Posted on

Fabric Design – Opening doors to possibilities

Stacey Sansom Designs Mood Board Wednesday

Finding boyish fabrics is not always the easiest task and I only have boys. My children are all boys and pink and flowers just do not do it when I go to make a quilt. Sure I could certainly include pink and they would be just fine with that but they do not do flowers. They want boy things. Oh and they are not into sports and things like that so that makes it even more challenging. I just want simple fabrics that do not scream girl. Those are not always the easiest to find. Even the tone on tone fabrics are often floral prints or something of that nature. There are truly limited options for boys, thus my fabric design idea.

There had to be a compromise. There had to be some in between.

I have had a desire to design my own fabrics for a while now. I have been researching for a couple of years now how to design fabrics. The process is not 100% simple one, but the actual design itself is honestly not that hard. I have that.

It is often coming up with the ideas that is not always that easy.

Fabric Design and Design Skills

I am a person that has the gift – the ability – to be able to stand at a rack of fabrics and just look at them and see the possibilities of all those fabrics. I can fairly quickly pick 5-10 of them and decide that they go together and decide that it would make a pretty quilt. I just have that ability to look at the patterns and colors and visualize them together. Feel them together. See them together. Know that they go together.

I have found that turning that innate ability to visualize existing designs as a whole does not always equate to being able to design them as pieces of the whole. That has been a bit more challenging to me.

Getting Started in Fabric Design

Next came the step of how to get started. I mean, fabric printers do not just stumble upon dreams. Well, maybe they do – sometimes. The rest of the time you have to put it out there and hope you get discovered. You have to make a name for yourself. The thinking is that I am going to have to get my name out there on some fabric and see how it takes. I had to get my fabric designs out there for everyone to see.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Only a few problems:

I needed to find a way to print all the fabric designs I had.

  • I was able to come up with a lot of designs for a single collection that I did not necessarily want to break up.
  • Most small order printers wanted proofing all fabrics before making fabrics available for sell and proofing gets very expensive, especially as you are starting out.
  • Going with larger fabric mills required a minimum number of yards for minimum first run and purchase but would ultimately yield cheaper yardage.
  • Going with a larger fabric mill would largely make me more responsible for distribution chains and sales.
  • Reputation and quality of fabrics at the prices per yard that would be charged. I do not pay even a fraction of that normally so why would others?
  • Perfecting the repeating patterns on both small and large scale. Those are so much fun.

It was a lot to take in. It was a lot to work on and research. I kept those initial designs in my pocket. I was not giving up. I was just feeling that it was not the right time and it was just going to take more research and patience.

I even had a client that asked me to design some fabrics for her. Our styles did not mesh at all. My design style did not match her vision – at all. I eventually had to cut her loose as she complained about every single design I made for her. None of her designs ever made it to a fabric printer, at least none of the designs I made for her. I hope that she got those designs created from another designer. I wished her well. She was just going to need someone with another style that I did not have.

I just continued to wait and read up about the process every couple of months or so. I did not make it my focus. I just kept it there in the back of my mind. I wanted to see if there was anything new I needed to be aware of.

Life happens. Crazy things sometimes have to happen in life to help us jump a little higher.

Fabric Design and a Leap of Faith

Last week, I finally took that leap of faith.

In my research, I found a printer here locally in the Dallas area that is about the average cost I was finding other places that does custom fabric printing. They do not require proofing on all fabrics before you put them out for public sale. They simply require you fill out all the paperwork and upload the designs. They request that you purchase their design tools and proof the fabrics, but it is not required.

I am pleased to announced that my design tools are on their way! They should be here in a couple of days. I am giddy with anticipation.

Since I had already previously purchased a previous digital printer’s color palette, as I had planned on using them initially, I am pretty confident that the colors will be fine or even close enough when printed. I chose to change to the local printer as the previously selected printer required proofing of all fabrics before releasing for public sale.

Fabric Design Proof and Progress

My plan is to proof the fabrics by purchasing each fabric to create something with them over the next few months. The yardage is not cheap. You all are going to help me pick which ones I am using first.

Later today, I will make a post actually announcing the results of this crazy fabric design idea. I will be introducing the fabric line and introducing it to the world. That post will include a link directly to the store on where you can have the fabric printed for your own use. You read that right, you can get the designs printed on a variety of different fabrics.