Happy February! Spring is around the corner and spring is in the air with a new collection that I am excited to share with you today that is actually a collection WITHIN a collection! Intrigued? Read on to learn all about this new collaboration!
Many months ago a group of us Spoonflower designers joined together to create a color cohesive collection for a Spring release. This is not the first time this group of designers has a created a group collection in this way but it IS my first time joining in the fun! We began by choosing a colorway. Designers were allowed to submit color palettes that we as a group then voted on. The winning colorway is very bright and bold (and a little out of my usual comfort zone to be honest). I do think it is quite lovely for spring!
Once we finalized the colors we moved on to the design phase! While technically this is our Spring Release Collection we did not have to create solely spring themed designs. Since these colors were so bold and playful (and slightly girly) I drew inspiration from my 6 year old niece and designs I thought she would love.. Some brand new and some a new color version of older designs (from several different collections). My collection is called PLAYTIME TEA PARTY!
Playtime Tea Party features whimsical prints inspired by imaginary tea parties and dress up fun! All my designs can be found together in one COLLECTIONin my shop. I already have a second colorway in the works and an additional design which will be added to it over time. The designs can also be found in various collections elsewhere on Spoonflower where they are grouped with all the other designer’s patterns.
To keep the group collection to a manageable size and aide shoppers in finding great prints and coordinates there are actually 6 separate collections featuring our spring colors. The main collection features a wide range of design styles, basically we could submit up to 5 designs of anything we liked as long as they met the color guidelines. Here are the 5 designs of mine that you can find it the MAIN COLLECTION:
In addition to the main collection there are 5 sub-collections featuring popular coordinate categories: Basics, Blenders, Florals, Plaid, Checks
I have 3 designs in two of those categories. Two in BASICS
While not all styles will compliment each other, by designing in a color cohesive collection like this the number of options buyers have to mix and match greatly increases! I did not add any designs to the other collections (some of my designs could fit but I chose to put them in the main collection) but they are definitely worth checking out as they are filled with lovely designs! Here are the links:
I am very excited to be a part of these collections! There are a lot of really great designs. One thing I find very interesting, similar to when I have participated in a Spoonflower limited palette challenge, is how very different the colors can look when applied in different combos and ratios from different designers. For a collection that was limited in color… the spectrum of design differences is big! And really quite fun! Between the 6 sub-collections there are more than 1000 designs from 59 different designers… there should be a little something for everyone!
We are using the hashtag: #designerspr22 on all our social posts and designerspr22 as a search tag on Spoonflower in case you would like to follow along with everyone’s posts or see all the designs not divided by collection.
I will end this post with one final look at all of my designs in a collage together.
Hello All! It has been quite a long time since I have written a new blog post. I never intended to take such a big break. Oops! We are long past welcoming in Autumn, but since it is my FAVORITE season I thought that before it exits I could dedicate a post to some of my Autumn Art!
My Spoonflower Shop has so many designs tagged Autumn and/or Fall I decided to dedicate an entire COLLECTIONto the theme. These designs are gathered from many other Collections and do not all necessarily color coordinate with one another, their common bond is that they evoke the colors or images of Autumn.
One of the designs in that Collection and actually one of the very first patterns I ever uploaded to Spoonflower is my Pumpkins and Squash Design. This one I adapted from a note card I designed.
I also have a design that features only Pumpkins. I created this from an Illustration I did for the Alphabet Fruit and Veggie Challenge from a few years back. As you can seeGeometric Pumpkins is VERY different in style. This is interesting to me. I think my signature style is definitely more refined now and while I don’t feel the need to make everything geometric I do tend to gravitate to that stylistic choice a lot. If I was going to choose a pattern that felt more “me” I would choose the geometric pumpkins…
I didn’t do a regular Art Challenge in 2021 (which is of course just one of the many reasons for the lack of blog posts) but I have done a few different ones in the past. You might recall the monthly architecture/house illustrations I did where I followed along with the seasons. I ended up with two fun Autumn themed illustrations in that batch:
I also had a year long Alphabet Animal Art Challenge. I did NOT have a turkey included in that Collection. But I eventually created one in the same style. I am not sure if an animal can really qualify as a seasonal species but if there was an autumn specific animal I think it would definitely have to be a turkey! I did two versions of this cute guy. The second time giving him more detail and some Thanksgiving garb!
Today I am bringing you the Year End Recap for the Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge and I am very excited to be wrapping things up! Actually… this is sort of a Part 1 as I have a follow up post planned… but more on that at the end. And if this the first time you are hearing about this challenge, you may want to read the orginal challenge announcement HERE.
Let’s begin with a look at all the fruit and veggies I illustrated this past year:
I think it is such a fun and colorful collection! I love seeing them all together like this. My design parameters for this challenge were to do a geometric interpretation of the fruit/veg which included simplifying shape lines, segmentation, and using hatch, dots etc. to create texture. You may notice that all the boards also include a background rectangle(s). This was not originally planned, but I added it for the asparagus to fill in the white space and liked it so much I decided to make it a standard feature for all the boards! Overall, I am extremely happy with this collection as a whole. I already shared favorites and other thoughts in my quarterly recaps so I won’t do that again. If you missed any of those, they are all linked at the end of this post.
As with last year, one of the goals of this challenge, besides committing myself to creating new art on a regular basis, was to create a library of illustrations that could be used in other ways. I would definitely consider this aspect a success. I created three new patterns which incorporated one of more of the fruit/veg and have ideas for a few more in the future. I have also had a request for a poster version that would include most of the illustrations. This will be similar to the animal art poster I did last year but smaller and probably without the words. You can see that poster in THIS post.
Two patterns I created featured just one illustration: Geometric Carrots and Geometric Strawberries (which has two different colorways).
I also created a pattern that uses many of the above fruit/veg along with some other ones not part of the alphabet collection. Geometric Taco Bar was created for a Spoonflower contest.
All of these designs can be found as fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap for sale in my Spoonflower shop. Along with several other geometric food designs from the past. Here is a link to the entire Geometric Food Collection.
The other major component of this year long challenge was the Letter Prompt lists that I posted at the beginning of each fortnight. These prompts included an original block letter and a list of fruit/veggie ideas that began with that letter. Here are all 26 together:
I tried to include 7 options for each letter but as you can see that wasn’t always possible. I enjoyed learning about different fruit/veg I had not heard of before. The font is an expansion of a slightly more simplified block font I had started a few years ago. (You can see an example of the letters on my Colorful Merry Christmas Text pattern.) I had been adding to it as needed so not all the letters were there. AND I modified the look of most of them and added all the hatching. It was nice to create a font in increments like this. It made it much less tedious. I am super happy with the alphabet as a whole:
I definitely plan on making a repeating pattern with these letters. And I am excited to play with lots of color variations! Plus, now I have it to use for future projects! WIN!
Overall I think I can call this year long challenge a success! Admittedly, I wasn’t always enthusiastic to work on some of them. And I was definitely happy to reach the end. But looking back on the library of illustrations and letters I now have I am happy I did it!
And… so did two others! Yup! Two fellow artists followed along and completed *most* of the challenge! Since their work is so different from my own and I knew this blog post would be long to begin with I have decided to give them their own Featured Artist Post. COMING SOON! (I will link it once it is live). You are definitely going to want to come back and see their beautiful creations!
And as mentioned above, in case you missed any of the previous posts about this challenge here are all the links:
Finally there IS a new challenge for this year! We are still in the middle of letter A so if you feel inspired to join in you still can from the very beginning! The theme is CITY and you can read all about it HERE. Or you just follow along with me!
Do you have a favorite? Any fruit or veggie you would like to see as a pattern? I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments!
With the end of June it has officially been six months since the 2017 Art Challenge: Alphabet Animals has come to a close. I wanted to do an update since I have used those animals I created in quite a lot of new designs! One of the goals of the Challenge was to create a library of illustrations I could use in various ways and in that goal I have had much success! So today I want to share all the creations that I have made since the challenge ended. If you are hearing about this challenge for the first time you can read the final blog post recap and see ALL the animals. You can also see the other designs I created last year.
I’ll start with surface patterns. All these have been created this year, so after the close of the challenge. Since in many cases I ended up tweaking the animal illustrations I will share a look at the original animal and the pattern side by side!
All of the patterns I have created this year with animals so far have been created specifically for Spoonflower Design Challenges (although one did not end up being entered as you will soon learn).
As you can see for this pattern the quail is playing a supporting role. I removed its top plume and did some recoloring to make it more “generic bird” versus a quail specifically. I really love how it fits in so well with the other farmhouse images I created. Modern Farmhouse is available in my Spoonflower shop.
Elephants and Polka Dots
For the “Endangered Species” Design Challenge I chose to feature my elephant illustration. I didn’t make many changes to this character. I changed the toe nail color to white and made the line weights for the facial features a little thicker. (And overall color changes of course). Since my elephant already had a unique polka dot detail I decided to build upon that for the pattern. I actually created 4 different colorways of this design. The Taupe colorway one you see here is the version that was entered in the contest. You can find it and the 3 other colorways in my Animal Fun Collection. This was actually the second time this elephant was selected from the library. Last year I created a greeting card featuring the elephant!
Hedges and Hedgehogs
The idea for this pattern was in my head almost immediately after creating the original hedgehog so I was very excited when the “Animals by Land” Design Challenge was posted giving me the perfect excuse to create it! I kept the hedgehog mostly the same but tweaked the facial features again on this one, the most noticeable being that I gave it a round eye. I think it is cuter that way! The hedges got a bit more colorful too! Find Hedges and Hedgehogs in my Spoonflower shop!
Mostly Happy X-Ray Tetras
Last but not least is my X-Ray Tetra. For this one, I kept the pattern simple since there is already a lot of detail in the fish itself. I did play with adding some polka dots, but I didn’t like them. I did, however, do a fun little switch-up! As the title suggests, not ALL these tetras are smiling… I added some frowny ones to the mix and reversed their coloring in places to make them just a bit more distinctive. This design was created with a contest in mind but was never entered because I got the THEME wrong!!! I thought it was Animals by/in/of WATER since the previous two contests were Land and Air… but for this one Spoonflower mixed it up and themed it “Animals of the OCEAN”. Technically tetras are not ocean fish (which I learned through research, I am not a fish expert!) and I did not feel right entering this design. Oh well… at least it gave me the motivation to create it since this was also a pattern idea I had in my head for a while! Mostly Happy X-Ray Tetras is also available in my Spoonflower shop.
I have created one new card since the close of the challenge. I have a niece and nephew who both turned 3 in June (cousins, not twins) and I thought the koala was a good pick since it was already holding onto to something making it easy to swap in the number 3. I also changed the hat to a party hat. I left the koala itself the same (even the position of the arms worked as is for the number 3!)
I was there when my niece opened her card and upon seeing it she recognized it as a koala! Granted she had recently seen a show that had koalas, but still, it made me really happy to know that my characterization was accurate enough for her to name the animal specifically! I call that success. The koala cards joins several other animal cards I created last year which you can find on my Cards and Gift Wrap page.
The biggest thing (literally) that I created with the animal illustrations is a poster that incorporates ALL of them! As I mentioned above my niece and nephew turned 3 and I decided that for their gifts I would create this poster. It was actually quite a bit of work to pull it all together and fit them in a logical way and adding in all the text circles, title, etc.
In addition to removing all the “props” that were originally paired with I also did some minor re-scaling, both enlarging and reducing scales of some of the animals to get them to work better as an ensemble. Other than that all the animals except one stayed the same as the original in look and color (all the tweaks I made for the patterns came later). The one animal that DID get changed was the armadillo since that was my very first illustration and it did not have the same “cute” look that I started with letter B. Here is the “Before” and “After”.
It was actually my husband who suggested I make them “cuter” after seeing the first animal, armadillo. I am so happy he did, because it definitely enhances my already slightly cartoon-ish interpretations. And I am glad I changed up the armadillo for the poster!
It is definitely a bit of a gamble to give the gift of art. Especially BIG ART that is intended to be hung in someone’s house. I took that chance because I thought my niece and nephew as well as their parents would like the gift. And because I expected these to be hung in the kids’ rooms and not the main house. I am so happy to report that gifts were well received AND have both already been hung! Here is a look at the posters “in the wild”.
I printed these posters at a standard 20″ x 30″ but sized the poster border proportions to work with a favorite IKEA frame line that I love (Its similar sized frame is 19.75″ x 27.5″). (Seriously, almost every wall frame in my house is from this line). For the smaller frame on the left (which I framed) I trimmed it to fit the slightly smaller proportioned frame. My sister opted for the same IKEA frame but with bigger dimensions so it has a mat (on the right). It is fun to see the two looks side by side.
My husband’s reaction to seeing the poster for the first time was that I should sell them! After selling greeting cards for a number of years I decided that being a producer really wasn’t for me. I have been focused for the last several years solely on designing and selling my work where someone else does all the work. However, these posters, which I am extremely pleased with, have me actually considering maybe selling (on a VERY limited basis) again. It is just an idea at this point. I would probably sell them both wholesale and retail if I did. If you are a retailer or an individual and would be interested please let me know! If there seems to be enough interest I would start investigating larger quantity printing!
And that about wraps it up! I anticipate using more of these animals in future design projects. Do you have a favorite you’d like to see used in something? I’d love to know!
SPECIAL NOTE: Sprout Patterns which is discused in detail in this post is no longer open. I have decided to keep all the Sprout content as part of this post. Unfortunately you will not be able to purchase the product I used. You CAN still get the Lark Tee Pattern from Grainline Studio.
It is time for another installment of “Sewing and Design Meet”. This time I am sharing all about my Pebbles design and what I have made with it. The majority of this post will be focused on the Lark Tee I sewed via a cut-and-sew project I ordered through Spoonflower’s sister site, Sprout Patterns, and I will be speaking a bit about that experience too. At the end I’ll share a quick look at a simple winter accessories set I also made. This post is LONG. If you don’t care about sewing details you can read about the design and then just scroll and look at all the photos 🙂
Pebbles is a coordinate I created to go with my Sandcastles design as part of my Beach Bliss Collection. I originally offered this print in 2 different colorways and then added a third one which does not actually color coordinate with the collection because I specifically created it for the winter accessories project.
The Sandcastles design was created from hand drawings that I vectorized and turned into a pattern in Illustrator. I included pebble details on the sandcastles and as background infill. To create the Pebbles print I pulled out pebbles from the pattern and arranged them into vertical lines. Below is a look at Sandcastles and some of the original hand drawings. Most often, even if I do a hand drawing first, I completely redraw them in Illustrator, but this time I used auto trace since I wanted to maintain the feel of the hand drawing which I think matches the beach theme well.
FABRIC AND SPROUT PATTERNS:
Instead of purchasing “raw” fabric for this project I ordered my fabric AND pattern through Sprout Patterns. If you are not familiar with Sprout they are one of Spoonflower’s sister companies. With Sprout, you can order sewing patterns from a wide range of companies and designers printed directly on the fabric! It is the ultimate, cut-and-sew: all you need to do is cut around the outlines of the pieces and start sewing! With your Sprout purchase you also get a pdf copy of the pattern so you can sew it again in the future and also use the pieces for adjustments, etc. (Which I definitely did). I chose the Multicolored version of my Pebbles design printed on Modern Jersey. Here is a look at a portion of the printed fabric where you can see a pattern piece and how the design continues on the unused fabric:
There are some pro’s and con’s to using Sprout and I think ultimately it will vary person to person on whether this sort of sewing experience is right for you.
This is definitely a time saver. Not only does it save you the time of printing and assembling a pdf or cutting out a paper pattern, but it saves on the time it takes to cut fabric too since all the arranging of the pieces on the fabric and lining up the grainlines etc. is already done for you.
You can order exactly the amount of fabric you need! Instead of having to over buy on yardage numbers, the cut of fabric you get from Sprout will give you the fractional yards without having to buy a full 2 yards for example for a 1.5 yard project. You can also mix and match fabric designs within a project… so if you want all your trim pieces to be a different fabric, you can select a different fabric design or even a solid color for those pieces.
Even though the fabric is sized to fit the pattern, for many projects there will still be some unused spaces leftover. Sprout prints the fabric design on these areas too (as you can see in the photo) so you might end up with some bonus fabric pieces you can use for something else. (I did end up NEEDING some of my extra, which you will read about below).
You can only choose to have one size printed… they do not grade between sizes. If you are a “straight out of the package” size this is probably not even a con. I am most definitely NOT a single size gal and this is a big issue for me. I found a way to work around this and grade a bit between sizes which I will discuss in the sewing section of this post.
One last detail that is VERY important to note is that you MUST follow washing instructions. I learned this the hard way as I shrunk my fabric, which changed the size and proportion of the pattern pieces! I am so used to pre-washing my fabric in a blast of hot water and hot dryer to get the fabric to shrink as much as possible before I sew with it, I was basically on auto-pilot and did the same with this project. BAD IDEA. I was able to make it work, thankfully, but my shirt is a bit shorter as a result. AND I had to cut new sleeves. Thankfully they were the cap style and needed very little fabric and were able to fit on unused portions of the fabric but it is a bummer that I had to do that instead of saving those sections for a future project.
The Lark Tee is a basic tee shirt with a ton of options. For my Sprout project I chose the scoop neck with cap sleeves (but as I mentioned above you get the pdf so you get ALL the views and variations with it and can print it and use it like a regular pattern. I have already made several other versions). I chose Modern Jersey as the fabric option. The sewing is very straightforward so I won’t really go into that, but I do want to talk a little bit about grading the pattern.
I am pear shaped and in this pattern (and pretty much all Grainline top patterns per the SIZE CHART) I am a size 4 bust and my hips sort of hover between size 8 and 10. But with Sprout you can only pick 1 size, so I had to do some creative thinking. I have square shoulders and a wide upper back so I usually like to go up a size (to a 6) for my bust. And since this was a stretchy tee, I figured I would be safe going with the size 8 for my hips. So I ordered a size 8 with plans of using the pdf pattern pieces to grade the top smaller. Of course needing to print and assemble ALL the tee pieces pretty much negated the fast and quick factor of Sprout, but I really wanted to try the whole process once to see how it worked, AND it was still faster having the pieces already outlined on the fabric since it saved me from laying them all out and finding the grain, etc.
As I mentioned above, I unknowingly shrunk my pieces, so when I laid the pattern pieces on the printed fabric things did NOT line up like I expected. The fabric shrunk WAY MORE vertically then it did horizontally… so they weren’t smaller everywhere, more like squashed. In the end it was almost good that I was grading it smaller, because I was able to fix this with my adjustments. It did mean however, that the top got shorter. AND, the size 6 sleeve piece did not fit within the outline. Thankfully, there was enough extra fabric elsewhere to trace the sleeves. After that was all worked out the sewing was easy! Especially since I sewed it twice with other fabrics prior to cutting into the good stuff.
Overall I am very happy with the fit of this tee. I LOVE the size of the scoop neck! It is basically my “dream scoop”. The sleeves are maybe a tad snug for cap sleeves and I would like the tee to be an inch longer (but that was the fault of the shrinkage). I absolutely LOVE the Pebbles design as a tee, but the white background version might not have been the wisest choice. (Thankfully I ALWAYS wear a tank top under everything). I also do not love it in Modern Jersey and wish I would have chosen the Cotton Spandex instead. I have sewn a TON of things with Modern Jersey, I love the fabric, but for a tee shirt… it is just not breathable enough for my tastes. But this is totally personal preference. I am a natural fibers gal.
*** You might have noticed a pants change in these photos… I actually took photos on multiple occassions (months apart!) and locations. I actually finished this top last year! The blog post was so delayed I had a chance to take another round!
As stated at the start of this blog post, Sprout Patterns is no longer open. You can still make your own! You can buy the Lark Tee Pattern from Grainline Studio directly. It is also available as a paper pattern. And the Pebbles design on Spoonflower seperately.
PROJECT #2: Neck and Ear Warmer Matching Set
Technically this Project #1 since I made this well before the tee shirt but the blog post flows better to have it at the end. Using the Drizzle colorway of the Pebbles design, printed again on Modern Jersey, I made a matching fleece-backed ear and neck warm set. Both of these are self-drafted. I love the fit of the ear warmer but I think I would tweak the neck warmer proportions should I make it again. And I would not use the Modern Jersey again. While I do love it for infinity scarfs, in this application where I backed it with fleece, a fabric with more structure like cotton spandex works better. I have made several ear warmers and the ones that used cotton spandex are much smoother against the fleece.
That’s it! You made it to the end! Woop! I actually have made one other item with some of Sprout leftovers, a headband, but I don’t have a good photo to share. (And still have pieces left I could use as accents on a future project too!) I think I covered everything, but feel free to ask any questions or just say hello in the comments.
It is time for another edition of Sewing and Design Meet! This time I am sharing about my Transit Lines design and the tote bag I made with it. This design is part of the City Collection which can be found in my Spoonflower shop.
When putting together a new collection I don’t often sit down and sketch out ideas for coordinates but for CITY I actually did. My original idea for the Transit Lines design was to have criss-crossing lines going in many directions, similar to a subway map. However, as I started drawing it in Illustrator I really loved the look of just the horizontal lines with the thickened bars and decided to take it in that direction instead. I love how the pattern is a versatile stripe and yet, when paired with its title, can easily (I think) invoke images of the city site that inspired it. Whether you interpret the thick bars as trains or stations is up to you! I also really love the color palette I decided on for this print: mostly neutral but with pops of color.
A few years ago Spoonflower had an awesome and rare 50% off sale on Eco Canvas and I ordered a couple of yards. One yard I divided into (2) 1/2 yard pieces with the intention to make a tote bag with each of them, although at the time I did not have a specific pattern picked out. I ended up choosing free tote patterns from Purl Soho for both of the totes. I have a previous blog post about the first one I made, the Railroad Tote, and some zipper pouches I made with the extras. I chose the Everyday Tote for the Transit lines design as I thought the more horizontal shape would suit it well.
The Eco Canvas has pluses and minuses for me personally. On the plus side: It washes and sews well and colors are bright and vibran. On the minus side: It is much softer and drapier than other canvases which is something I do not like. But I think this is really just a personal preference. I gave the Railroad Tote to my mom and she loves that soft quality. When making the zipper pouches I decided to interface the Eco Canvas portions and I was much happier with the structure. So for the Everyday Tote I knew I wanted to interface those pieces. I needed to do some construction changes to accommodate this (Along with a bunch of other construction changes) which I detail below.
There were a lot of steps to making this bag, including some extra ones that came along with my changes, but otherwise it was straight forward and easy to sew. I didn’t take a lot of in-progress photos (my sewing space is not photo friendly) and it was difficult to get a good overall look of the bag. Here is the best one:
As mentioned above, I made several construction changes when sewing up this bag. I knew I wanted to interface the Eco Canvas pieces and since the bag isn’t lined, I needed to underline at least those portions so that the interfacing was not exposed. After contemplating solutions for this, I decided to also change how the bag panels were sewn. Per the instructions, you cut two full side pieces from what eventually becomes the “upper” fabric, and then cut bottom panels of the “lower” fabric which go over top the first fabric on just the bottom portion. There are some good reasons to sew the bag this way. It ensures you aren’t relying on a horizontal seam to hold the top and bottom half of the bag together and it creates a nice double layer for the bag base. But, it meant that 1/2 of my good patterned fabric was going to be covered which I wasn’t crazy about. So, I decided to instead cut both pieces at half height and let the seam where the bias “piping” detail is connect them together. Since the bag side pieces were already cut, I chose to cut one in half height wise and that determined the height of my bag (and preserved a nice FQ sized piece of the Transit Lines for a future project!). I sewed the top and bottom halves together with the accent bias “piping” in between. I then UNDERLINED the entire height of the bag sides with a coordinating quilting cotton that I had leftover from the previous Eco Canvas projects. I quilted this to the bag panels which helped provide the extra stability I lost when I changed the construction. The quilting, despite using a walking foot AND having design lines to follow, is kind of wonky… Quilting is not my forte! Despite the lackluster quilting, I absolutely love the end result inside the bag. I think the quilted underlining really gives the bag a high quality look!
Other changes I made:
I flip flopped from the directions which fabric I used for the front and back of the pocket so that I could enjoy more of the print. I also made the pocket wider since there was plenty of room to do so.
I changed the order of sewing so that the folded over top hem of the bag was sewn last. I did this on my Railroad Tote too. By saving it until last the tops of the side seams are concealed instead of exposed.
Longer straps. I like to wear my bag over my shoulder and longer straps make it more comfortable when I do.
I chose to use 2 different colors of bias tape instead of one and I am very happy with the results. On areas where I wanted the trim and finishing to stand out (like on the exterior seam or around the top of the tote fold over hem) I used black. To finish all the interior seams I used white.
The webbing I used for the straps (linked at the end) is a bit industrial. It works ok… especially since the Eco Canvas is also a synthetic, but I wouldn’t get it again. I purchased a large roll of it and have a lot leftover, so it will probably pop up in another project at some point. It was a really good deal though, and should be pretty durable (I hope).
I was hoping that this bag would work as my music bag and I am happy to report that it works perfectly! My previous bag was a freebie tote that I got when I worked in Architecture. It was rather ugly and advertised a window company that I am not even a big fan of (otherwise I might have posted a “before” photo). I love having my new “chic” bag that is me-made and features one of my own designs! It holds all my music, books, and misc. with room to spare! (And even packed can sling over my shoulder!)
(I have seen others do a summary like this and think it is a fun way to provide quick access info all in one place. I will probably make it a regular feature of my sewing posts.)
It is time for another installment of Sewing and Design Meet. Actually it is time for the second installment… I started this series last year and then never did a second one! Oops! Hopefully this year, there will be more regular posts for this series.
Today I am sharing about my Floral Bliss design and several projects I sewed with it. I currently have 4 different colorways of the design plus coordinates all available in the Floral Bliss Collection in my Spoonflower Shop.
This design has a really fun story, since it began as a doodle in a doodle book I kept a long, long time ago. Here is a look at the original, non-repeating doodle:
As you can see, this doodle was not created with a repeating pattern in mind, and thus, there was a lot of work involved in turning it into one. It was a multi-step process, where I would split the design apart in photoshop, print it out and add more elements by hand, re-scan it, erase elements, digitally tweak etc. Here is just one in-progress look.
At this point you can see the original page outline was still present. Once I went through all those steps mentioned above (some more than once) and had a repeating tile with all my hand drawn elements, I next started the long process of recreating it as a vector tile in Illustrator. I did auto-trace it as a first step, but there was a lot of time spent editing and tweaking, etc again in Illustrator. This is not a fast process!
The original use of this pattern was for a Spoonflower limited palette contest. There was no theme other than the colors: Coral, Mint, Black and White, so it was a perfect opportunity to use an abstract pattern. Here is the look at that colorway of the pattern for the contest:
This is one of the most “hearted” designs in my shop. Because of its popularity and the amount of time invested in the pattern, it made sense to offer it in other color versions as well. I also added a second, smaller scale version. I currently offer it in 4 different colorways and 2 different scales! I have sewn with 3 of those colorways. Here is a look at the other 3 versions:
The first project I made from one 8 x 8 swatch: A Travel Eye Mask.
This was made with the Floral Bliss Pink and Gray (Small Scale) version of the design. I am not 100% sure which fabric type this is… one of the woven cottons. I created my own sewing pattern by tracing a freebie eye mask that I had (modifying the shape and size a little bit and adding seam allowances). It is backed in raspberry pink flannel with a layer of batting in between and I kept the piece of 1/4″ elastic I used “raw” (which I rather like). Bonus: All the extra materials were already in my stash!
The second project I made used the original colorway of the design in the Small Scale again combined with a coordinating Polka Dot: A Travel Jewelry Pouch.
This was a gift for my sister and Floral Bliss was one of the patterns I knew she liked. (She also loves polka dots). It was quite an ambitious project for me at the time I made it. It was my first time working with vinyl, had multiple zippers, and a LOT of bias binding. I actually wrote an entire blog post about this one where you can read all about it in great detail.
The third, and final project so far is an Infinity Scarf.
This scarf features the newest color of the Floral Bliss design, Winter Blues, in the larger scale. (The small scale version has not been added to my shop yet.) It is printed on 1/2 yard of Cotton Spandex Jersey. I don’t like my infinity scarfs to be too voluminous so 1/2 yard is the perfect size for me. I used Spoonflower’s Fill-A-Yard function to get 1/2 yard of this print and a different print for the other half which I also plan to make a scarf with.
I created this colorway specifically for this project. I wear a lot of scarves in the wintertime and keep them on even inside, so I like a lot of variety. This print, at this scale, in these colors will work well with a lot of what is already in my wardrobe and is quite different than my other scarves. Here it is styled with another recent make of mine, a Lane Raglan by Hey June Handmade sewn up in RK Laguna Knit in Navy. I think this is the 7th Lane Raglan I have sewn. It is definitely a TNT (Tried and True) pattern for me!
I think it is apparent from the above projects that Floral Bliss is a very versatile design! I sewed these 3 very different projects quite far apart. It is fun to see that it is a design that I continue to return to and use in different ways. I have not sewn anything up in the Tropical colorway yet, but there is the chance that I will in the future should the right project come along! A skirt or dress for summertime would be lovely in that version of the print.
I am thinking of starting a new regular series of blog posts: Sewing and Design Meet. A place to showcase those projects where my fabric designer self and my sewing self come together to create a project! (Or in simpler terms: When I sew stuff with my own fabric designs 🙂 ).
I am kicking off the series with a trio of bags created from 1/2 yard of my Hip Sequential (Cool) design printed on Eco Canvas by Spoonflower.
A look at the pattern:
This pattern was actually created during a special Spoonflower design challenge last spring. The theme for this day of the challenge was geometric and I had a little flash of inspiration! I really liked the idea of solid and divided rectangles slowing getting smaller in width in sequential order. The end pattern worked so well with my existing Hip Geometrics Collection I have since added it in all four collection colorways as well!
When I ordered my fabric, Spoonflower did not yet offer their Fill-A-Yard service so I had to create mine manually by uploading a full yard design file divided into two patterns. My thought was that 1/2 yard on the wide fabric should be enough for two bags/totes of some kind, although I did not have a specific pattern in mind when I ordered. I chose Eco-canvas as my substrate as Spoonflower was having an amazing 1/2 price sale on it at the time. A look at the printed fabric:
I had the fabric for quite a while when I saw a few free tote tutorials by Purl Soho and knew I had found the right bag for this print! For this pattern I chose the Railroad Tote. I thought the rectangular shape was a good pairing for the geometric print. To pair with my fabric I purchased some Kaufman Big Sur Canvas in Solid Gray. Buying online is usually a bit of a gamble (unless you have purchased the exact product before) so I was quite excited to see how perfectly the canvas I chose matched both this print AND the other pattern, Transit Lines, I had printed with it.
I mostly made the tote per instructions. Since I had plenty of the canvas and I like pockets on my bags I decided to add the pocket to BOTH sides of the tote. I also changed the finishing order a bit so that I could have the tops of my side seams enclosed in the folded over edge of the top of the bag. This required a few more steps and was a bit trickier to sew this way, but well worth it for the final result!
I am very happy with how the bag turned out but I would make a few tweaks for the next one. The side pockets end up being very tall and skinny. While the look from the outside is quite lovely I would prefer them to be less deep, so next time I would modify them somehow. I also plan on making it bigger overall.
I had a long skinny piece of this print left over and plenty of the gray canvas so I decided to sew up some zippy pouches with the left overs. Originally these were supposed to be a bigger and smaller pouch in two different styles and the zippers I purchased for them are 2″ different in length. However, I did not anticipate that the style of the bigger pouch made it appear smaller and the extensions I added to the smaller pouch would increase its size so much. In the end they are almost the same size!
For the “larger” pouch (Top bag in the photo) I used another free bag pattern: The Open Wide Zippered Pouch by Noodlehead. I have used this pattern before and it is a really nifty design! (Do people still say nifty?) I can’t remember for sure which size I made but I think it was the smallest one as I am fairly certain I used a 9″ zipper. I know the pattern calls for 10″, but you really can’t find that easily at any stores by me. Not sure if I made the bag smaller to compensate, but having made it before I knew that the zip overhangs a lot so there is definitely wiggle room there.
The “smaller” pouch is just a basic rectangle lined zipper pouch using a 7″ zipper. To give it a little extra flair I added the little canvas loop to the side. I also chose to add canvas extenders to each side of the zipper so that the ends wouldn’t pull into the sides of the pouch. I used the technique outlined by my fellow Spoonflower designer and friend Ceri for her cut and sew pouch project: The Hand Strap Clutch. You can see both details in the photo below. You can also get a small glimpse of the lining. For both zipper pouches I used a “textured look” quilting cotton, “Crosshatch Sketch”, that I purchased from Hawthorne Threads. They no longer have the color I chose: Fog, but there are several other colors available that might pair well with this print. There are of course many color match choices in my Spoonflower shop too, including this teal color version of my Hip Shapes design.
One last note: The Eco-Canvas is not as stiff as normal canvas (definitely not as stiff as the Big Sur Canvas I paired it with) and tends to flop around a little. I highly recommend using interfacing if you want a bit more structure to whatever you are making with it. I added a very light interfacing to both zippered pouches and really liked the bit of structure it gave. Unfortunately the inside of the canvas is exposed on the tote so you would have to give it a lining if you wanted to add interfacing there. I have the other 1/2 yard of my Eco-Canvas left with the other print I chose to use for a second tote and I am currently brainstorming ideas of how I can add lining/double layer to the top pieces, so I can interface that one! If anyone has any suggestions, I will be making the Everyday Tote with it.
This post is a tale of sorts, of two whimsical designs that began as hand drawings and were transformed into fabric. An appropriate title could have been: From Pen and Ink Hand Drawings to Seamless Patterns to Printed Fabric to Sewing Creations. But that is a lot of words. Hence: A Fabric Design Tale 🙂
If you read my previous post then you already know that for Christmas 2016 I made my youngest niece and nephew each a raglan tee using my fabric designs. Both began as hand drawings and so I thought it would be fun to share the process (since it was different for both) in how I transformed those into the fabric and ultimately a finished sewing project.
For my nephew I chose my Fantasy Fish pattern. I originally created this design for the Great Barrier Reef themed contest on Spoonflower. This was still in the beginning stages of my learning Adobe Illustrator and creating patterns. For this pattern I wanted to have all the elements inter-connected and I wasn’t yet sure how to do that in AI, so I stuck with Photoshop to create the entire pattern. To do this I began by drawing a base design by hand, scanned it into Photoshop, cleaned it up, and then using the offset function split the design apart. I then printed the split apart design and drew in more elements to start to fill the space. I had to do this several times before I had the entire piece filled in and the full pattern tile created. Below you can see some of the stages of the pattern.
I chose to have the design printed on Spoonflower’s Cotton Spandex Jersey since I would be pairing it with Cotton Spandex Solids purchased elsewhere and I wanted the fabric types to be as close as possible.
I love how it looks printed out!
Butterfly Party (Midnight)
For my niece, I chose the Butterfly Party design, Midnight color version from my Flutter Collection. I created this design from a doodle I drew in one of my doodle sketchbooks long before I ever started created surface patterns.
Since I never intended this drawing to be a seamless pattern when I created it, I decided to use the elements as components in a new design instead of converting the original composition to be seamless. For this design, I used the auto-trace function in Adobe Illustrator to render the elements as vector. From there I did A LOT of clean-up, modifications and redrawing. In fact sometimes I do so much editing of a traced design that I wonder if it wouldn’t be faster to just redraw all the elements manually. I do like, however, how auto trace gives a bit more of the hand-drawn feeling and for this print I think it really works. While I love the black infill with the butterfly silhouettes and polka-dots on the original doodle, I thought it was too busy for the pattern version so I decided to eliminate it. Instead I used some of the little butterflies to create a coordinating pattern.
You can find these little butterflies and many other coordinating prints in the Flutter Collection on Spoonflower. And here is a look of the fabric (also printed on Cotton Spandex Jersey):
I used the same pattern for both tees, the Raglan Sweatshirt 015 from Brindle and Twig. Since the kids are so close in age, I was able to use the same size for both of them! For each shirt I was able to fit the body pieces on one fat quarter of the Spoonflower fabric and used solid fabric leftover from other projects for all the rest of the pieces. (Huge perk of sewing for littles!!!) I chose black for the fishes since there is already black in the design and I love how it makes the colors really pop. For the butterflies I used this aqua I had in my stash that I was happy to see matched so well! I was a bit concerned about the arms being lighter than the body (I guess when I think of raglans I usually think the darker color as the arms and bands) but I think it adds a lovely brightness!
For the most part I thought this was a good pattern. I was surprised at the size of all the bands, which seemed a little small in diameter to me. I change almost all of them to be a little bit bigger after I sewed the first one (I THINK the neckband on the butterfly shirt is the only place where the band is cut to the pattern size). I would definitely keep this change in the future. It made it easier to sew and was still not too big. I made the butterfly raglan first so the tweaks on the fish one reflect what I learned from the first. My only other complaint is with the pdf assembly. I found that the aligning box on the pdfs to be a bit confusing. Perhaps it would not be to someone else, but I thought I would mention it. I will say that Melissa from Brindle and Twig was very kind and receptive to my feedback when I emailed her, which is huge bonus points in her favor!!! Customer service and communication goes a long way in my book. I also like the very large size range that comes with the pattern. I could make these for several more years before the kids will be too big for the pattern.
So there you have it! A look at the progression of a design from the very beginings to a final finished project! I’ll end with a couple of detail close-ups.