Friday, April 27, 2012

My Very First Spoonflower Order

I have had an account with Spoonflower for years, and have always wanted to order some custom fabric from them, but the time never seemed quite right, until now, and now that I've received my order, I must say I LOVE their product! It's exactly what I was hoping for, and the colors and textures from my original image have carried over into fabric beautifully.

For anybody who does not know what Spoonflower is, it's basically one of the most powerful services available to an art quilter who wants to design her own fabric. Anyone with access to a computer and even super basic image editing software can upload an image to their site and have it printed on a variety of fabrics.  The fabric is washable, and the inkjet printing leaves no "feel" on the surface, so it can be used for quilts, clothing, table cloths, whatever you can think of! 

Spoonflower order1
One yard of super bright, crisply detailed fabric.  Enough to cover a dog!
For my first order, I did not go with a repeating pattern but instead just created a yard-of-fabric sized file in Photoshop and dragged various images into it.  Spoonflower takes images that are 150 dpi and a yard of fabric is 36" by 42" - a file that big was pretty unwieldy, but it did manage to upload eventually!

The leafy photograph in the corner of the fabric is destined to be a wholecloth quilt with oil paint stick additions to bring out the quilting.

The polka dots should be useful for a variety of projects - that image I made back when I was in college, by hand-gluing a zillion 1/4" hole punches onto a piece of 8.5" by 11" card stock.  So. Much. Work, but it has continued to be useful ever since!

Spoonflower order2
Most patient dog ever. I do love to torture him.
There are many ways to make a perfectly repeating pattern to print onto fabric, and Julia Rothman has written a superlative tutorial about how you can create your repeat by hand, using paper and simple drawing tools.  Her instructions are clear and easy to follow, and her method requires only minimal computer assistance. 

Most people use either Photoshop or Illustrator to make their patterns, and the methods of doing this vary wildly.  I plan to create a tutorial about the specific way I create repeating patterns in Photoshop, so keep an eye out for that here on the blog in the next month or two. Here are two of the repeats I've created in the past few years:

Penguin fabric I designed for Thing-a-Day a few years ago.
One of my first ever patterns, drawn by hand based on Julia's instructions and colored using Photoshop.

Oh, and I just found out that there's a comparison of different custom-fabric printing services over on True Up that's way more thorough and comprehensive than my "I ordered this and it looked nice" method of judging a product.  Go check it out!


  1. I had never heard of Spoonflower before. That's so neat! I never knew anything like this existed. Opens so many possibilities! Love your fabrics!

  2. They seem like a genuinely cool company, and now that I've made a project from some of the fabric I can confirm that it is a joy to work with.


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