New Year's Eve seems like the perfect time to celebrate dragons and other mystical beasties, so before you pop the champagne this evening be sure to vote for your favorite fabric designs in this, our mythical-beast-themed fabric of the week contest.
We had 40 designers submit their work and, while you can visit the voting page only once, while you are there you can vote for all the designs you like.
The poll closes on Tuesday, January 5. Good luck to the designers!
We're not giving you much lead time on either of these (pressure kicks your creativity into high gear, right!), but we've got two new themes for the Fabric Of the Week contest ready to go. The first is another color-restricted theme, and the other is something new for us -- a spin on a traditional textile design form called a toile.Birds: Using the specified palette [download as an aco file or Download as an HTML file], create a fabric design using birds as the design motif. Deadline is Monday, January 4, 2009, at noon EST. The entry form is HERE.
Toile de Jouy: A toile is an 18th-century French style of textile design consisting of "a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene, generally of a pastoral theme such as (for example) a couple having a picnic by a lake. Toiles also often consist of an arrangement of flowers." [Wikipedia] These designs usually use a very restricted color palette -- white or off-white background and a foreground using a single, dark color such as black, dark red, blue, green, brown or magenta. Deadline is Monday, January 11, 2009, at noon EST. For examples, Google is always handy. The entry form is HERE.
Full rules and Q&A for our contests can be found here.
This week's fabric of the week theme is fabric designs using cartoons. Up until Tuesday, Dec. 29th, you can vote for your favorite designs HERE. We'll announce the winners next week. Merry Christmas!
Participating designers this week are:
UPCOMING - Mythical Beasts: Dec 28 Entry forms & details: HERE
Kate Martinez Hot Air Balloons, Pink & Orange
Phyllis Harris Kitten
Susan Faye BIRD BRAIN No. 5...Twins In the Tulips6
Moira Fogarty SMOOlolz
Linda Tieu Little Monkey
Anda Corrie Three Friends
Wendy C Allen Pink Chesie The Cheshire Cat
StudioFibonacci Cartoon Japanese Countryside
Jessee Maloney Monsters On the Loose - Girl
Nalo Hopkinson Circus
Connie Kaiser roboband2
karen cox Wobniar The Rainbow Dragon
Sylvia Ion Fat Tuesday Cartoon Contest
Katie Bailey Smile Bears
Tessa Roberts Blue Monster
JamJax Chris 001
Kitty Pink img058
Kim Niles Tennis Pro Poms
Sara Norwood moo moo
Amanda Kastner Bouncing Baby
Tara Crowley Sunbonnet Sue Star Hearts
Danielle Hanson children cartoon fabric
Cynthia Frenette La petite cartoon
Lesli Pepper A Snail's Life
virginia kitty cat fabric1
Elizabeth McKenzie peace is a balancing act
Congratulations to Annelie Hervi! She won our children's clothing pattern contest with a terrific shirt design she put together using Inkscape, a free vector art program (with a bit of help drafting the pattern in AutoCAD). Originally from Sweden, Annelie now lives in Washington State and her blog is Craft and Cackle. The photo above is of her pattern on our 100% organic cotton knit.
What a terrific bunch of entries! If you missed the voting last week, be sure to take a look through the links below. The challenge was to design a clothing pattern that fit entirely onto a single yard of fabric, instructions and all. The entries were quite inspiring.
Voting totals were:
Sylvia Ion www.spoonflower.com/explore/
Linn Bodur www.spoonflower.com/
jo ebisujima www.spoonflower.com/
danielle Hanson www.spoonflower.com/
Victoria Lasher www.spoonflower.com/
dorottya biborné veres www.spoonflower.com/
Monique Daley www.spoonflower.com/
Annelie Hervi www.spoonflower.com/
Rachel Galloway www.spoonflower.com/
Star Primm www.spoonflower.com/explore/
Amelia Reising www.spoonflower.com/
rosanna bernstein www.spoonflower.com/
Antonia Manda www.spoonflower.com/
Yes, digital textile printing is terrific for photos. Pictured here is a pillow -- a gift for a family member this Christmas -- that I put together with the help of photos from my Flickr photostream, Picnik's collage feature, and Kim's sewing talents. This pillow is made from Spoonflower's linen-cotton canvas, which makes for a nice sturdy pillow fabric, and a 16" pillow form (from Amazon).
First I set up a front panel on Picnik with 8 rows and 8 columns of photos, which at "high" quality produces a collage image exactly 2400 pixels x 2400 pixels in size. 2400 pixels conveniently prints at 16 inches using 150 dpi. [Note that the 8x8 layout is available only to Picnik premium members, but you can do the same thing in almost any image-editing program, including the basic program that probably shipped with your digital cameras.] After setting up a back panel the same way I saved both files to my hard drive.
To save a bit of time, I used Photoshop Elements to arrange the front and back panels into a single file, leaving room for a quarter-inch seam allowance on all sides (on Kim's advice). I uploaded that file to Spoonflower and ordered it on linen-cotton. Two 16" panels are slightly too large to fit onto a fat-quarter of linen cotton (27"x18"), but you can still economize by arranging several sets of pillow panels onto a single yard ($24.30). One of the advantages of using the linen-cotton canvas is that the fabric is preshrunk, so if you set up a 16" panel and wash it before sewing you'll get very little, if any, shrinkage.
Photos on fabric often turn out well, but it's important to keep a few things in mind when selecting photographic images for digital fabric-printing:
1) Start with a clear, high-resolution photo. A typical digital camera these days produces images that are 4000 x 3000 pixels or larger. You could print a 4000 pixel wide photo on Spoonflower at up to 26 inches across. Keep in mind that you can always reduce the size of an image that's too big (you'll see a size editor on the lower right of the Spoonflower fabric preview page ), but you can't make a small photo larger. Blowing up small images creates pixelation.
2) Find images with good contrast. Fabric can't hold the same level of detail that photographic paper can hold (which is why 150 dpi is our default resolution rather than 300, the resolution used by printers working with paper). Good contrast between the foreground and background is essential to make the subject of your photo clear when it is printed on the fabric. I've seen people do some lovely work with old black and white photos and postcards, for example. But if you have a lot detail that is lit the same way -- in mixed light and shadow, it probably won't print very well. In the detail photo on the left, the photo just to the right of the black & white portrait printed badly because the faces weren't well-lit and there wasn't enough contrast in the features to make them distinct.
3) Look for evenly-lit subjects. Especially if you're printing photos of people, look for subjects with good, even lighting, like the baby in the photo on the right. Textile printing systems are designed to handle one-to-one color matching very well, but don't do as well reproducing subtle gradients, which is the forte of photo printers. You can get around this issue by choosing photos that don't rely so much on gentle transitions between light and dark shades of color to reproduce well.
Lots of people write us to ask how they can learn to design their own fabric, which is sometimes a challenging question to answer. Textile design is, of course, something many people spend years studying. But if you make the question a bit simpler, there are lots of ways to create lovely designs on textiles. Many, many people have access to digital photos these days and some familiarity with doing simple edits and uploading them to web sites. Creating a photo pillow -- per the simple instructions above -- is one way. Creating fabric using a scanner and some simple objects -- leaves, for example -- is another. The best way to learn is to experiment. One of our goals at Spoonflower is to make digital textile printing easy enough, fast enough and affordable enough to make that sort of experimentation possible.
Subscribers to our weekly newsletter had a chance yesterday to enter their names for a drawing for 2-yards of free Spoonflower custom fabric. We run our drawings through Random.org (record of drawing here) and thanks to their service we have the pleasure of announcing this week's five winners:
We'll email all of the individual winners with details. If you're not a subscriber to our weekly newsletter and would like to participate in this sort of thing in the future, you can sign up below. Hey... it's snowing in Mebane, North Carolina right now! Happy holidays.
Our Fabric Of the Week competition this week was so difficult that I wasn't sure we'd have more than one or two entries, but -- true to form -- in the end a whole team of designers in our community rose to the challenge. So you now have seventeen original kid's clothing patterns to choose from. Vote for as many as you like (voting closes Tuesday) and look for an announcement of the winner next week.
Thank you to the participating designers!
Reminder: To guarantee delivery of your fabric by Christmas in the domestic United States using our standard shipping, please place your order no later than today (December 14). The holiday deadline for International orders has already passed.
In either case -- domestic or International -- you can continue to use our RUSH option through the end of the week and expect delivery by December 24.
New fabric design contest themes:
For those already working on something, keep in mind that the deadline for our 1-yard Children's Clothing Pattern contest is Monday, 12/14/2009 at noon EST: Entry form can be found on the contest page linked below.
The general rules for our contests are here.
Those of you who subscribe to our weekly newsletter had the opportunity yesterday to enter your name for a drawing for 2-yards of free Spoonflower custom fabric. We just completed the drawing (courtesy of Random.org: record of drawing here) and congratulations go out to our five winners:
We'll email all of the above individuals with details. If you're not a subscriber to our weekly newsletter and would like to participate in this sort of thing in the future, you can sign up below. Happy holidays, everyone!
For any of you who would like to create your own tea-towel calendar and who lack either the time or expertise to make one from scratch, here is a calendar template you can download and use with one of your own design images. Click to download the full-size version. [also: Download htm file (editable in Word) or download a rasterized Photoshop file]
By way of an example, below is a fun calendar I made using photos of contest fabrics as a background (compiled using the 'collage' feature of Picnik), and inserting a semi-transparent layer between the calendar text and the photos. I wouldn't offer this to anyone else, of course, without securing permission from the designers of the various pictured fabrics, but it's a fun idea.
Congratulations to Deborah Mote of Middleburg, PA! Her Celestial Stars design won Fabric of the Week for the world's first digital fabric design competition based entirely on artwork that originates in a non-digital medium. The competition, as usual, was inspiring.
Final voting tallies were:
Thanks to all the participating designers!
We'll post a list of upcoming design themes and deadlines later today.
Big news: Spoonflower is very pleased to introduce linen-cotton canvas, a really lovely blend of 55% linen and 45% combed cotton.
This is a lightweight canvas, about 5.5 oz per square yard, so durable enough for pillows and bags but also great for making apparel. $27 pr/yd is the regular price, but if you are a designer purchasing your own designs it's only $24.30 pr/yd.
One note: The cloth is natural white, but after we heat it (post-printing) it turns a slightly cream color. When washed, however, the cream comes back to white. [more photos here]
Deadline for entering our upcoming Childrens' Clothing Themed Fabric of the Week contest is Monday, December 14th at noon EST. Entry form is here.
We'll post answers to any other questions that come up in this thread.
It's Friday -- not just any Friday but a Friday in the middle of the holiday season, which means that in all likelihood you are extra worn out. You need a chance to win some free Spoonflower fabric!
--ENTRY FORM IS CLOSED - announcing winners shortly---And the winners are:
If you order before noon EST, your fabric will ship the next day. You can read all about it on our Rush shipping page.