I came across digital fabric printing just over a year ago when I was starting to seriously think about designing my own fabric and products. I had thought I'd do screen-printing or block-printing however the reality of the space and materials required, particularly with two littlies at home, pushed me to look into other options.
I thought I'd share how I've found it, what I like about it and some of the challenges I've discovered and (mostly) overcome.
Printing my designs digitally has had a big impact on the style of my designs as I can reliably reproduce watercolour textures from my paintings which has become a strong and consistent feature of all my designs so far.
It has also enabled me to easily scale my patterns to fit the exact size of the fabric required for each of my products so the pattern placement is consistent and exactly as I want it.
My background is in graphic and web design so I am comfortable with setting up digital image files and it’s nice to be able to utilise this in my new venture. I’ve discovered I can actually print some of my cut lines directly on the fabric which is brilliant and saves me a lot of time.
What I’ve found challenging
It is still relatively early days for small-scale digital fabric printing and took a while to find the right company that could print on the specific fabric I wanted. This has meant a fairly big reliance on the printer I’ve chosen to work with.
I’ve found colour-matching surprisingly time consuming and have had to do quite a bit of testing to get it right for each new design. This is particularly because I prefer to print on natural (un-bleached) fabric.
All in all...
I'd still love to do other types of fabric printing in the future but for now digital fabric printing is working wonders for me.
If anyone reading this would like to know more please do get in touch or if you are also printing fabric digitally and have some tips you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you!
Here are some websites that you might find useful if you're interested in looking into digital fabric printing yourself. This list is not exhaustive by any means but includes websites and companies I’ve used or looked into in some depth.
Lacuna press (UK) print all my fabric at the moment and have some great information on their website for preparing images and colour-matching. Jane is always really quick to respond to my enquiries and also super fast in printing and delivering my fabric.
Spoonflower (Germany) is where I have my labels printed. The website is easy to use and they have a huge choice of fabric. I think they’d be a great option for printing on bleached/white fabric.
Elobina (UK) is a company I’ve just come across as they’ve only recently set up in the UK but I’ll be looking into them some more as they have some nice fabrics and an interesting concept.
Frankie and Swiss (Australia) are based in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve just received some beautiful fabric swatches from them and they run a great looking series of workshops.