Marimekko, nuff said.
Now-a-days if you can dream up a fabric, you can get it delivered right to your hands in a matter of weeks. Two services I have tried are Spoonflower and Karmakraft. (Disclaimer: I have tried each exactly once, so my experiences are limited and you should really go elsewhere like this post at TrueUp to get a more rounded opinion.)
I will be showing more on future posts, but for now, here’s a preview:
spoonflower (l+r), bonbonkakku (center), all my designs
Spoonflower is definitely the most popular from what I can see in the crafting-blog world. They have pretty fast turn-around, contests, and even a growing marketplace of indie-designers. It’s trying to become a little fabric-design community which is pretty cool. I was happy with my prints (both one of my design, as well as some by Heather Ross and others) but I found the fabric on the coarser side of quilting cottons – they do admit to chaning their base cloths from time to time. The colors also appeared printed onto the surface of the fabric.
Karmakraft which is based in the USA but prints in China had a slower turn-around, but you’re dealing with a real person on the other end of a custom order. I was also happy to be able to send in my file in vector format which I think results in great quality for a designer. The method of printing is chemically very different, and I found the colors looked more embedded into the fabric itself. Of course, it was (at that time) more expensive, but I thought the control was worth it. (Sorry, I used up most of this fabric, so I don’t have any samples to show right now.)
Another option I have tried is BonBonKakku (yes, Finnish!) where the winners of fabric design competitions get their fabric sold in the shop. None of the royalties, but some free yardage which is pretty great! I’ve had two of my designs, icicle (holiday theme) and zest (photo theme), place/win in competitions, although only zest is in the shop right now. The the fabric is pretty thick, better for home furnishing, pillows and bags. Nice and sturdy.
Finally, for those of you hoping to break into designing a fabric collection for actual commercial sale, check out Lizzy House‘s e-book which will tell you the story of how she got her start and landed a contract, as well as great advice on creating a collection. It’s a pretty inspiring story.