A few weeks ago, I was asked to do one of my most favourite things – to undertake a custom order over at Wonderland Boutique. I absolutely love working on custom designs, relishing the opportunity to work closely with someone on creating something truly unique. Only this time – I was momentarily stumped! My customer had asked if I could make her a bag set from fabric that featured the image of the iconic Jackie Kennedy. Now, if there’s anything I know about, its fabric prints, especially quirky ones (case in point, the amazing Marilyn Monroe fabric I’ve used previously) and I know that such a design simply doesn’t exist.
Then, I had a brainwave – yes they do happen to me occasionally – I could print my own fabric! Well, not quite print it myself you understand, instead I would have a company that I’ve being dying to try out for an age, custom create it for me. So – to Spoonflower!
With Jackie Kennedy as my excuse, I took to their site and created an account with extreme ease – not to mention that all important free-ness! Next, I had to prepare an image for printing onto fabric, and for those of us who are more graphically sound than I am – which is to say, everyone else – this may involve some photoshopping to create your design. I though, chose to go with the uber-easy option of simply googling a suitably fabulous image of Jackie Kennedy, and then uploading it to my account.
The next step is to select the specifics of your fabric and its design. You can choose the kind of fabric you want, the amount you need and you can also specify the layout of your design – from having your graphic centred, on a basic repeat, half-drop repeat etc. All your choices are laid out in front of you on the screen, making your options crystal clear and simple to select. Then, you just enter your personal details – hurrah, they take PayPal – and away you go! It is also very easy to check on your order’s progress once it’s been placed, by logging in to your account and checking on its status.
I think all in, my order took a little under 3 weeks from start to finish – from being placed, printed and then shipped between Spoonflower in the US, to me in South Wales. This is a speedy turnaround, especially for a custom-printed length of fabric! Their pricing is competitive too, with 1 yard of custom fabric only costing around double what a yard of regular designer fabric (Amy Butler for example) would cost – and their international delivery tariff is akin to that of Etsy. I found the quality to be equivalent to other quilter’s cottons that I’ve used, though perhaps it is a teeny bit thinner. I’d love to see how the process works with some of the other fabrics that they offer – from upholstery twill, to cotton-canvas.
Spoonflower’s website is very helpful – the FAQ section is a mine of information, and warns about the issues of potential “colour-shifting” of the designs that you upload. This happened with me as my original image had a very red background and the end result was much more of an orange, but I had expected this and it had zero effect on my fabric’s quality and appeal. For anyone concerned about or very particular over the colours of any potential designs being different from what they intended, there is a ream of detail on how to prevent this – namely, stay clear of very bright, primary colours and prepare images first in a graphics programme.
Overall, the whole process was simple, quick and absolutely something I will do again. I think Spoonflower is a fantastic way for us to create some truly wonderful, original and unique fabric prints for our makes.