It is time for the second recap for the Alphabet City Art Challenge. This time I am sharing the illustrations I created for letters J thru R. If you are new to learning about this art challenge you can read the original blog post HERE. And you can find the first recap HERE.
Ok! Let’s start with a look at the 9 illustrations in this group:
This is an interesting group. There were some challenging letters in the mix, not only in terms of finding an appropriate city sight to illustrate (i.e. koi pond, quilt shop) but also in creating a building that could distinctly convey a certain sight without using specific branding (i.e. jazz club, post office, restaurant). It would be an interesting to see if I had posted all of these illustrations without the titles if people would be able to name what they depicted. Obviously the Jazz Club has the word JAZZ on it and the post office has an envelope so that would help. These features were added specifically to help convey their function. I think the newsstand is probably the only one that is obviously apparent. (Even the lunch truck could be mistaken for an ice cream truck etc.)
The newsstand is one of my favorites of this batch too. It was fun to create something other than a building and to create something at a scale big enough to show some detail. I really enjoyed “filling the shelves” of this kiosk.
I also really like the Quilt Shop:
I LOVE the quilted components I was able to incorporate and how their colors really pop in contrast to the gray building.
As I did with my first recap I put together a couple of “street views” so you could see the buildings interacting with one another.
I really like seeing them in relationship to one another. The modern Art Museum and classical Opera House don’t initially seem like an obvious pairing, but I think within the contest of an “Arts District” they could work!
I have also continued to post a letter block on the Monday of each new week period. Here is the collection of letters J-R:
I really like seeing them all together in a grid like this. Since it is difficult to continue to come up with new silhouettes, after the letter “M” I started over and reused the same blocks, but I mirrored them to give them a little variety and then made tweaks as needed to work well for the new letter. So the letter “N” started with a mirrored version of the “A” block and so on.
And that wraps about another batch of alphabet city sights! I anticipate a few challenges with the last batch of letters, but I already have at least one idea that I am super excited about! Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see each illustration when they get posted.
And feel free to comment on this post! I love hearing from my readers.
Time for the First Recap in the 2019 Alphabet City Art Challenge! This year, I have decided to three recaps instead of four, so this first post will look at the illustrations I created for letters A thru I. If you missed what the challenge is all about you can read the announcement blog post HERE.
Let’s start with a look at the 9 Illustrations I did for the first round, as they were presented as square, framed art.
Overall I think this is a fun mix. I have been intentionally switching up the colors so that there is a variety and looking at them all grouped together like this, I am very happy with the overall feel of the collection so far. Whenever possible I have been keeping the scale of the buildings similar as well. So, for example, for all the buildings with doors, all the doors are the same height. This was done so that I could easily combine them together in future compositions. Just for fun, I arranged the buildings in two “street” views so you can see how they look. (I had to change up the Gas Station colors a tad to make it work).
As with past challenges, I did not “research” ahead of time if there would be a good pick for every letter. I am mostly choosing each subject as I reach that letter (I did/do have some pre-picked ideas for a few of the letters). Embassy was the biggest “surprise” so far, as it took me a while to come up with that idea (and I almost chose something else before it came to me). It was one of the trickiest to create too, especially the curved entryway.
My overall favorite is the Clock Tower. It isn’t the most elaborate or even creative of the illustrations but I really love the overall feel of the composition. The title for this one had to moved up to fit everything and I love how the building interacts with it. Hopefully a few more illustrations down the line can also be arranged in a creative way. Also… it makes me think of Italy.
Somewhat surprisingly, the most “hearted” illustration so far has been the Gas Station. Now I know that there are a lot of factors that can influence hearts, including when the artwork is posted and what hashtags it has…. So it could be that I just picked a “hot list” of hashtags. Still, it is a pretty fun one. Lots of little details.
So far I have not created any other art or patterns that incorporate any of these illustrations. I already have the CITY COLLECTION in my Spoonflower Shop that features many city inspired designs, so I don’t have any specific plans to create more surface patterns. As part of that collection, I have my Around the Town design that already includes many City buildings, which has added an extra challenge as I am trying to not repeat any of those and it includes many ubiquitous buildings.
That wraps it up for the illustrations, but I did want to talk about the letters/titles too.
I mixed things up this year and instead of using “A is for xxx” etc. to title my illustrations (like in past years) I chose to just put the word I was illustrating. And the lettering for those words, is all original by me. I like this clean look, but I do wonder if people who stumble upon the illustrations without knowing about the challenge miss out on the alphabet connection. Also new this year: I have not been posting idea prompt lists. Instead I have been simply posting the letter for the 2 weeks on their designated Mondays. Here are the 9 posts so far:
I had already established the style of the letters with the CITY Collection title art, and I have been creating new letters as I have needed them (for either the letter prompts or in the illustration titles). The cityscape used also began with the CITY Collection title art, I have simply been mixing up the details for each letter.
Ok. I think that covers everything. I hope you enjoyed this first recap. If you aren’t already, be sure to Follow Me on Instagram to see each new Letter Prompt and Illustration as I post them. And feel free to comment below!
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!
Happy New Year friends! January is going to be a busy time on my blog so get set for a flurry (relatively speaking) of posts! We begin with the “fourth quarter” recap of the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge, letters T thru Z. There will also be a final year end recap but I wanted to give some thoughts on the last batch of letters and illustrations before contemplating the year as a whole.
First a look at the 7 fruit/veg I created for the final quarter of the alphabet:
Overall I quite like this group. Despite the fact that there were less options for many of these letters I was able to find something interesting to illustrate for each. It is actually quite difficult to pick a favorite. I will call it a tie between the Turnip and the Ulluco.
Interestingly, I was hesitant to choose turnip since I drew radishes for R and I thought they might be too similar. But it was an enjoyable challenge to determine the differences and make the turnip its own unique thing. Here is a side by side view. (PS: The identical frame colors was not planned!)
The letter U was one of the more challenging one in terms of choices, making my love for the finished illustration all the more sweeter!
I love the look of the vegetables; the colors used for them, the background and frame; and just the overall composition. It is too bad this would probably not be very marketable as a pattern, etc.
Choosing a favorite is difficult but choosing a LEAST favorite is not! Yam is the “winner” of that unfortunate prize. To be honest, I think my geometric rendition is fairly good in terms of representation… I just don’t like it! It sort of looks like a hairy rectangle to me!!!! In real life they are sort of “hairy” so again… rather accurate. You will NOT be seeing a Yam pattern in my Spoonflower Shop! Ha ha ha
However, you probably WILL be seeing a Watermelon one! I see the most potential with this one either alone or incorporated in a more elaborate print. Perhaps something picnic themed. I have nothing in the works yet… maybe closer to summertime.
That about wraps it up! Overall I would say it was a strong finish to the year long challenge! Up next will be the entire year recap. In the meantime, in case you missed it, the 2019 Alphabet Art Challenge has officially begun. The theme is CITY and you can read all about it HERE.
I hope you enjoyed this in-depth look at the final set. Do you have a favorite? I would LOVE to know which!
It is that time of the year again friends. Time to announce the theme for next year’s Alphabet Art Challenge. I have to be honest… I seriously considered NOT doing a 2019 challenge. They are a lot of work and sometimes the obligation to create something was more annoying than fun. I am hoping with a little reworking of my task parameters it will be a bit easier this time around. This will be the third year I am hosting this challenge. You can read about the original 2017 Animal Challenge HERE and last year’s 2018 Fruit and Veggie Challenge HERE.
Ok. Without further ado the 2019 theme is: CITY!!!
One of the reasons I decided to do a 2019 challenge is this theme. I already have a CITY Collection in my Spoonflower Shop and I want to use this year of illustrations to grow that collection of patterns and expand into other coordinating works including greeting cards. For those who may not know, my field of study was actually Architecture and I have found that designs of mine that incorporate buildings etc tend to do well. I would like to play on this strength but also still challenge myself. I think this challenge will do both. For each letter of the alphabet I will create something CITY related. This could be a building: bank, library, skyscraper etc. But I am not limiting it to only buildings. ANYTHING that can be found in a city is fair game. (And let’s face it, creativity will probably be required for some of the letters!).
One big change I will making for this year’s challenge is that I will NOT be posting a list of prompts for each letter. My original reason for doing the lists was to give others ideas of what they could create for each letter. And while these lists DO get a surprising amount of likes on Instagram, those likes do not translate into others actually participating in the challenge. And since I don’t need the lists myself, eliminating them will take off one of the burdens from past challenges. I do plan on posting a LETTER on each start day as a reminder of the start of the next 2-week period (more on that below). For the 2018 challenge I decided to create a letter for each week. I hope to do the same this year, although I haven’t decided exactly what I want the font collection to look like.
Stylistically I will be keeping with the already established look of the existing City Collection and only use the colors in its palette. I actually enjoy working with a limited palette… I like having limitations!
This is my Around the Town design. It is a good example of the style and colors you can expect to see from me this challenge!
HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:
Now for the official “rules” for this Challenge. There are 52 weeks and 26 letters, so that means 1 letter for every 2 weeks. Even though 2019 starts on a Tuesday, I have decided to keep Monday as the starting day for each new letter. And in order to not delay a full week, Monday Dec 31 will actually kick off the letter “A”. On each Monday when a new letter begins I will post a reminder on Instagram with the letter for that 2-week period.
As it was for past years, this is JUST FOR FUN! There are not any prizes for participating. You can use any type of medium you like to create your art. And if you are late to join in or miss a letter or 2, that is totally fine! Depending on participation I will try to share other artist’s work who are regular contributors to the hashtag. So if you want to be included don’t forget to use the official tag: #alphabetcityartchallenge on all the pieces you create!
That’s it! I have one more creation left to finish for the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Challenge and then there will be recaps for both the last quarter and the entire year coming to the blog in January.
In the meantime you can check out the hashtag: #2018fruitandveggieartchallenge to see all the that has been posted this year by myself and others! (There have been 3 of us posting to it regularly). And (if you are not already) I recommend following me on Instagram so you are sure to see all the posts that are to come!
It is time for the 3rd “Quarter” Recap for the 2018 Fruit and Veggie Art Challenge! Letters N thru S were an interesting group and I am beginning to see some of the limitations of my “geometric” design criteria. Before I jump into my thoughts on this group let me share my 6 fruit and veggie creations for this portion of the challenge:
Overall I really like this group.
You may notice that the pear and quince are quite similar. This was completely intentional. I thought since their shapes are so similar AND they are in season around the same time that it would be nice to have them “go” together. While I already have a Geometric Apple pattern in my shop, I think I would like to do a new apple that matches the style of the pear and quince and create a pattern using all of them.
Also, I had an interesting creative process with a few of these. I recently created a new pattern, Geometric Taco Bar, that includes a variety of fruit/veg, including both the onion and the radish. The letter “O” fell during the time that I was making the pattern so it was created for both at the same time. As for the radish, that was created for the pattern first, but I did not feel compelled to do another “R” fruit/veg when it arrived, so I simply composed a board featuring the Radish.
I also included both the Jalapeno and Iceberg Lettuce which were created earlier in the Challenge (adding in slices of each). I love this pattern.
It is hard to pick a favorite in this group. I am actually more prone to pick a least favorite: The nectarine! It is difficult to differentiate between the specific varieties of round fruits especially in the geometric style I have chosen. I like the cut view of the nectarine better and do think it captures the essence pretty well. This difficulty is one of the limitations I was referring to at the start of this post. I am also finding that even in the “non-circle” fruit/veg that there are a lot of similar looking shapes. For example, radishes, beets and turnips, when drawn in the geometric style are also hard to differentiate. The same would hold true with leafy greens. Hopefully enough unique shapes will present themselves as I complete the challenge.
One fun aspect of this group is that half of them have been included in surface patterns! The onion and radish are both part of the Geometric Taco bar design. Additionally, I love the strawberry so much I already created a pattern for it! This pattern will be added to my shop very soon. So that is 3/6. And, as I have already mentioned, I hope to create a pattern using both the pear and quince together. One of my favorite aspect of this challenge is a library of illustrations to use in other applications.
Speaking of the strawberries, I wanted to share a look at the pattern! I have ordered the swatches, so it will be in my shop soon. But I do want to say it COULD CHANGE. I often tweak designs after seeing them printed, so this is how it will tentatively look.
This is the Classic colorway. I also created a Pinky colorway too! I’ll update this post when they are available in my shop.
And that’s a wrap! Looking forward, I expect this final batch of letters to be challenging. For the most part I do not look at the options for a letter until I make the prompt list, so there is a chance that I will be surprised, but I think the options for everything but “T” to be very limited. Follow me on Instagram if you want to see each letter (and the prompts as I create them).
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!
We have officially reached the 1/2 way point in this year’s Fruit and Vegetable themed Art Challenge! It has been a fruitful (ha ha) challenge thus far, and even though the selection is a bit leaner than with the Animal themed challenge from last year, I have managed to find a good subject for every letter! But before we dive in to the works… If this is the first time learning about this challenge you can read more about it here.
OK! Onto the good stuff! Let’s start with a look at the 7 fruit/veg I drew for this portion of the challenge:
Overall I like this batch a lot. I was able to find a good mix of round and non-round fruit/veg to draw and all of them are commonly known. I think those are the two biggest challenges. I love discovering new-to-me varieties of fruit and veggies when I put together the letter prompts, but since I am drawing these in the hopes of future uses, choosing more commonly known fruit/veg is the better choice. Plus, since I am choosing to do geometric versions, having the fruit/veg already be known helps them remain recognizable. The other challenge is that so many fruit/veg are ROUND… often they are more distinguishable cut than whole (like the honeydew) especially if I am doing stylized versions. A geometric, minimal detail round fruit or veggie could end up looking like a solid oval or circle!
Interestingly my favorite of this batch is an “oval” fruit… the kiwi! Here is a closer look:
Obviously I used a “cut” view to make it more interesting. I love how with the geometric stylization a common fruit takes on a beautiful “abstract” look. I am considering making a pattern with this one. I might not even make it a kiwi pattern! I think with some re-coloring it could simply be a geometric design element!
Speaking of patterns. I have not created any new repeating patterns (or any other art pieces) with any of these fruit/veg or ones from the first batch (my only “extra” so far is my Geometric Carrots design which I shared in the last recap). This is partially because an opportunity has not yet occurred to give me a chance to do so (like a Spoonflower contest or a new card need). But also, I think that patterns that incorporate multiple fruit/veg or have the fruit/veg combined with non-food elements, etc. will probably be the way that I will most likely use them. I expect at the END of the challenge that I will take the new produce library as a whole and work them into a pattern(s).
Another aspect of this challenge that I have been encouraging is participation from other artists. You may recall that in my first recap I shared the work of Jill Byers. I am happy to report that Jill has been continuing with the challenge and that there has been another artist, Al Donzza, who has joined and also been posting for every letter. Since we all chose the Jalapeno for our “J” letter, I thought it would be fun to see all three together. I absolutely love how different are our interpretations can be of the of the same subject.
First up is my jalapeno, which is obviously in keeping with my geometric theme. I chose to hatch this one and I am quite happy with how it looks. I did struggle with the composition of this art board though. I think the jalapeno will work better in a repeating pattern, maybe with a few other variations thrown in.
Next up is the gorgeous oil paint version by Jill Byers which is so drastically different from mine. I love how Jill has chosen to compose all her canvases so that the subjects disappear off the sides of the canvas. It adds a unique perspective which complements her realistic style and makes it more interesting! You can see all of Jill’s paintings grouped together here. It is an amazing collection!
Next up is the work of Al Donzza who has also been doing paintings but in a totally different style and medium: Watercolors! I love the vibrancy of Al’s work and the “action” worked into a usually static subject! These red jalapenos really pop!
I find it interesting that we all included two jalapenos in our compositions. But that of course, is where the similarities end!
I hope you have enjoyed this review of the second quarter of Alphabet Illustrations. If you have been thinking about joining in it is not too late! I would love to have you take part! I post a letter prompt every two weeks as a reminder of the start of the next letter and help get the creative juices flowing! And don’t forget to include the hashtag for the challenge with your posts: #2018fruitandveggieartchallenge
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!
If you love this project and want to make one for yourself, here is the direct link to the Lark Tee on Sprout Patterns already combined with this design. If you like the tee but don’t want to use Sprout Patterns you can also buy it from Grainline Studio directly. It is also available as a paper pattern.
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.