I love English paper piecing and fabrics with great big prints, but these two things don’t always play so nicely together. So I decided to experiment with super-sizing some traditional paper pieced hexagons. I love the way they showcase these three beautiful designs from Spoonflower designer Holli Zollinger: Coral Lined Mosaic, Fish Scales Slate Full, and Diamond Circles Aqua, and the chevron lines of quilting make a nice frame.
Make cute and simple fabric from your drawings!
Get some ordinary printer paper and your favorite brand of black marker or art pen. For this project, a thicker-lined pen is best. Decide what you'd like to draw–here, I'm drawing a bunch of smiling little kids–and draw
your subject all over the paper, repeatedly.
Don't worry if some of the drawings look a little off, just keep drawing—you'll get better as you repeat the image. Try a few variations as you go. Once you have a ton of little images all over the page, take a pencil and circle the ones you like best.
Take a second sheet of paper and lay it on top of the first paper. If you can't see the lines you drew through it, you may have to hold both sheets up and tape to a window. Grab your crayons and "color in" the drawings you like on the second paper. Color loosely, a bit lightly, and use blocky color. Let your coloring go a bit out beyond the lines if you like.
Scan both images at 300dpi and open in Photoshop.
First, make sure the background of the crayon image is pure white. We'll use Replace Color for this.
Click Image > Adjustments > Replace Color, make sure Preview is checked, and set Fuzziness to 25.
Click on the background of the image in the Preview window—this is the hue that appears next to the word "Color".
Now drag the Lightness slider all the way to the right—the "Result" box will turn white. You should see your image background turn bright white as well. (If you start to lose image detail in the crayoned parts, adjust Fuzziness to 15 or 10.) Click OK.
Now's a good time to crop your crayon image. I like to leave around 1-2cm at the top and left sides, and crop closely on the bottom and right. This will usually make the repeat flow nicely once it's uploaded to Spoonflower.
You can also open Image > Adjustments > Hue & Saturation if you want to quickly tweak your colorway.
Zoom (+) way, way into the drawings you've decide to work with. Using the Magic Wand tool, hold down Shift and click all the black parts of the image until it's completely selected, then copy what you've selected to your clipboard. Just work with one little drawing at a time here.
Head back over to your crayon image and Paste the drawing as a new layer. Move it so it's positioned on top of its colored-in background, and use Edit > Transform > Rotate if you need to line them up better.
Repeat with the remaining drawings you've colored. Flatten all the Layers of your image and if you like, open Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast—bumping both up will give you a more vibrant fabric, lowering them a touch will give a more muted image, which can be nice for a vintage look.
Open Image > Image Size and set the print size for your design. I like to set my image dpi to Spoonflower's default of 150dpi here, too.
Save and upload to Spoonflower! You can preview your pattern in different repeats—here I've decided half-brick is best. You're all done!
About Our Guest Blogger
Anda Corrie is an American illustrator, Etsy designer, and émigré living in Berlin, Germany with her small family. In her spare time she obsesses over vintage children’s books, makes homemade schnapps, sews tiny dresses that her 4-year-old stubbornly refuses to wear, and draws. Visit her Spoonflower shop for some lovely hand drawn fabric designs and her Etsy shop, Boosterseat.
I’m the mother of three daughters who, to varying degrees, are still interested in having their mama make them clothes. Actually, it’s almost a competitive sport around here where handmade clothing equals love points. If one girl gets something made for her, someone else is bound to be pretty cranky about it and demand that she also get a new dress, skirt, or what have you to even up the spread of love.
This means that it’s very useful to be able to make things up quickly sometimes. I do have quite a few lovely, more complicated children’s clothing patterns that I make when I know that I have the stamina for all that tracing and fitting together of many pattern pieces–and most likely, for doing it at least twice for my two youngest daughters. But more often than not, I wing it with simple clothing for them that I can make quickly, more than one time, and without much more work than taking accurate measurements of impatient little people.
This simple shirred sundress that I made for my youngest daughter, Phoebe, is just such a simple project, taking more time to type about than it did to actually make it up. I used a single yard of Spoonflower organic cotton sateen printed with Sally Harmon's — aka, Boris Thumbkin’s — dear Train design, and I had a bit of fabric left over to use in patchwork projects down the road. Here’s how to make up a sweet and easy shirred sundress for a little girl in your life.
First, start with washing, drying, and pressing your yard of fabric. Trim off the unprinted selvage edges of your yard.
This week guest author Emma Jeffery from the blog Hello Beautiful shows us how she turned her grandmother’s handwritten recipes into tea towels for her own kitchen. Read the how-to below, or, jump to our up-to-date video tutorial from Spoonflower member Theresa at the bottom of the post. She’ll take you through each step from Emma’s tea towel concept, so you’ll learn how to edit your scanned recipe in Photoshop, all the way through to how to sew up the tea towel with a finished double-hem.
Emma: For a woman who keeps a newspaper from the day she was born, my mum has surprisingly few keepsakes or handwritten memorabilia from her own mother who passed away in 1999. When I asked her to trawl through her old papers and files, she managed to find three handwritten recipes from my grandmother. They appear to be the only remaining examples of her handwriting left in the world, and they are therefore as precious as they are priceless.
Guest author Emma Jeffery from the blog Hello Beautiful offers a tutorial for an easy summer maxi skirt.
I’m trying to think ahead and get ready for the summer season by making a few items which will be perfect to wear in the summer sun. It seems like maxi skirts are still a hot trend this year and Spoonflower’s cotton silk blend is the perfect fabric to create a soft and floaty skirt with an elegant drape and a beautiful sheen. I’ve sewn with this fabric a few times before and it’s very user friendly even for the beginner sewer. With a brand new needle, it sews up just as easily as cotton. [Read more…] about Make an easy summer maxi skirt
This week guest author Emma Jeffery from the blog Hello Beautiful shows us how she turned a family keepsake into a beautiful silk scarf.
I have never really been the kind of person who collects trinkets, hoards keepsakes or has many treasured family heirlooms tucked away in the attic, but now that I have children of my own, I am increasingly aware of the importance of keeping items that will one day tell our family’s story. Our family history is no more, or less, remarkable than that of the next, but it is unique in its detail and its narrative is a gift for future generations to treasure.
That said, I am not naturally predisposed to keeping things that do not serve a practical purpose so I’m trying to think of ways to preserve the memories of events and people without cluttering up my house with boxes that are never opened or with figurines that sit on a shelf and gather dust.
When my mum told me she was in possession of a newspaper published on the day she was born I was immediately inspired to think of ways to release it from its captive state at the bottom of a dusty drawer and to bring the printed material to life once more. After all, what good are treasures or keepsakes if we don’t stop to reflect upon them once in awhile?
My mum was born in England in June 1944, the day after the Normandy Landings when the allied troops invaded northern France, resulting in the decisive allied victory that marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War. The newspaper is only 8 pages long (presumably because of the shortages at the time) but despite this, I felt there was a wealth of material: adverts, news columns, satirical cartoons, movie theater announcements, letters, crosswords…
I decided to take photos of different parts of the paper that caught my eye and although there was no ignoring the obvious war reports and political references, I found I was drawn to aspects of the paper that highlighted regular humanity during wartime. For example, there was an advert for soap which asked the readers to consider, ‘Will he find you as young and lovely when he comes home again?” I also took photos of the date printed on the paper (my mum’s birthday!)
With roughly 100 photos of different parts of the newspaper, I transferred them onto my computer and used Picasa to create a collage of my favorite images. In the collage option in Picasa, you are able to set a custom size so I put in 36” x 36” as I intended on making a silk scarf of these dimensions printed on to one yard of Spoonflower’s beautiful silk crepe de chine.
I then positioned and repositioned the photos I had taken until I was happy with the design. At this point the colors were still their original yellowing newspaper with black text, but using Picasa’s Duo-Tone option under the image processing tab, I was able to select two colors for my print.
Though I tried a few test swatches before printing my yardage, all the color options I chose were within shades of my mum’s favorite colors, to make this scarf really personal for her.
This is beautiful fabric with such a special print that I know the scarf will become a family heirloom. And whilst the original newspaper may soon be returned to the bottom of the drawer and forgotten once more, the scarf will be worn and enjoyed, and will help tell part of our story for generations to come.
About Our Guest Blogger
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.
I'm so pleased that Susan and Adrianna at Crafterhours invited us to participate in their annual Skirt Week series this year. From the many times I was teased as a girl for preferring long prairie skirts over jeans, til today when moms at my daughters' schools frequently ask me why I'm "so dressed up," I just love skirts. It's been really fun this week to have an excuse to think about them so much!
Susan asked me to share some of my favorite Spoonflower fabric designs that work well for skirts and I certainly have my own opinions and preferences. But since the Spoonflower office is jam-packed with sewing enthusiasts, it seemed a shame not to ask them, too, and they didn't disappoint. Offering their favorite design picks are Holly, our operations manager, Melodie and Allie, both printer operators, and Caroline, our graphic designer. We were all in pretty close agreement about our favorite types of fabric for skirts–more about that later–but we all chose very different designs. Some of their favorites were designs that even I hadn't run across before on Spoonflower, and I hope you enjoy them, too. Let's get started with some pretty designs!
Holly standing at left is modeling a pretty summery skirt made up in linen/cotton canvas printed with Spoonflower designer Holli Zollinger's design, "Diamond Circles." (That's the aqua colorway shown on Holly's skirt above.) Holli uses a lot of geometric shapes and stylized motifs in her designs and she's a Spoonflower staff–and Spoonflower customer!–favorite designer. Chevrons, large-scale plus signs, and highly stylized natural motifs like flowers and raindrops are all featured in Holli Zollinger's designs and make up into really striking, sophisticated skirts.
Pictured next to Holly on the right, Melodie is wearing a skirt made from organic cotton sateen printed with a design by KristopherK called "French Stripe." KristopherK is another popular designer on Spoonflower with a more subdued and romantic design style. Personally, I love KristopherK's lovely "Magnolia Little Gem" series which features white flowers falling across the width of their solid-colored backgrounds.
Caroline, shown here standing outside the Spoonflower office front door, is wearing an A-line skirt she made from organic cotton sateen printed up with her own design, "Red Eyed Susan." Caroline actually has quite a few designs she's worked up in her Spoonflower shop, and has been giving her new sewing machine a workout using lots of prints of her self-designed, yoga-inspired favorites. When it comes to the types of prints she tends to like, she says, "The bolder, the better!" Her skirt pick from the Spoonflower marketplace is a kawaii style print by Zesti. Tiny deer printed onto an electric yellow skirt, anyone?
Amy Peppler Adams is the Seattle based designer behind the Pennycandy front, and her style is circus- and retro-culture inspired with bold type fonts, jukebox song labels and 1960's coffee cups rendered in primary colors. These are bold choices for clothing items, but I think summer is a great time for playing around with novelty prints for clothing. Novelty prints are also known as "conversational prints" in the fabric world. Don't you imagine conversations about your colorful skirts at the farmer's market, neighborhood cook-outs, and ice cream shops?
Next up is me wearing a wrap skirt made from organic cotton sateen (care to guess one of the Spoonflower staff's favorite fabric types for skirts?) printed with Thebline's "ABP Chandelier" design. I love its simple blue on white palette, but now feel like a complete dork for being the fourth person in this post to be wearing a black shirt with their Spoonflower skirts. That was definitely NOT planned!
My next skirt will be made up in another Thebline design called "ABP par avion" which looks just like the pattern trimming air mail envelopes, don't you think? I've got two yards of this design printed on organic cotton sateen sitting on my dining room table right now, suggesting that it will figure prominently in my upcoming long weekend.
And all these mentions of organic cotton sateen bring me to the subject of fabric types that we like to use for our skirt projects around here. When Spoonflower first started, we printed only onto quilting-weight cotton. This fabric is most commonly recommended for lightweight home-dec projects including, of course, quilts but I think that quilting cotton has its place in the skirt fabric pantheon, too. I have a few quilting-cotton skirts that I think of as everyday skirts because they're hard-wearing, extremely washable, cheaper to make up, and I don't mind if they get dirty. If I'm wearing a quilting-cotton skirt, it doesn't bother me so much when one of my girls sidles up to me to sneakily wipe off her dirty hand or runny nose. (Ok, actually I do kind of mind about the noses. That's gross however washable my skirt is.)
But sturdiness isn't all that's needed in a skirt. I find that quilting-weight cotton tends to produce a stiffer skirt that doesn't drape as well as other fabric types. It stands out from the body a bit rather than hanging in nice folds or swirling about my legs. Most of us skirt sewers at Spoonflower tend to use our organic cotton sateen or linen/cotton canvas for skirt projects instead. The organic cotton sateen drapes just beautifully, has a lovely, subtle sheen, and measures a nice, wide 56-inches across. The linen/cotton canvas is also a nice choice for more structured types of skirts; it holds pleats and crisp edges beautifully and is a generous 54-inches wide. If you really want a flowy, feminine look, cotton/silk, cotton voile (with a lining), or silk crepe de chine are luxurious choices. Just tell your kiddos there is to be no nose-wiping, please.
I hope you all enjoy the Spoonflower staff picks for skirts. Now on to some pretty weekend skirt-sewing projects!
I normally think of spring as my dress sewing season, not my quilting season. The weather is staying warm now, my garden is in full bloom, and the idea of pretty printed cottons against my skin is mighty appealing. Uncharacteristically, though, I find myself wanting to make up a new quilt, not new dresses. Maybe it's because there are so many great new quilting books out at the moment or maybe it's because of the kick in the pants provided by the Spoonflower staff picnic a couple of days ago where we were embarrassingly low on staff-made quilts, but I am this close to a new quilt plan (and not at all close to a new dress plan).
If you're in a quilt-making mood yourself, enter this week's drawing for a giveaway of assorted I Spy squares curated from the Spoonflower marketplace and pre-cut by the lovely blogging and crafting duo Adrianna and Susan at Crafterhours. (Not sure what an I Spy quilt is? An I Spy quilt is an interactive quilt that can be used to play the I Spy game. It's sewn from fussy-cut fabrics featuring motifs that are easy to identify. You can browse a Flickr pool of I Spy quilts here.)
If you're our giveaway winner, you can choose your fabric set from either the I Spy Alpha, I Spy Eden, or I Spy Alloy sets. (That's an Alloy set pictured above.) Just leave a comment on this post or on the corresponding Facebook post, and as always, do include your Spoonflower screen name or some other means of finding you easily. Entries close next Tuesday, 5/8 at 7 pm EST and we'll announce a winner on 5/9. Good luck, everyone! This giveaway is now closed and we'll be announcing a winner shortly.
Speaking of great new quilting books out now, the winner of last week's giveaway of Denyse Schmidt's Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration was Carmen Lingenfelter–congratulations and happy quilting, Carmen!
Does the least little hint of spring weather make you start daydreaming about sewing pretty cotton dresses? It sure turns my mind that way. I think I’ve spent all my spare seconds for the past week mentally matching up pretty fabrics with dress patterns I’ve spotted. Like MelissaMelissa’s roses with this Vintage Vogue dress. Or StephanieA’s Prairie Flowers as this classic shirtwaist dress. I spent the weekend carefully picking apart and tracing a 1940’s era rayon dress that had seen much better days so that I could recreate it in a Spoonflower fabric. Maybe in DanielleB’s white Summer Floral, or Demigoutte’s Ditsy Kites, or Monda’s Itsy Bitsy Ditsy (4). Did I say daydreaming? Perhaps it’s a bit of an obsession.
Sadly, this obsession of mine has not so far translated into awesome garment fitting skills. Yet. But I’m working on it! In fact, I just found out that one of my very favorite retro dress sewists, Gretchen Hirsch from Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing, is offering a class on Craftsy on sewing the perfect bombshell dress. Woo-hoo!
Care to join me in a little dress obsessing? This week, we’re giving away a chance to win admission into this online class or, if dress-making is not your thing, into any other quilting or sewing class on Craftsy. Craftsy classes are taught by people who really know their stuff and best of all, the class never expires. You can take it whenever you want and as often as you want!
To enter this drawing, just leave your comment on this blog post or the corresponding Facebook post. Include your Spoonflower screen name so we can track you down easily, and let us know which class you’re interested in. Good luck and happy pre-spring sewing, y’all!
Designs from top left: "Beetle Dots" by Hamburgerliebe; "Apple trio green" by Aliceapple; "Pink flower,apple,mushroom" by Bora;"Apples orange" by Heidi Kenney; "Apple Prints" by Weavingmajor; "Apple Jacks" by Cynthia Frenette;"Poison Apple" by Shirayukin; "Apples" by Natalie; "Golden Apples" by Simplysweet
On my coziness agenda this weekend: figuring out tasty ways to use up the roughly 30 pounds of apples that Stephen and the kids and I recently picked at a farm in Western N.C. Apple butter is definitely on my list, and apple-printed fabric jar toppers would dress them up nicely for gift-giving, I think. Happy fall weekend, Northern Hemisphere peeps–I hope all of you out there have coziness agendas of your own that you're working on!