, I like how different parts of the world produce different skies and clouds.