I suppose you are all familiar with Spoonflower. What's not to love about a company which allows you to upload your own designs and have them printed on fabric? With a minimum amount of ehh... a swatch? And allows designers to sell their prints so you can also take your pick of original creations from talented individuals (often not professional print designers) from all over the world?
Ever since I first heard about it(which was not very long after the launch of the site), I have been kind of following Spoonflower. Since then, the range of fabric you can choose from has increased massively, now also including things like sportswear fabrics (Melissa has really gone to town with that, creating coordinating prints in one yard of fabric for her work-out patterns) and organic cotton. And early complaints about the quality of the printed fabric seem to have vanished.
I've voted regularly in the weekly contests, always enjoying the mass of creativity exhibited there. However, I have never actually participated, or even ordered fabric myself.
Some other European sewers don't seem to mind, but I've always found the shipping costs from the US a bit too steep. Which I don't think is Spoonflower's fault at all. It's just a long way to ship things. Now, if they could only open up a European branch.... A girl can dream, right?
Another reason is that I'm not really a print person. I mostly sew with solids, stripes and other woven designs and often feel a bit odd if I wear something with a really clear print. But still, when I've found a proper job, I'd love to try and order something nice and custom-printed...
But creativity isn't limited by constraints of distance or money... And I thought it would be good to practice my self-taught Illustrator skills a bit more. So, I've decided to enter those Spoonflower weekly contests of which I like the theme.
Last week, I entered my first design. The theme was "neighbourhood" and designs had to be in black and white and in a hand-drawn style. Which kind of messed with my Illustrator goals. I took pictures of the view from the back balcony of my apartment, printed them, taped them together to form a panorama, put tracing paper over it and traced the outlines of the buildings and the trees, cut that up, scanned the images and then puzzled them together in Photoshop to form a single image of the size needed. And to be honest, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how I could create a proper repeat in such a haphazardly constructed thing, so it doesn't have any. Which is really bad for a print.
And yet, I'm weirdly proud of it. It's called "the world from my window" and has received 'favorites' and even a very nice comment (I didn't even know you could do either of that on Spoonflower).
My second design, which I submitted today, is for a contest with the theme "library", which doesn't have restrictions about colours or technique. This one was made in Illustrator, using a photograph I took at my local library. And the repeat works.
It may be a more conventional design, but I like it. A real, unmanipulated picture which has become a rather abstract print which almost has the look of a woven design. This is print I could imagine sewing with myself.
And it should be in the contest on Thurday.
P.S. I think this speaks for itself, but I'm mentioning it anyway: This is just my opinion, I'm not in any way 'motivated' to write posts like this by Spoonflower or anything else and obviously, I'm not asking you to vote for me.