Spoonflower is an on-demand fabric printing website, which offers a huge variety of designs from independend artists and designers.
If you are just starting out and want to get the 5 most important tips on using Spoonflower as a designer or as a sewist ordering, make sure to read on.
Make sure you are not makeing any of those mistakes, because they will save you money and nerves!
Let’s see, I ordered five different fabric types from Spoonflower again.
And on top of that I also want to share some of my usage ideas with you!
Linen Cotton Canvas
Number one is Linen Cotton Canvas, which I really prefer for all kind of bags, because the fabric is quite sturdy and I don’t need to add extra stiff lining to the inside. So the bags hold their shape really well.
Lately I also tried them out for dish cloths and they soak the water up really well. They work amazing, which I didn’t think at first, because the surface looks impregnated and waterproof. But that’s not the case. I even gifted some as Christmas presents this year (2020), because I was so happy with the result. That’s why I ordered a bunch of different patterns for Linen Cotton Canvas so I can do more amazing stuff with it.
Petal Signature Cotton
The other fabric I ordered is Petal Signature Cotton, which is a light weight cotton with a smoother surface than Linen Cotton Canvas. It’s one of the lesser vibrant fabrics in Spoonflowers catalogue, I have to say. It still works well, but you have to take this into consideration. Especially if you have a really dark motif that you want to get printed, because the darks get lifted a lot. Not during washing, but just the result in general. This is just something to be aware of.
TIP #1 – Swatch Samples
Which brings me to my first tip! If you want to make sure you know what you’ll be receiving before getting your fabrics printed, I’d suggest you order the fabric samples from Spoonflower as a starter kit.
They recently even changed and improved the design:
They changed the design to different colour swatches AND they are the same on every piece of fabric sample. So you know exactly how the result will differ on different kind of fabrics. I didn’t have their sample pack in the beginning, which was stupid. Because, to be honest, it’s a life saver and also a money saver. If you don’t know what you are getting, it’s really hard to know what to order. And sometimes it’s also overwhelming when you start a new project and you don’t know what kind of fabric would suit it. To decide if this is the right fabric for your use, just by their homepage alone, is almost impossible. So make sure you order the sample pack, because you can touch it, you can look at it and you can even see how the print turns out on the other side. Because some of them print through to the left side. Which is great for scarfs. And some fabrics don’t bleed through. Depending on the use you are going for there’s just different things to consider. So that pack is really doing a lot for the amount of money you pay.
Modern Jersey | Cotton Spandex Jersey
The next fabric I ordered is Modern Jersey for headbands and stuff like that. I’ve also ordered their other fabric. It’s called Spandex Jersey. The biggest difference is the sheen.
The Modern Jersey has a cool surface when you touch it. It’s very smooth and a little bit shiny. Not glossy, but shiny. And it looks really high quality, because the colours come out really nicely and saturated.
The Spandex Jersey, in comparison has a warm feel, when you touch it. I ordered it, because I’m going to make some hats for my boyfriend’s nephews. To me, the Modern Jersey was too cool for that. The Spandex Jersey is not as smooth though, but it has a warm feel to it. In comparison to the Modern Jersey, which has a cool feel to it.
If you are looking for vibrant colours, you might want to go with the Modern Jersey though, as the Spandex Jersey doesn’t have that saturated finish. Especially with dark colours.
And the last fabric I ordered is called Minky, which I want to make new baby blankets out of, because they have a really cosy feel to it. Just be sure to know what you are getting, because only one side is really fluffy. And the other side is really smooth and cool. If you want that awesome fluffiness on the inside and the outside, you want to make sure to order double the amount of fabric and sew both pieces on top of each other (left on left side), so you get the awesome fluffieness on both sides. Normally, when you get a blanket, you want the nice pattern to be on the outside to show it off. But then you have the cooler side on the inside touching your body. Just to be aware of that, if you don’t order double.
Differences in Colour & Texture between different fabric types
I ordered one print on three different kind of fabrics. Once on Linen Cotton Canvas, which has kind of a rough surface. If you have a very small and detailed motif with a lot of texture, you might lose some of it when printed.
The difference between Linen Cotton Canvas and Petal Signature Cotton isn’t too bad.
But with Modern Jersey you can see quite the difference, because the colours turn out very saturated and rich.
I use the same file for all fabric types, but they still turn out differently.
And that’s why I suggest ordering their fabric sample pack to be sure what you are getting is what you are expecting. Because if you order a lot of fabric it can get pricey. Especially if you don’t get what you are actually looking for.
TIP #2 – Asking the Designer for Changes
If you want to order from Spoonflower and you really like a design, but it’s not in the scale you need, you can contact the designer, send them a message and ask, if they would consider uploading a different scale of the pattern.
I’ve been contacted once before. It’s not a big deal at all to ask.
You shouldn’t be under much pressure, time-wise, because the process for a designer to upload a design takes a bit of time. First they have to upload the design and then order a swatch, which needs to be manufactured and shipped to their address. Then they can proof the design and offer it for sale. So this takes a little while until you can order it. But otherwise it’s no problem and I think many designers out there would be more than happy to do this.
This is also a possibility if you’d like a different colourway. But I’m not sure how many designers would actually do that, because it’s much more work. Changing the colours, especially, if it’s like a complex pattern, will take much more time.
I’d suggest you try and write them a nice message. But please don’t be disappointed if the designer declines.
TIP #3 – Pattern Orientation & Stretch
The Modern Jersey has a really nice stretch to it. Especially in one direction. So you want to make sure you order the pattern the right way, if you need the pattern to stretch a certain way. Here the swatches come in handy again, because you can touch the sample and try it out first hand.
TIP #4 – Splitting your yard/meter
Sometimes you don’t need a full meter of one pattern for your project. Rather than wasting fabric and money, Spoonflower offers different kind of options to add more than one motif to a meter/yard.
TIP #5 – Proofing your designs
If you are a designer and want to proof many designs at once and keep the costs down, ordering a Fill-A-Yard is your best option. Otherwise you’d have to order a meter or fat quarter as a sample, which gets pricey really quickly, if you have a lot of them. So I think it’s awesome that Spoonflower has the option of ordering this way.
You can get 42 designs on one meter or 48 designs on two meters. But you can see all their options on their website anyway, so it’s really easy.
When putting together a Fill-A-Yard project you have to add all relevant designs to a collection first. Then you see a rastered grid on the left-hand side. On the right side you see all the motifs from your collection. Now you just have to simply select a pattern and click on as many squares as you like to fill them up.
This way you get a fake quilt. You could even use this as a whole for a project, if you don’t want to sew the quilt pieces together, to get the illusion of a quilt. If you add one motif to more than one square and they are beside each other, the pattern will continue seamlessly. This can be great if you want to order more than one pattern, but Spoonflower doesn’t offer a ready-made template for it.
This is how I order samples for myself, because you get small pieces. You see the print, you see the quality and you can see if there are any mistakes within your pattern repeat. This way you can change and improve it before making it available for sale. After proofing, Spoonflower will let you set your designs for sale.
If you'd like to shop any of my designs seen above (and many more), you can do so here:
If you have any more questions about Spoonflower, designing or ordering, please leave a comment below and I’m sure to get back to you as soon as possible.
See you soon.