I’ve been teaching myself how to design textile patterns for 11 months now and have made great progress. I’m really inspired at the moment and have many sketches and shapes waiting to be turned into patterns. This latest triangle design created some problems as I’m trying to stop using white as a background and be more daring with colours. I keep referring to Tamasyn Gambell, Lotta Jansdotter and my print and pattern Pinterest board for ideas but keep coming up with the same palette again and again.
Here are my first little tests with and without a half-drop.
Thankfully I was told about Adobe Kuler, a colour scheme generator that is FREE! It looks pretty horrible with an ugly dark grey background but I tested it out by using the suggested Compound colour selection and as you can see here it worked out ok. It’s really useful as you can scroll around the colour wheel and it instantly gives you the HEX code which can be copied into your editing software.
I prefer my own colour designs for now but will use Adobe Kuler when I’m stuck for ideas.
If you are designing a pattern for textiles, the colours on your screen will look very different to the end result. This is why you should get a custom proof setup so you can see more accurately what your colours will look like when printed. I use the Spoonflower one at the moment which matches well with the company I printed my last design on.
Image with custom proof set up
You can see the difference is huge! The next challenge is to work out how to do a half-drop pattern in Photoshop. I’m currently having to do this manually which is fiddly, any advise would be most welcome.
The other day I made a silly doodle of these wheel shapes in my sketchbook. I love the simplicity of them so decided to create a repeat pattern. It took me a while to organise, first I tried arranging them at random over the page but eventually opted for the “less is more” approach and arranged them in a grid. The most difficult part of this process is getting the colours right. I’ve found that small thin shapes don’t work so well on dark backgrounds. After trying to avoid a white background I realised this is probably the best option for now. The plan is to make some more tote bags or cushions from these. I hope you like them. Do take a look at my etsy site, there will be more items added over the next few weeks.
I have a big stack of scrap paper at home with screen-printed photos and designs on them from when I did an MA in Printmaking. I couldn’t bring myself to throw these away but was desperate to put them to some use. I have an obsession for notebooks and diaries of all shapes and sizes. My favourite by far is Mark’s of Monocle diary, it’s not cheap but it’s perfect for organising your life. Also, check out Serrote, they make beautiful screen-printed notebooks.
First I created a rectangular card template and cut out a big stack of paper so they were all the same size and shape.
Then I chose which pieces I wanted for the front panels and used a typewriter to personalise the front. I bunched them together and sewed them in place in the middle.
Then I glued the last inner sheets to the front and back panel to keep it secure, keeping it flat under a heavy book for 20 mins. I’m very pleased with the results and love how all the different pages have old photocopies and sketches in them. I might even make some more soon.
Last September I discovered a website called Spoonflower that lets you upload your own textile patterns and print them onto fabric. The website is full of hints and tips on getting the best patterns and is perfect for any beginner who wants to teach themselves. The only downside is that it’s based in the U.S.A and I live in the UK. I would have to wait a month for my fabrics to arrive and then pay a hefty charge at the post office. I decided to look around at alternative digital printing companies based in the UK and came across BeFabBeCreative, who are based in Edinburgh. I ordered their fabric sample, uploaded my designs and chose to have it printed 100 x 140cm on plain cotton.
It took about a week to arrive and now I’m super excited to get started on some sewing. I’m planning on making three tote bags out of the first run but my mind is already thinking about the next design to send them and all the other possibilities such as cushions, scarves (yes they do a nice silk and satin options too), purses, rucksacks, umbrellas, the list is endless.
I’ll let you know as soon as they’re made and photographed all beautifully. Thank you BeFabBeCreative, expect some more designs soon.
Last week I received the next batch of textile designs that I have been working on. I have a selection of quite different patterns. First I decided to create a modern pattern inspired by some letters I drew last year. It’s been so much fun designing them i just can’t wait to get them made into bags and photographed properly!I also made some classic Swedish style 1960’s designs using images of coffee pots and coffee cups. I cut everything out in card and then arranged the shapes in Photoshop.
Finally I made a series of simple flower patterns. I’ve been so inspired recently and am really pleased with the results. I am now looking for some UK based digital fabric printers to make these up. Then I will be able to make some super-duper exclusive and lovely tote bags. Keep an eye out on my Etsy page for more bags. Thank you!
Whilst teaching myself how to design textile patterns I have also dusted off my sewing machine and have been making some bags of my own. I just love a good tote bag and am enjoying putting them together myself. I recently bought some beautiful fabric from Ebay and have made a few totes for my new etsy shop. These are the first of many I think.
The sun is finally out in the UK and it feels very nice indeed. I grabbed my Diana F+ and headed to the nearst park to shoot some flowers. I only like shooting with this camera when it is super sunny. Here are the results, I think I still need to work on my framing though.