Fabric on demand.
I did it. I got some stuff from Spoonflower (currently Beta testing and taking orders by invitation only) which is a digital fabric printing on demand business in North Carolina (yay!!) that can print your digital file onto fabric. Whoa, right?! Okay, so I was all stoked and ordered three different prints and here are my two cents. First off, this service is just plain cool, I love the idea and the end product was pretty nice. I ordered two 1 yard pieces and a fat quarter piece.
Admittedly, these designs are not the best use of this product. One color printing on plain white fabric is not the best use of Spoonflower. But before I spent too much time designing something new I just wanted to see what it the product was like. So, it’s digital printing which means like a xerox vs. letterpress (in my head) there is nothing fabulous the printing itself or in the 100% Kona cotton fabric that is adding to the end product. This is not an inherently negative thing but in the way that I design differently for something that will be silk screened or gocco printed or letterpress printed, or printing on plain copy stock vs Rives BFK, it just means playing up what it does well. Which is color. You can print a ton of colors without having to make new screens or lining up registration. Awesome. So for me, this is process is all about color.
I will also turn to it when I want to use the fabric for something more fabulous than just yardage alone. Which you may say goes without saying. But some fabric is just plain beauty in its own right. Like this awesome screen printed fabric from Lara Cameron of Kirin & Co. (You may know her Etsy shop which is now closed as they sell exclusively through their own site.) Now that is one color beautifully hand printed on linen blend and organic hemp/cotton blend fabric. That is fabric in its own right. That’s fabric you can hang on its own or make into a simple square pillow because it’s so great.
But for me, Spoonflower will be worth it if I take the fabric to make something more fabulous like this hanging spinning Small Object which is awesome and perfect for Spoonflower! Or something I only need one of and going to the trouble of making a screen just for that one thing would be a bit crazy.
Final notes, this is quilting cotton weight so I ended up backing my fabric with interfacing. I think they will ultimately print on other fabrics however. And color matching was a bit different than I expected and there’s lots of talk of that so read up on their blog for their helpful hints on that. And finally, I didn’t understand the shipping charges, which I’m sure will be worked out after Beta testing, but for each different design, I had to place a new order so the shipping just kept adding up into kinda crazy territory. I’m sure this won’t be that way for the long haul though.