One of my primary activities in August was trying my hand at designing fabrics.
Earlier this year I was completely mesmerized watching the How to Design Fabric Work-Along on CreativeBug.com. This comprehensive work-along features Lizzy House, Heather Ross and Denyse Schmidt. Each of these well know designers of modern fabrics shares their skill and some of the techniques they use to create fabric lines. It is totally amazing.
Even if you never plan to do any surface designing yourself, most quilters will be fascinated just watching Chapter 5 of the Work-along. In this chapter, the 3 designers talk about how they create a commercial fabric line. It is really interesting.
So after watching this fabric design work-along a couple times I decided I had to try it myself! Spoonflower.com makes printing your own designs totally doable. It is possible to order as little as an 8" swatch or a fat quarter, or multiple yards of fabric. And they have so many types of fabrics they can print--from Kona® cotton to canvas and knits.
To try to understand how to create a workable repeat in the fabric I drew out a design and followed along with Lizzie House's directions for creating repeats by hand. I learned a lot but since I wasn't going to hand print fabric I decided to try Photoshop.
Adobe's Photoshop is a fairly intuitive program. It has a lot of elements which are similar to drawing on by hand. I spent several days watching an intro course on Lynda.com. I was quite overwhelmed on that first day watching the training videos. But by day three I was able to start using the program to create and manipulate scanned designs. Thanks to the segment by Heather Ross on making repeats I was able to do my own repeats. It wasn't easy at first, but with each new design I began to understand how to create artwork than easily could be placed into repeats. And I learned how to work in Layers in Photoshop to correct problems in the JPEGs of my artwork that Spoonflower. com uses to print the fabric.
In all, between the designing and getting printed swatches to check for color and problems with the repeats, it took me most of August to create a small line of 5 fabrics which I call "Dogs at the Farmer's Market." But I had so much fun and learned so much! And it is such a thrill when the printed fabric arrives from Spoonflower.com!
For those of you interested in trying to design your own fabrics, on September 1, 2015, Spoonflower.com released The Spoonflower Handbook which is a guidebook to designing and printing surface designs. It's a great resource. I wish it had been available when I started working with my designs.
At the top of this post is a photo of the "mother print" which is the focus fabric of my "Dogs a the Farmer's Market" fabric collection. And here are the coordinating prints which go with it.
In my next post Thursday this week, I'll show you a baby size quilt that can be fussy cut using just 1 single fat quarter of each print in this collection and pieced with coordinating Kona® Cotton Solids.