How to make your own fabric design
You have many possibilities and areas for use for your digitally designed patterns. You can use you patterns when scrapbooking, in web designs or you can have them printed on fabrics, wallpaper, mugs or ipad covers. There are several businesses on the marked that print your digital files on different items. And the best thing about these fabric printing companies is that they will even print small amount of fabrics for us DIY people :)
Most of these fabric printing services have easy and comprehensible instructions on their web sites on how to do this. Here I will give you an overview of the most common principles and the challenges you can meet.
When you are designing digital patterns you are as you learn in our courses, making a design tile that can be place above, under and beside itself and create a large seamless pattern.
The different fabric printing companies have the same possibility, you can upload your basic tile in a jpg or tiff format, and the tile will be repeated in their system.
You must make sure your design has a good enough quality and resolution, and you should make sure you have control of the color output either by using color maps or ICC profiles.
Order a swatch first
The different fabric printing companies offers some of the same services, but the selection of fabric qualities are a bit different and the price range for fabrics and shipping can vary.
It is of course an advantage to use a company that offers color maps and downloadable ICC profiles. But regardless of this, it is first when you see the printed fabric for the first time, you will see the actual color result. So the absolute best thing to do when designing is to buy a swatch of your design printed on fabric or wallpaper before you order larger fabric quantities.
An overview of the different fabric printing companies
I have often used the American fabric printing company Spoonflower for printing my fabrics. Spoonflower has a large selection of fabrics to choose from, plus you can have your designs printed on wrapping paper and wallpaper.
At Spoonflower you can preview your designs, attend different design contests and you can even set up your own shop for selling your designs.
Spoonflower lets you order a small color guide and a collection of different fabric samples for $1.00 each. You can also order larger color maps with hex codes.
At Spoonflower you can order swatches of 8 inches x 8 inches (20 cm x 20 cm) of your designs for $5.00 each. Read more about this at their web page.
If you have a color map with hex codes, you can select colors you want to use in your designs. Insert the hex code from the color map into the Color Picker in Photoshop, and in this way you will have better control with the end result of this specific color printed on fabric.
The drawback of Spoonflower is of course for all people who don’t live in the U.S. Shipping overseas is more expensive and most countries require that you pay tax when importing fabrics.
So it can be a good thing to check out the other companies on the market. Some of these also offers other fabrics than Spoonflower like fleece, Lycra and different types of polyester fabrics.
Other fabric printing services
Other companies that offers a similar service are:
Fabric on Demand in the U.S.
Stoff Schmie in Germany
Artofwhere in Canada
Different requirements for the file you upload
Printing companies have many things in common but there are also some differences.
There are a few differences when it comes to what types of files they accept, but they all accept jpg and png. Most of them recommend the resolution of your designs to be 150 ppi.
There are also some differences on how large files they accept for uploading. While Spoonflower accept files up to 40 MB, Stoff-Schmie have a maximum limit of only 4 MB.
In the table below I have compared some of the companies based on information on their web pages:
|Spoonflower (US)||Fabric on Demand (US)||Art of Where(US)||Stoff-Schmie
|Max file size||40 MB||10 MB||128 MB||4 MB|
|Recommended resolution||150 ppi||150 ppi||150 ppi||250 ppi|
|Repeats (center, block, halfdrop, brick)||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Accepted files||tiff, jpg, png, gif, ai, eps, svg||jpg, tiff, png, eps, pdf, ai||png, jpg, tiff, gif, eps, ai||png, jpg|
|Fabric qualities||Ordinary cotton, interlock, cotton sateen, cotton silk, twill, linnen, voile, silk, Crepe de Chine, faux suade, sport Lycra etc.||Cotton in different qualities, fleece, Lycra, many different types of polyester fabric (microsuade, jersey, silk, satin) etc.||Different silk fabrics (chiffon, charmeuse, habotai), synthetic chiffon, bridal satin, poly-spandex performance and swimwear fabric,||Ordinary cotton, viscose, different types of jersey/ jersey mixes, cotton sateen, cotton silk, poplin, linnen, crepe de chine (polyester), polyamid/ elastane for beachwear etc.|
The main reason of showing you the table above is to give you an overview of your different options, and that you see that you have a wide selection of fabric qualities you can have your designs printed on. You can of course try out and experience some of the different printing companies. The advantage of keeping to one single printing company is of course that if you order color maps, the map will only apply to that specific printing company.