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How to design your own fabric

How to design and print fabric

This beginner’s guide will teach you how to print and design your own fabric. It was written in conjunction with fabric printers Prinfab.

Sometimes you just can’t find the perfect fabric you want for a project. Maybe you need a specific colour or design, or perhaps you have a drawing you want to use or a design idea of your own. It’s quick and easy to get your own design printed on fabric. Below we will tell you how, from sourcing an image to finding the right fabric base.

Creating your fabric design

How to print your own fabric
I’m using a stock image from Shutterstock for my print

There are 4 ways you can get a design to print onto fabric:

   1) You can use a drawing or image. Do you want to print one of your children’s pictures? Are you handy with the colouring pens and want to print your own drawing?

Tip – The best way to upload a hand drawn design is to scan it on at a 180DPI minimum so you don’t get a blurry image. Scanning removes the shadow you get when photographing a pictures, see tips here.

2) Use a purchased design. You can find a huge range of images to use on sites like Creative Market or Pattern Bank, or stock sites. The image used in this example is from Shutterstock

Tip – If you’re wondering what file format you need. JPGs work best for designs with a lot of texture, whereas TIFFs are best for designs with blocks of colour.

   3) You can design your own image, either using paid software like Photoshop or Illustrator or see our tutorial on using free software to make your own fabric design.

Tip – If you are looking to colour match your design to other fabrics, your décor or items in your home use this colour chart to create a swatch of similar colours to print to find the right shade.

  4) Hire a freelancer. If you have a set design in mind but lack the skills to create it yourself you can hire people on Fiverr or People per hour to do that for you.

How to upload your fabric design and get it printed

Pop over to the create page on the Prinfab website to upload your initial design. The default preview shows you how your design will look on a fat quarter. There are several options down the right-hand side to adjust your design to suit your requirements.

Fabric printing in the UK

Rotate – You can rotate the design by 90, 180 or 270 degrees to change its orientation on the fabric.

Repeat – This one is fun to play with, changing the repeat of your design makes it look very different. Try the different options to see which you like best.

Scale – You can increase and decrease the size of your image on the fabric by changing the scale. However, do bear in mind that if you go larger than the original image it can negatively affect the quality of the image.

Best British fabric printer

Material – Prinfab have a large range of fabrics to choose from, you can pick the one you want here. If you’re unsure which fabric you need you can order a sample pack to see and feel all of their fabric range. Alternatively, you can visit their fabric page, click on any fabrics which interest you to view the tags below the description which say what the fabric is best used for. Click on any of those tags to find more fabrics which can be used for the same purpose.

Tip – Clicking the preview button under the material type adds the texture of the fabric to your print. Such as the image below showing the natural linen.

Be your own textile designer

Size – Prinfab highly recommend you order a swatch initially to check how your image comes out on the chosen fabrics, and to allow you to check the colours too. They offer 3 for 2 on swatches so why not try a few different fabric bases? Once you know you are happy with your design you can choose from fat quarters or meterage.

Then just pick your quantity and add it to the basket and complete the checkout process. It even tells you when your order will be shipped so you know when to expect your fabrics.

The fabric will print as per the preview you see on screen. However, do bear in mind the colours on your monitor may not be exactly the same on the fabric, that’s why a swatch is recommended first.

Useful tips and tricks

If you would like to print several images across one length of fabric, you would need to create a collage that includes all the images in one larger file before uploading it to the site. If you don’t have access to Photoshop, there are free alternatives which are great for creating files of this kind such as Photopea and BeFunky.

Their printers are only compatible with the RGB colour space so you should save your files in the sRGB colour profile, with the ICC profile embedded, for the most accurate colour reproduction.

How we created our samples

Swatch 1- Classic Plain 156gsm, regular repeat, 50% scale.

Swatch 2- Lawn 75gsm, center repeat, contain scale.

Get fabrics printed for dressmaking

Swatch 3- Natural Luxury Linen 228gsm, center repeat, 175% scale.

Design your own fabric at home

Once you’ve seen your swatches (ours are below) and decided which fabric base and version of your print you want just pop back onto the Prinfab website and order the amount of fabric you need for your project. You will then have your own unique fabric to use. 

Can I print my own fabric?

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