Wednesday 28 September 2011

New Skills Festival - designing fabric with Monda

I first stumbled across Monda's blog a long time ago when following a link for monster softies and ended up staying, it has been great watching her grow as it were and delve more seriously into the world of surface design, today Monda is going to take us through the process from sketch through to fabric printed at Spoonflower.

Creating a design for fabric by Monda 
In this post I'm going to walk you through a very basic version of the design process used in creating a simple surface pattern design, which can then be printed onto fabric.
Every design I create starts out as a pencil sketch in my sketch book. I usually have a idea in my head of what I want to create, but having reference material is also crucial to the process.

The design above is based on a drawing of a dried poppy seed head which I collected from my garden. I also cross referenced this with images of poppy seed heads which I found on the internet.

Once I have enough sketches, I then pick the ones that I think might work well in a pattern and I draw them digitally in illustrator.

At this stage, I also chose the colours for my designs. Once I'm happy with my digital drawings I lay them out and duplicate them to form a pattern. There can be lots of moving around of different elements within the design at this stage, but that's the beauty of digital design - it really gives a lot of flexibility and scope for creating multiple design layouts, until you find one that works well for you. I've chosen to go for a simple linear design. It's important to think about spacing and how the design might look when it repeats. You'll see that this design is currently in a square format, so imagine what it would look like if you placed another identical design next to the original one.

Once the design is complete it is then ready to be printed onto a fabric. There are various printers out there who print onto fabrics but I can definitely recommend Spoonflower is a US website which can be used by anyone who wants to create (and sell) their own designs on fabric - no minimum yardage is required, so you can order swatches, fat quarters or yards of your design onto various different fabrics. I've uploaded my fabric design to spoonflower so all I need to do now is buy a swatch and wait for delivery:

Spoonflower is not only great for printing your own designs. You can also purchase fabric by other designers too, and unlike many fabric shops and stores, you can choose the fabric you'd like to have the design printed onto. Quilting weight cotton, Jersey cotton, Canvas/Linen cotton, and Silk are just a few of the options available.
You can check out Monda's Spoonflower designs here (and mine are here) and she also has an Etsy shop selling all kinds of monstery goodness.


  1. I don't know if it's just me, but I can't see any of the photographs in this post. Would you be able to check it? Thanks. Clare

  2. hmm, they are showing up on my computer....let me investigate

  3. Nope, no photos here for me either....sorry.

  4. i see photos! :) and wow! i love the thought and the detail that goes into monda's designs!

    xx, zhing

  5. I'd love to try this but i don't have illustrator. Perhaps i can use photoshop?

  6. Hi Christy, I use Photoshop or if you have a look around on Spoonflower they have links to tutorials using free/online software

  7. I love Spoonflower. I recently purchased fabric from other designers there for the first time, and they were just as exciting to sew with as my own designs. There are so many cool ideas there.


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