Last year I designed my first surface pattern design, called Sami & Marika. I hired a very talented lady called Emilia, to turn my design into a digital drawing, which I could print onto fabric and make lots of lovely creations. You can see my Sami & Marika creations in my Flickr portfolio. After doing this design I wanted to do more designs myself but lacked the knowledge and tools. I found a site called www.colourlovers.com and within this site there is a package called Seamless Studio, which costs $29 to download. Great software for creating pattern designs, which can be sent to an US based company called Spoonflower to print onto fabric. You are limited to shapes on seamless but the combinations are endless and the software is so easy to use and a bargain price. Great for a beginner but your unable to use your own designs, which may frustrate you. You will need some software like Corel or Illustrator to enable you to do your own designing.
I am in the process of a steep learning curve using Corel and my Intuos 5 drawing tablet. It’s great to be finally doing my own digital drawings and I am looking forward to creating and sharing lots of lovely fabric designs.
I have done a lot of research into finding the best fabric printing company to print my own designs and Spoonflower is the cheapest and the quality is wonderful. I did look at companies in the Uk but found them to be very expensive. Have done a little write-up below.
US based Spoonflower (http://www.spoonflower.com/) Offer 10 premium natural fabric choices, no minimum order and prices starting from just $17.50 per yard (£11.14), you can even buy a fat quarter. You can buy swatches for $5 so you can check out how pattern looks and if you like the quality of fabric before committing to buying a larger quantity.
The shipping costs are based on weight and the international cost is around double the US shipping cost, around £2.50 a yard. Not as high as you might expect and definitely works out cheaper than getting fabric printed in the UK.
If you want to make money from your fabric designs you can upload them to the site and earn commission for each length of your fabric purchased by other site users.
You can also check out and order some amazing fabric from other designers. They have some really unique and quirky fabrics that you can’t find anywhere else on the internet.
Love these fabric samples from Spoonflower in cream aand tangerine.
The Fabric Press
UK-based The Fabric Press (http://www.thefabricpress.com/ ) offer a similar service to Spoonflower, you can order from half a meter of fabric printed with your own design. The price is £40 per metre with postage at £4.50 per delivery. They also offer a great service where you can get certain item including bags, cushions and tea towels made up in fabric of your own design. Prices start from £6 (for the tea towel purchasable in sets of 3, see image), Perfect for a unique gift. It’s good to see some of the creations using fabric designed by customers.
Another UK firm offering fabric printing online is FabPad (http://www.fabricprint.co.uk/). Their prices start at £30 a metre, although if you order over 10m discounts are available. They offer a range of fabrics and you can even pay for them to design the print for you. They offer discounted prices for students and even run summer courses in London aimed on textile design. I found this site a little difficult to find prices not for students.
Bags of Love
www.bagsoflove.co.uk – Another UK company printing customer designs onto fabric. Their prices are £39 a meter and £3.95 for delivery.
There are a lot more companies compared to a year ago providing a service for printing your fabric designs. Seems to be the in thing to do in the creative world, at the moment.
You can also purchase fabric sheets from Crafty Computer in the UK, (craftycomputer.com), which you can put through your printer. They have a range of fabric sheets from cotton to silk. The results are excellent but you do need a quality printer. Good for small projects and printing photo’s onto fabric, very effective.
(Views expressed by the author are theirs alone and do not represent the views of employer)