This week, Right Sides Together is celebrating the fabric design website Spoonflower. Spoonflower is an awesome marketplace for designers looking to sell their prints on fabric and wallpaper, sewists and crafters looking to buy those prints, and people wanting to design and print their own. Each day, we’ll look at a different way that Spoonflower offers fresh, modern design to makers everywhere — all followed up with a giveaway on Friday!
Designing and drawing your own repeat pattern can seem like a mesmerizing and intimidating task, but don’t let it scare you! You do not need any sophisticated Photoshop skills; a pencil and paper plus a couple of quilty tools are all you really need to get started.
You will need a ruler, tape, rotary cutter, and marking tool of your choice. Your sheet of paper should be 8″ x 8″.
I love to start off sketches with a mechanical pencil because they make a fine line and are easy to erase. The sky is the limit, though. You can use stickers, rubber stamps or your kid’s crayons! 8″ x 8″ paper is a good size to start with because it is a easy workable size, perfect for swatches, and fits nicely into Spoonflower’s online software.
On your paper, begin to doodle, draw, paint, make whatever marks you want printed on your fabric. You do not have to center your artwork but do not let it go off of the edge of your paper.(Yes, this drawing does look like something I doodled in the back of my Trapper Keeper in middle school but we are having fun here, let’s just roll with it!)
Using your rotary cutter, cut down the center of your paper, vertically, just like you would if you were cutting fabric.
Switch to two pieces so the left is on the right, and the right is on the left. Tape them back together.
Cut horizontally this time. Switch the two pieces so the top is on the bottom, and the bottom is on the top. Tape them back together.
After they are taped together, fill in your paper with whatever other designs or marks you wish to include.
You now have a repeating pattern that you can scan and upload into Spoonflower! Your design will match up like a perfect puzzle piece if you put it in a standard repeat. You can check your work by making copies in your printer and taping them together to see if you will like the finished result!
Spoonflower has a great FAQ page to answer all of your questions about dpi (resolution/dots per inch) and all the computer techie stuff.
A fabulous book resource for creating a repeat pattern (with information on Photoshop) is Heather Ross Prints. Not only does it have instructions for pattern design in easy, doable steps, but it also has projects for printable fabric and a CD full of her artwork if you don’t want to re-invent the wheel!
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