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Saturday, 14 March 2015

My Spoonflower Swatch Sampler

Spoonflower fabric sample pack...
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my mid-winter creativity with Spoonflower, the online custom fabric printing service.

Early in the process, I had ordered their "swatchbook" fabric sample pack, which is a booklet containing a piece each of the fabrics that they print on. It's really inexpensive (just a dollar for shipping) but it took forever to get to me. It was ordered on January 6, my Spoonflower account indicated that it was shipped a day later and I finally received it on the 26th... three weeks. I eventually placed the order for my own designs to be printed on combed cotton without waiting for this sample pack to arrive.

Here is what the swatchbook consists of:

Samples of 15 fabrics from basic combed cotton to eco canvas...
and a selection of wallpaper and giftwrap...

If you're interested in knowing more about the cost of these fabrics and paper products, take a look at Spoonflower's help page here; it contains a further link to detailed information about the products themselves. By the way, the fabrics and paper products have a high quality feel to them... and the idea of papering my wall with something that I've designed is more than intriguing!

Spoonflower fabric sampler
My fabric sampler arrived wrapped in tissue...
I put in my order of a sampler of my own fabrics on the evening of January 15. It eventually took a week to print and get ready for shipment; i.e., it shipped on January 22.

The confirmation stated that "We've shipped your order via a service that will deliver your package using the national postal service of your country, which typically takes between two and three weeks from the day it leaves our office here in Durham, North Carolina. A few destinations may take longer than the average, but if you have not received your fabric in four weeks, please contact us at help@spoonflower.com so that we can investigate the delay."

I was given a tracking number, but it was only good enough to tell me that the package was "in transit to carrier's US operations facility" early in the morning of January 23, nothing further. I never did get a Canada Post tracking number; the envelope just showed up in my mailbox on February 9. So all in all, while the shipping costs are reasonable ($2.00 in my case), your fabric may take a while to get to you.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised by what I received. Overall, the most helpful information I got from this sampler is that I probably made most of my designs too big. But that's an easy fix.

Spoonflower fabrics by eSheep Designs
It's kinda neat to see a whole piece of fabric printed with your own designs...

I'm glad I decided to try some designs featuring black, because while it's not the blackest black I've ever seen, it's also not the dark "whatever" that I was fearing it might be.

Sunshine Floral on Black fabric by eSheep Designs
Here is a photo of my fabric underneath the original JPG file of my design...

When I look at the actual piece of fabric — without my source file on top — I see black, which is all that matters.

The colours turned out the way I expected them to, based on the RGB guide that Spoonflower provides. I was able to extrapolate with some success, as this fabric here was specifically designed to coordinate with this piece of wax cloth. (I used a photograph of the wax cloth to get a reading on the yellow and grey values.)

Sunrays fabric by eSheep Designs

And there's no end to the creativity made possible by Spoonflower. For instance, they run weekly fabric design contests. A theme is usually involved, but this past week they ran one with a palette challenge: come up with something in coral, mint, black and white. Since that was much more up my alley, I quickly made up this chevron pattern and entered it.

Coral/Mint/B&W Chevron fabric by eSheep Designs
My entry into Spoonflower's current coral/mint/black/white contest...

I didn't place on the winners list — and didn't expect to — but on the day that the contest went live for voting, I was thrilled to discover that my entry was "favorited" by a couple of fellow designers. Cool.

I've added a link to my Spoonflower shop on my blog menu above. Take a look under "Designs Not For Sale" to see what I've been up to lately — I'm getting another set of swatches ready for proofing — and tell me what you think!


  1. I have seen others use Spoonflower too. I was always curious though how they and you designed your fabrics? Do you have some sort of graphic computer program or quilt program? Can you design fabric the old way with paper and pen, and markers or crayons? It's all so interesting. I don't have a dire need to design fabric as there is so much out there to choose from and I can always create my own fabric with fabric and paint, stencils, pens, stamps etc.But I am sure it must be a thrill to see your design come to like on fabric and then to make something that is all your own, including the fabric design! Meanwhile, I need to use up the tons of fabrics I have purchased over the decades.

    1. Oh, you have anticipated a future blog post... I have plans to show how I designed a couple of my fabrics. And yes, while you can START with old fashioned pen/pencil and paper, it ultimately has to go onto the computer to finish, even though the actual tools you can use need not be as elaborate as you might think. It's a welcome extension of the creative process for me, but I've always admired those who - like you - can do "customizations" the old fashioned way with stencils and stamps and such... those are truly unique!

  2. I really like your city scape fabric Rochelle. I've known of Spoonflower for a long time and they are actually located pretty close to me as I recall someone saying (they are in NC, USA right?). I keep saying I am going to go there and design am antic or two (I do a lot of sewing for animal rescue and Olde English Sheep Dog fabric is VERY hard to find!), as well as Boxer fabric. I Really need to get off my duff and just head on over there and try it out.

    1. For some reason, your comments keep ending up in my spam folder...! Anyway, what you propose is interesting. I wonder what would happen if you were just to show up at their "doorstep" saying, "I want to create some fabric!"


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