Earlier this year, we were feeling the love when we shared our Personalized Wedding Pillows for Under $10 DIY project on the blog. We received lots of excitement for this project and a handful of requests for a pillow template. The wedding bells must be ringing because today we’re excited to share four different pillow templates, ready for your customized details!
Like many creatives, I often find myself daydreaming about my next big sewing project even before my current project is complete. Whether in the car, walking my dog or even brushing my teeth, custom fabric projects are always on the brain. While on a trail run, I dreamt up my race bib running top. Most recently, while getting the mail, the lightbulb went off for custom pillows inspired by vintage envelopes.
These pillows look great on Linen Cotton Canvas, Eco Canvas and Heavy Cotton Twill, but I was excited to try Spoonflower’s newest fabric, Lightweight Cotton Twill. This lightweight fabric is both soft and durable, is easy to work with, and is a perfect addition to your couch when made into a pillow.
After reading last month's Spoonflower Handbook Master Class recap by instructor Becka Rahn, were you itching to road trip to the Spoonflower HQ? If the answer is yes, you're in luck! We are excited to announce registration is now open for the summer session of the Spoonflower Handbook Master Class on August 26-28. This workshop will be an introduction to using Photoshop for fabric design, with a specific focus on using layers and seamless textures to add depth to your designs.
Ready to get designing? Click here to reserve your spot today!
The next step is to place the patchwork blocks into your design. Open the file you worked on last week where you have prepared with the background and border.
Illustrator: Choose File -> Place. Choose one of the patchwork blocks saved on your hard drive and click Place.
Photoshop: Choose File -> Place Embedded. Choose one of the patchwork blocks saved on your hard drive and click Place.
This is the step where the rulers and grid will be very helpful. I centered the patchwork blocks in the design and left 2 inch borders between them. Click and drag the first patchwork block so that the top left corner of the block is at 8 inches (right) and 5 inches (down) from the corner of the design.
Continue placing the additional blocks in the same way, aligning them carefully with the grid markings. You should leave 2 inches between each of the blocks, both side to side and top to bottom.
Illustrator: You can click and move the blocks anytime using the Select Tool (black arrow).
Photoshop: If you need to go back and adjust the spacing on a block you have already placed, Photoshop will have put each one in its own Layer. To move those blocks, you will need to select Layer in the Layers Palette and then use the Move Tool (multi arrow).
Adjust the balance and order of the design.
I placed my blocks in “rainbow order”, starting with the purple block and continuing clockwise with each color, but I tried several variations before I liked how it all looked together. Here are some variations to think about:
- Rearrange your patchwork blocks and audition different arrangements. You might have some that are darker or lighter than the others. Just like we did when adjusting the small collages, you want to look for balance in your design.
- Add more or less negative space. Negative space is the open space around your patchwork blocks. Maybe you would like only 1 inch between your blocks. Or you might want more space between the blocks from side to side to make the outside borders even.
Save your design. Save it as the native format (.ai or .psd). This way you always have a copy you can go back to edit later. Next we will export it at the exact size we need to upload for printing.
Export for printing.
Illustrator: Choose Export. A window will pop up and you should choose a name for your file. I called mine Final. Then choose .jpg from the Format options at the bottom. Click export and one more window will pop up with JPEG options. The important one to adjust in this window is resolution, which should be set to Medium (150 ppi).
Photoshop: Choose File -> Save As… A window will pop up and you should choose a name for your file. I called mine Final. Then choose .jpg from the Format options at the bottom. Then click Save.
Optional coordinating print.
You are ready to upload and order your fabric at this point, but I want to take minute to talk about the backing and binding for your finished quilt. You can choose to use just a solid color for both the backing and binding and we will talk about how to choose that in the next lesson.
Instead of a solid, I wanted a really simple colorful print to coordinate with my quilt top, so I made a really simple gradient in the same rainbow colors.
Create a new file that is 9×9 inches (1350×1350 pixels). Choose the Gradient Fill tool. The tool often has a default setting that is a rainbow, or you can choose your own colors to match your quilt design. Click and drag to fill the canvas with the gradient. I chose to have mine fill diagonally from corner to corner. Save this as a .jpg and we will come back to it when we are uploading.
Upload your final design(s).
First upload your quilt top design to the Spoonflower website. Go to Create -> custom fabric. Find your Final.jpg design on your hard drive and upload it.
Choose 1 yard of the Organic Cotton Sateen and a centered repeat. Your design should fit exactly on one yard. Add this to your cart. If you have a gradient design to coordinate, upload that next. For this design, I chose a mirrored repeat to make the diamond shapes, but you can use any repeat you like. I am going to make the backing and binding with this print, so I will need 2 yards. Add this to your cart as well.
One last bonus to think about. Make a quilt label to personalize your quilt. Spoonflower has a great little tutorial on the website.
It will take just a week or two to get your fabric printed and shipped to you. So, in the next lesson we will talk about tools and materials you need to finish the quilt and give you a quick sewing lesson.
When your fabric arrives, we'd love to see it! Share your printed fabric using the#SpoonChallenge hashtag on your favorite social media platform!
Now that you have created your six patchwork blocks, it is time to put together the whole quilt design. You can do this using Photoshop or Illustrator (or even another graphics program you are familiar with) by following the same basic steps. Each program handles things a little differently, but you can accomplish the design with either. I prefer Illustrator for this kind of layout, but I will help you with notes for both. (Note, my screenshots and instructions are for the most current versions of Photoshop and Illustrator. If you have an older version, the same tools will be there, they just might be located in a slightly different place.)
Create your canvas.
I am going to first make a blank canvas that is exactly the size of the top of the quilt. For this design I chose one yard of sateen fabric, which is 56 x 36 inches, so I chose File -> New and set it to 56 x 36 inches at 150 dpi or 8400 x 5400 pixels.
Add the background color.
Choose a color for the background of your design. I picked a cool grey (#A09F9E) because I felt it made my rainbow blocks really pop. I like to use the Spoonflower Color Map to pick a color because I will know exactly what it looks like when it’s printed. I keep my color map folded up in the drawer of my computer desk.
Some ideas for choosing a color:
Coordinating. Think about the colors in your design and pick something that relates, like a darker or lighter shade of one of the colors in your theme. If you have all blues and greens in your design, icy blue, navy or deep green might make a great background.
Contrast. Try pairing a neutral with brights. I chose grey to make my bright rainbow patches really pop. If you have neutral colored photos (like black and whites) then you might pick a vibrant background color.
Illustrator: Draw a rectangle that fills the entire canvas and set the fill color to the color you have chosen.
Photoshop: Make a new layer and choose Edit -> Select All. Then choose your color and Edit -> Fill.
Turn on grids and rulers.
I like to turn on a couple of tools to help with layout. If you don’t already have them active, you can turn on rulers which will add measurements all along the sides of your canvas. Additionally, you can turn on grid view which will lay a grid of evenly spaced lines (like graph paper) over your image. These won’t print out or show on your final saved document, but they will help you line everything up as you are working.
Illustrator: Go to View -> Rulers -> Show Rulers. Then go to View -> Show Grid. You can adjust the spacing on the grid under Illustrator -> Preferences. I like to have lines every 1 inch.
Photoshop: Go to View -> Rulers to turn on the rulers. Go to View -> Show -> Grid to turn on the grid. You can adjust the spacing on the grid under Photoshop -> Preferences. I like to have lines every 1 inch.
Add a border.
For my design, I added a white border of small squares. This is the only step where it will matter a bit if you are using Photoshop or Illustrator; the design will be slightly different.
Illustrator: I am going to create a really simple custom brush to make the border squares design. Anywhere on the canvas, draw a small square (1.5 x 1.5 inches) using the square tool. Fill it with the same grey as your background and outline it in white. Select the square and drag it onto the brushes palette. A “New Brush” window will pop up. Choose “Pattern Brush” from the options.
“Pattern Brush Options” will then pop up where you can adjust many settings for your brush. I set the spacing to 50% and chose “Add space to fit” under the Fit section. I left everything else as the default. (If you are interested in learning more about making custom brushes, look here for a great tutorial.)
To add this border to the design, draw a new rectangle that is 51 x 31 inches and center it in the canvas. With this new rectangle selected, click on your new custom brush from the Brushes palette. It should outline the new large rectangle with a chain of squares.
Photoshop: Unfortunately, Photoshop works with custom brushes differently and it is harder to make a border like we did in Illustrator. Instead we will draw just a simple frame. Use the rectangle tool to make a rectangle that is 51 x 31 inches, centered in the canvas. Then go to Window -> Properties to adjust the fill and outline color of this shape and the thickness of the outline.
Save your file. Use the “native” file type for the program you are using. For Illustrator that is .ai and for Photoshop .psd. Usually it will default to this type. This format will save all of the layers, grids and allow us to continue to adjust the file in the next lesson. You will need a .jpg before you print the design, but you don’t want to save it that way at this step. We will add the patchwork blocks in the next lesson and get it ready to print.
- Set up your file.
- Choose a background color.
- Add the border.
Show us a screenshot. How did you choose your background color? What kind of border did you design?
We are in the era of camera phones, and almost everyone has the opportunity to snap photos at moments when it may have been impossible or inconvenient in the past. The result? Lots and lots of photos, and more sentimental memories captured than ever. If you're like me, then you want to put those extra special photos on display in some creative way. Well, pillows are one of the easiest things to sew, and they can sit in just about any room in the house (plus they make awesome gifts). Okay, let's get started!
In this design tutorial, I'll take you step-by-step through designing a pillow using your own photography.
For this project, all you'll need is a high resolution, digital version of a special photo, a photo editing program like Photoshop, and a few minutes to size it properly for uploading to Spoonflower to print.
I wanted to make a series of square pillows from some black and white photography by Damon Lapas, so I'm going to use the cropping to make this rooster photo into a square. If you want to size your pillow to a rectangle or an odd shape, that's perfectly fine!
I want this pillow to be a 15" square, so I'm going to size the image to print at that size by clicking "Image" –> "Image Size" and selecting "inches" from the drop down menus associated with height and width of the image. If the image isn't exactly 15" by 15", that's okay, but if it's off by more than 1/2", try cropping it on the longer side a bit more.
Next, make sure your image is set to 150 DPI because that's the resolution Spoonflower prints files. Then save the image as a JPEG.
Next, you'll want to have a plan for the back of your pillow, too. Do you want to print a design in the Spoonflower Marketplace for the back of the pillow, use the same photo for the back, or create your own complimentary design? Since I want to stay with the greyscale theme, I'm going to pick a nice, solid grey color.
I'd like to sew an envelope-back pillow cover, so I multiplied the length by 2 to allow for the overlap on the back plus seam allowances and finished edges. Next, adjust the file resolution to 150 DPI. No matter how you'd like to enclose your pillow, it's a good idea for the pillow insert (or pillow form) to be slightly larger than the cover so that it fills out the corners better and the pillow looks fluffier. For example, I'm sewing the pillow cover to be 15"x15", so I got a 16" pillow form. If you want to do a zipper enclosure instead, try this tutorial.
I added some photo credit text and detail at the bottom of the pillow back design, along with some seam allowance so that the text is not puckered or accidentally sewn into the seam. You may choose to write the location or year that the photo was taken, as it may provide a helpful reminder many years from now.
Once you've saved your file as a JPEG, we're going to place the two files into a new file since both the front and back of the pillow will fit on one yard, then we'll upload them together as one file. Open a new Photoshop file, name it, and set the width to 54", the height to 36", and the DPI to 150.
Next, click "File" > "Place embedded" and select one of your files.
Move the first file to one side of the canvas and click Return or Enter place it.
Repeat this step for the second file.
Now, save the new file as a JPEG and upload your new pillow design to Spoonflower. Make sure you size the design to 1 yard and center it. We would recommend printing on Eco Canvas for the most vibrant black and grey colors. We also recommend Linen-Cotton Canvas, Minky, Organic Cotton Sateen, Heavy Cotton Twill and Faux Suede for making pillows.
Once you get your Spoonflower fabric in the mail, sew the pillow cover and stuff it with the pillow form! (This tutorial in The Spoonflower Handbook called "Portrait Pillows" beginning on p100 is pretty handy.)
Show us the pillows that you create with your own photos and post your "in-progress" or finished projects on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #spoonflower and we may repost them to show off your handiwork!
Have fun and let me know how it goes!
You're feeling especially creative, so you decide to try your hand at entering one of Spoonflower's weekly design challenges. You picked the perfect theme, now it's time to start designing. All of the sudden, panic sets in. What size is best? Where do I begin? Fear not! In this post, we'll discuss how to size your designs just right for the standard fat quarter contests, swatch-sized "disty" contests, and even one-yard contests. Read on to find out how to master sizing to create a winning entry for any design challenge theme!
STANDARD CONTESTS: SIZED AT A FAT QUARTER
Most contests default to a fat quarter preview, which is what the community sees during voting. So the trick is to make sure the elements in your design will be easily recognizable from a canvas of this size. If you're using a design program such as Photoshop, it's a good idea to set the canvas (document) size to 21" x 18" which is the size of a fat quarter.
Once you upload your design to Spoonflower, the preview will default to a fat quarter view, which accurately reflects how your design will appear in the contest. If your design has lots of fine detail that you're worried won't shine through at the fat quarter scale, just click the 'bigger' button to enlarge your design until you are satisfied.
Once you're happy, go ahead and enter your design into the contest of your choice using the "Enter in Contest" option to the left of the preview.
Once you enter a contest, Spoonflower provides a preview so you know exactly what your design will look like. It's important to note that we do not recommend editing your design after submitting it, as that can cause the voting thumbnail to break. You also won't be able to upload a revision once your design has been entered so be sure the version you're submitting is the final version. If you don't like how your design looks in the entry preview, consider withdrawing it and re-entering later once you've made your modifications.
Now all you have to do is wait for voting to open, then vote! We totally won't judge you if you vote for your own design.
DITSY CONTESTS: SWATCH VIEW
In fabric design, the term ditsy doesn't mean scatterbrained. Rather, it refers to small scaled, non-directional scatter prints. The motifs in your design ideally shouldn't be larger than half an inch to an inch in scale. So for our "ditsy" contests, Spoonflower typically calls for designs to be formatted in the swatch (8" x 8") size so that those fine details you worked so hard on will not get lost.
ONE YARD CONTESTS
Occasionally, Spoonflower will throw a curve-ball with a one-yard sized contest. Often these are border print contests, but they could also be cut-and-sew contests as well. For these, you'll want to set your document size to 42" x 36." Once your design is uploaded, select the "one yard" view. The larger the preview size, the harder it is to see those details, so keep this in mind when designing.
Once you have sizing mastered, you're half way there! Always remember that the size that may be perfect in a contest, may not be the size you want to ultimately have your design at in the marketplace. Once a contest is over and the results are final, you can always adjust your design back to the size you want it to be permanently. Feeling confident? Find a contest theme that speaks to you and enter now!
Hello Bootcampers! One of the most frequently asked questions we receive here at Spoonflower is about what type of software most designers use to create their surface patterns. While the industry standard is Photoshop, we love Photoshop Elements for its user friendliness and more accessible price tag. Today's bootcamp session is a quick and dirty video showing you how to lay the foundation for a great design: setting up your file. In under two minutes, we'll cover the simple basics you need to know before mastering your Spoonflower success!
A shower curtain is the perfect gift for a friend, or yourself, that will be enjoyed year round! Read on to learn how Spoonflower crew member Eloisa created an engineered shower curtain using Silky Faille!
Looking to make a shower curtain, a mural, or any project with an image wider than the fabrics we offer? If so, this tutorial is right for you! With these instructions, we will teach you how to break up your image so we can print multiple pieces of fabrics that, when pieced together, will complete the large image. We chose to make a shower curtain, but these instructions can be easily adapted to wall murals, one-image duvet covers, etc.
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.