A couple years ago, I thought I wanted to be a fabric designer. I thought I might have a chance at having my art licensed. I have seen many artists take this route and so I decided I had better figure out how to build a pattern repeat. Most of my surface design is rather random and doesn't repeat. It is printed or painted by hand and when you are designing that kind of fabric, there is no need for motifs to be ordered and repeat exactly.
If I was going to design fabric, I knew I was going to have to learn how to properly make a pattern repeat. I decided to teach myself fabric design using Adobe Illustrator - part of Adobe's Creative Suite. I have worked in Illustrator for years, but mostly for drawing charts for my knitting patterns and books and schematics. I knew that Illustrator worked with "vectors" which means that any design you draw can be increased in size a million times and the different bits and pieces would not become pixelated. If I were to design in Photoshop or simply scan an illustration, when it was blown up, there would be the chance of pixelation.
I spent about 3 weeks, off and on, teaching myself how to design repeats in Illustrator. There was a steep learning curve and lots of frustration but I wanted to conquer it. I used this book and this book and this video. And then I uploaded the designs to Spoonflower, the digital fabric printing website. I ordered some 8 x 8" samples of my fabric designs and once I was sure that the fabric was the color I wanted them to be, I got a couple of the designs printed. I used them for projects in my book Crafting a Colorful Home. You can see and order my fabric designs on Spoonflower here. If you do, I will get a commission of 10% of the fabric sale as a credit towards my own fabric purchase. These are some fabrics that I had printed of my own design. I made them into Tea Towels to sell at our recent Open House.
This fall a new book was published by STC/Melanie Falick Books called The Spoonflower Handbook. Boy, I wish this book was out when began teaching myself fabric design. It would have been the perfect starting point. I got a review copy of it and thought it would be a great time to share it with all of you. I know that many of you are interested in fabric and that after the holidays are over, you might spend time sewing. Maybe you might like to try your hand at fabric design too.
The Spoonflower Handbook was written by Becka Rahn, Judi Ketteler, and Spoonflower founder Stephen Fraser. It is meant to be a beginner primer for those new to fabric design. The first section of the book explains what you need to know to design your own fabric. They discuss the different fabrics they print on. Both vector and jpeg files are explained and how and where to use each one. Working with color and the Spoonflower website is also explained. And then there is a section on working with repeats.
The second part of the book gives thirty different project ideas. These ideas include how to design fabric and then sew projects out of the fabric you would design. They have some cute ideas - scanning found objects, using photo images you already have on your computer, working with type and more. These are my favorite project ideas from the book.
The Spoonflower Handbook is just the beginning for those of you interested in designing your fabric. You and I might not get rich designing our own fabric, but it is a way to have unique fabric to use in your home or wardrobe. And now Spoonflower also prints wrapping paper and removable wallpaper too.
Contest is over. The winner is Spejo on Rav. Congrats! Here's what she wrote:
I love the idea of this book. I had already set aside a drawing one of my daughters made of birch trees. I 'd love to use it for birch tree fabric, which I would use to make a set of napkins and a table runner. It would make a lovely wintery tablescape. I really hope I win the book. Thanks for all your inspiration.
Answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:
If you were to design your very own fabric, what would be the object you would make with it?
US residents only. Contest ends December 21st at 11:59 p.m. As always, please leave an easy way to get a hold of you - blogger id, email, or Rav id.