…printing your own artfully designed fabric labels to go inside the gorgeous items you have made with your artfully designed custom fabric! You could size them however big or small you wanted, include washing instructions, a website address, anything! I’ll bet quite a few would fit onto a yard, and a rotary cutter would make short work of cutting them apart. How to finish edges, though–hmmm….
So I have to admit here that I’m not the most tech savvy girl around. As a sewist–not to be confused with a sewer, right?–I love the idea of designing my own fabric but am intimidated by the prospect of learning my way around Photoshop and Illustrator software. This is why I was intrigued when Marcy at Oonaballoona sent me a photo and told me about her method of creating the fabric she wanted. Here is her canvas,
along with an explanation of her process:
The canvas (which is huge… 5 by 5 feet) had been painted over many, many
times in a vain attempt to come up with something I liked. My husband
liked the 10th attempt so much he wouldn’t let me paint over it, but as I couldn’t stand to look at it, I decided covering it in fabric would
keep us both happy. I actually wanted a
specific piece of Ikea fabric with a sort of organic cityscape on it,
but when I got there I found it had been discontinued. I couldn’t find
another ready made scene that I liked, so I decided to create my own.
I picked a few patterns I liked (one form Ikea, one from Urban Outfitters) dug through the scrap bin and came up with my treehouse scene. I
started by putting the background together, then did a freehand of the birds
& branches on velvet & leather. I quilted the freehand shapes
onto the background with my trusty featherweight 221 (handled the
entire job with just a regular foot, LOVE that machine), and with my
heavy duty staple gun secured it to the canvas.
Marcy says she’d like to do more of these and condense them down into a smaller repeating pattern–with copyright-free background fabrics, of course!
And in Spoonflower news:
We ran our first sample fabric yesterday using a dear reader’s design. I’ll post photos soon. It looks fabulous. Over the next few weeks we’ll be running more samples, so if you have requests please email me.
About 6 months ago or so, I had the privilege of attending a lecture given by Kaffe Fassett, sponsored by our wonderful local quilt shop, Thimble Pleasures. I remember a lot of gorgeous slides of some of his quilts and knitting projects, and I also remember a question someone asked from the audience. The question was, "Where do you find inspiration?" He sort of chuckled and said, "Everywhere! Just look around you at all the color combinations that pop up in the world!" (I’m paraphrasing here.) To illustrate his point, his next slide was of an enormous pile of colored grain sacks at a railroad depot in Portugal (or some random place like that). They were all chalky pinks, reds, blues, greens, and yellows–a really beautiful pile of just grain sacks!
So sort of in the same spirit, I recommend taking a look at the little floral vignettes that illustrator and children’s author, Jeremy Tankard has his little animal guys living among. I can’t stop looking at them in my copy of Grumpy Bird. And imagining how I might take pencil and watercolors to paper and try something similar applied to cotton one of these days….
I’ve been stewing for the past week about fabric design, as in how the heck do I come up with my own? I definitely know what I like, but there are just so many ways to go when I consider the prospect of making up something from scratch. I have a good friend who’s been running a vintage thrift shop here in Chapel Hill, Time After TIme, for the last 30 years. When I told her about Spoonflower, she told me about a customer of hers, a fabric designer, who used to come in every few months or so to buy up enormous stacks of ’30’s era print dresses. The condition of the dress didn’t matter–holes, tears, and armpit stains were all fine. This customer was buying them to copy their prints. Huh. Research on the whole issue of vintage print copyright has led me to understand that this is a pretty common practice. Amy Butler did it, right?
I do love me some vintage prints and, as friend to someone who can give me access to LOTS of them, I could have all the inspiration I needed pretty easily. But is this a legitimate thing to do? I still can’t decide…
While we work on building the web site I thought it might be fun to set up a gallery on the photo-sharing site Flickr where folks following our progress can upload some of the images they would like to print on Spoonflower once we’re live. A Flickr gallery gives us a chance to share designs, but it will also provide a pool of images we can draw from as we print sample fabric.
If we decide to pull your design from the Flickr pool to print as a sample, I’ll email you first to ask your permission. I’ll also send you a swatch so you can see
how it looked.
You can visit the Flickr gallery for Spoonflower here. If you’re already a member of Flickr it’s quite easy to add an image to the pool. If you’re not on Flickr already, it’s free to join.
(For tips on preparing images for upload, see my previous post here.)
Lately, I’ve found myself utterly smitten with Japanese fabrics, especially the nature and children’s prints I’m seeing on sites like reprodepot and Purlsoho. Sooooo tempting, though starting prices at around $18 per yard mean this stuff is not an entirely guilt-free splurge. Still, I love the interesting color ways, the dainty but sophisticated florals, the interpretation of natural motifs…
Imagine my delight at discovering that there are also Japanese children’s sewing pattern books available on Etsy! I picked up a few recently from Lemon Squeezey and Chocolate Swirl and have been obsessing over the beautiful photos inside. The patterns do seem special to me, though the ladies at my local sewing shop laughed at me for trying to slog through instructions written in Japanese. “What’s wrong with Simplicity?” they demanded. Nothing, of course. But the diagrams are generally very clear, the books are lovely, and with 20 inspiring patterns in each one, isn’t this a better way to go, centimeter conversion and all? I think so.
Okay, I know this is utterly unrelated to surface design, but how cool is this fabric play pod?
And as the mother of three girls who can spend a whole happy day playing with a large box, why didn’t I think of it first? According to Small magazine, this pod–actually called Squareplay by it’s designers at Slovenian Oloop Design–will be available later this year for purchase. I, for one, can’t wait!
It’s an overcast day in Chapel Hill today and the ground is soggy from the past 24 hours of steady rain. This makes me sluggish and lazy. So here I am on the floor, sipping tea in my pajamas and cruising around online and I find All Over Print, which perfectly suits my mood. Ayelet Iontef is a fabric designer and her blog is a visual feast, just loaded with photos of luscious textiles and faraway places.
Ayelet has posted today about the traditional Indian art of block-printing fabric. I have seen these intricately hand-carved blocks in–of all places–our local gourmet foods market lately where they’re used to adorn a high-end tea counter. (Wonder if they’d sell them….) Click here to view a slide show of the entire block-printing process, starting with a chunk of wood and a roll of plain cotton.
Sometimes, a design looks better when there’s more of it. But if you have the perfect design, is it possible to repeat the image to make a pattern? You’re in luck. It’s definitely possible, and we’ll show you the way. Here’s a relatively simple technique for using Photoshop to create a repeat without requiring a textile design plugin. The steps are taken from an online column by Frederick Chipkin, the author of Adobe Photoshop for Textile Design. Note: This is to create a pattern with a tiled effect. Unless you’re using an image with a borderless white background (like mine), the image won’t necessarily match up along the edges (a seamless repeat). If you’re looking to create a seamless repeat, check out this tutorial for making seamless repeats using Photoshop Elements, or this tutorial for repeats with Picmonkey.
1. Starting in Photoshop, open the image you want to be the basis of your repeat, then modify the canvas (in the top bar, click ‘image’ then ‘Canvas Size’ to reflect the size of the fabric you want to print (35″x35″ for example). This should create a white area around your image.
2. Using the rectangular Marquee tool, select the area for your pattern repeat.
3. In the Edit menu, drag down to choose “Define pattern.” In the dialog box, name your pattern and click ‘OK.’
4. Deselect the Marquee (‘Select menu’ -> ‘Deselect’ or on a Mac, hold ‘control’ and click the area).
5. Go to the Edit menu and drag down to ‘Fill.’ In the Fill dialog box, next to ‘Use” choose “Pattern.” You can now choose your selected image as a custom pattern. Click OK.
6. The area of your canvas around the original image should now be filled with your pattern. Congratulations! You have successfully repeated an image to make a pattern. Now, head to Spoonflower, upload your design, and create something beautiful!
As noted above, the new image might not ‘match up’ on the right/left and top/bottom, so there is a tiling effect. If you’re looking for how create a seamless repeat, check out this tutorial using Photoshop Elements, or this tutorial using Picmonkey.