Here is the reason for my long absence from this little corner of Blogland:Hours and hours of work...
Yes, those eagle-eyed fabricspotters amongst you might recognise this one. It's 'In the neighbourhood', in colour. Crazy colour, inspired by the hues of the Bo-Kaap and Portmeirion, two of my favourite places in the world. I'm getting ahead of myself a bit, it's not even on fabric yet, but hopefully I'll soon have a sample at least. I'm telling you about it now, because I'd like to share my process, and I haven't got much else to write about, anyway :)
First I had to get some design software, and my budget didn't allow for Illustrator. I discovered Inkscape, 'an open source Vector graphics editor', which to me means I can draw images that can be reduced or enlarged without a change to the resolution, for free. It took me ages to decide to download it; the home page looks extrememly boring and unassuming. I'm so glad I did though, because it's given me the confidence to start working on textile designs. I'm still learning a lot, but here are a few tutorials that I've found useful:
Inkscape compared to Illustrator
General Inkscape manual
Creating a pattern repeat
Inkscape has a few drawbacks I've discovered so far, but I find there's a big online community with many tutorials available when you do a Google search.
Once you have your design, you need to get it printed. I've been very happy with my screenprinted fabric, but it's restricted me to working in one colour. Digital printing seems to be the answer, as there is no difference in cost between printing one colour or a thousand. Spoonflower is probably the cheapest way to get fabric digitally printed if you're working in small quantities, and it's really easy to use. One problem people seem to have is that the colour on your screen is different to the actual printed colour. This tutorial series was very useful to me: Spoonflower fabric development series by MammaMadeDesigns (she also uses Inkscape); look in the RHS colomn of her blog for the whole series. You can read a little bit more about it from a previous post. Of course you don't need to use a vector programme to design for Spoonflower; you can draw something by hand and scan it in, or use Photoshop, do a collage, etc.
I'll report back with my fabric as soon as it arrives, fingers crossed it's just the way I imagine it!