I might be exaggerating, but it felt as if I opened the front door about every 10 minutes to check if the package with our fabrics from spoonflower had finally arrived, starting at 1pm (the earliest time we ever got our mail at the beginning of last year…). Once the package was there, it only took mere seconds till I had it opened to finally see how the designs looked on fabric. It was so much fun to hold the fabric, drape it, and start thinking more in detail about what to sew with them. But about that I’ll probably post some time later. Right now I want to share a bit about the experience of getting to that moment of holding these unique fabrics in my hands.
How did it all start? I think fabric or surface pattern design must have been in the back of my head somewhere ever since I started with silk screen printing, and experiencing how wonderful it is to have some of your own artwork suddenly visible on fabric. One of my first books about textile printings, which I still really love is from Lotta Jansdotter “Lotta prints” (http://jansdotter.com/).
I also was often on the lookouts for patterned fabrics to sew things for myself, and sometimes I just seemed not to find exactly what I wanted. So what better way than creating my own fabric to get exactly what I want and also find another expression for my drawings! This endeavor is also one I do together with my husband, who is a graphic designer. It is quite lovely and invigorating to sit together in the evenings, trying to figure out how to best make a pattern, and what colors to use. Looking at so many of the great patterns that are out there, one might think it is easy to make a pattern – but actually it really takes some time to get the whole gestalt of a pattern to look just like you want it to.
A really great instruction in how to make patterns and use Illustrator for it is by Bonnie Christine. I am in the middle of taking her class “Introduction to Surface Pattern Design” on skillshare (https://www.skillshare.com/classes/design/Intro-to-Surface-Pattern-Design-Learn-Adobe-Illustrator-Create-Patterns/1614197409?via=similar-classes). The patterns you see here exist because of my husbands skills with Illustrator and Photoshop, my skill level in this is pretty much o.5 or so. Once I am through with the above mentioned class, I will share more about it and hopefully also about the results. A great book to learn about repeat patterns is A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight – highly recommendable!
Cosmos are amongst my favorite flowers, so when we started thinking about patterns, I sat down to make a few Cosmo drawings. Once I scanned them, and made several copies, I played around with coloring them. We did not end up using the water color hand-coloring for the final pattern, because we wanted the delicate lines of the drawing to be offset by a slightly more bold and simple coloring. I knew I wanted the blossoms on some kind of geometric background, and drew a few shapes with lines crisscrossing each other. In the end we picked one with just vertical lines, floating on a light gray background. I love these blossom bubbles. I think this fabric would be great for cushion covers. Unfortunately we have plenty of these at home, so I won’t make yet another. But will think of a way to use it for a garment.
The other two patterns are based on some watercolor dots my husband made. It is so much fun to play with color variations for these. I had them printed with Spoonflower (http://www.spoonflower.com/), because they have some really great pricing and a big variety of fabrics to choose from.
That’s it for now on my surface pattern design journey.