I wrote an article for the Craft Industry Alliance Journal about selling your designs on Spoonflower. The Journal is usually available only to members, but they decided to make this story available to the public. Yay! Read here about how you should think about TACOS when you are creating your designs, and let me know if you have questions! I’ll do a follow up post here on the blog to answer them.
I don’t have a lot of time to sew purely for myself. A lot of my business is sewing for other reasons: making items to sell or creating pieces for exhibitions. A few weekends ago, I ended up with some free time and nothing pressing on my agenda. I wandered up to Knit & Bolt, my neighborhood fabric store, and I bought a copy of the Wiksten Shift Dress pattern.
I’d been seeing this one all over Instagram and the craft blogs. It’s a super simple shape and I could have probably drafted the pattern myself, but I like to support indie pattern designers and I honestly didn’t want to think that hard. I just wanted to spend an afternoon making a simple dress.
I had a perfect piece of fabric: a blue/green woven that I had bought to make a dress for my sister’s wedding. I ended up not having enough fabric for the dress I wanted to make for that event, so I used something else and this green went in the stash. It’s a cool weave that has blue threads in the warp and green threads in the weft so it changes color a little as it moves and it is super soft.
The pattern has a yoke on the back and I thought it would be fun to use a contrasting fabric for that and I found a scrap of this print that I designed and printed at Spoonflower on some cotton sateen. The colors were perfect together.
Since this was a new-to-me pattern designer, I remeasured myself and checked their size chart and decided based on my measurements that I should make a size 10. So I got it all sewn […]
The Americans for the Arts (AFTA) conference was held in Minneapolis this weekend. It is a national conference for art administrators primarily to get together and talk about funding, sustainability, data, evaluation, and innovation and do it in a room with other people who get it. I love being an artist, but I was really good at being an arts administrator. Art is something I have to do because it is part of who I am and I can’t not do it; being an arts admin was something I was called to do by whatever little voice in your head it is that tells you that you need to do this because you can make a difference.
I left my arts admin job about 5 years ago. It was an organization that I deeply loved, a mission I believed in and a community with a lot of untapped potential. I worked way too many hours and there were some parts of the approximately 1 million cobbled together parts of my job that I was less than wonderful at, but by and large it was a good fit. I did good work and proud of the projects and connections I got to be a part of.
But something changed. There was a transition in leadership. The board of directors decided to shift the values and culture of the organization to follow a different path. It wasn’t just “things change because of new leadership and people hate change” but a bigger organizational shift that included altering the mission statement. I’ve been on enough boards of directors to know that I don’t know the whole story about why and how that came to be, but I do know that suddenly I was part of an organization that wasn’t a good fit anymore and was moving […]
After I posted my initial comparison with Petal Cotton, Basic Cotton and Kona Cotton from Spoonflower, I had several people ask me about Cotton Sateen. Sateen is my favorite of the lightweight cotton fabrics and has been for a long time. Sateen has a different kind of weave structure. Instead of the warp and the weft threads being evenly distributed, a sateen weave lets the warp threads “float” across the surface of the fabric. I’ve always found Spoonflower’s sateen to be the best for printing fine details; designs always print very crisply. (It’s also 56″ inches wide, which means you get a lot more fabric when you order a yard of sateen.)
Holding the Sateen and the Petal cotton swatches in my hand, the Petal feels a little heavier/thicker, but when I weigh them on my postal scale, they show the same weight, so the difference is subtle.
As far as printing, Sateen still is the best for crisp sharp details. Petal is great (and a big step up), but Sateen is just a little sharper yet. On this design you can see it best in the grey-on-grey sections. The edges of the shapes are just a little more precise and sharp. The colors/saturation between the Petal Cotton and Sateen are very very similar. I can see a little difference in contrast. In this design, the greys have a little more contrast on the sateen – the darker shade is darker on the Sateen vs Petal and the yellows are a tiny bit brighter.
Overall, I think the Sateen and Petal are very similar print wise; the biggest difference is the fabric itself. I have used the Sateen to make a number of dresses and I think it is lovely to sew with. It […]
This week Spoonflower replaced two of its standard fabrics, the Basic Cotton and Kona Cotton, with a brand new Petal Signature Cotton fabric. I am a Pro member of Spoonflower so I got a sample swatch a week or two ago and I wanted to write up some of my first impressions of the new fabric.
First, I want to talk a little about the retired fabrics. I hardly ever use Kona Cotton. It’s really a quilting fabric and I am not a quilter so I don’t have a lot of reasons to use it. I always thought it was a nice quality fabric, but I don’t have a lot more to say about it since I use it so rarely.
I have always felt that the Basic Cotton was exactly that: basic. I consider it to be something like dressmakers muslin; great for testing things but nothing special. It was relatively light weight and I always felt like the print quality was a little lackluster. The colors seemed a bit dull. All in all it was an absolutely fine craft fabric but I never felt like it was something I wanted to make a finished project out of. (Sateen was my go-to favorite cotton for that.) I have ordered a lot of Basic Cotton to test colors and print scale so I have a lot more experience with it than the Kona.
When I ordered my test swatch of Petal Cotton, I chose the same design I had just printed a few weeks before on the Basic Cotton. This Rainy Drizzle design was a design challenge entry of mine from the April Showers theme.
When I first pulled the swatch of Petal Cotton out of the mailing envelope, my first impression was […]
This year was my fifth year exhibiting at the American Craft Council Show. If you don’t know about their shows, here’s a little nutshell. The American Craft Council is located in Minneapolis (formerly in NYC) and they are an organization that promotes fine craft. They put on a conference, host lots of talks and small events, and publish two magazines that “champion handmade”. Each year (for the past 30+ years) they put together a large craft show in four different locations: Atlanta, Baltimore, St Paul and San Francisco. Each is a juried show with 200+ artists working in fiber, metal, jewelry, wood, or glass.
I started with their Hip Pop emerging artists program. That’s an image of my 2017 booth in its cardboard glory. (I actually think the cardboard popups are awesome and I think my work really popped against that kraft paper color.) Hip Pop is also a juried program but allows artists to share a booth with other emerging artists. The booth fees are lower (because of the limited space) and some of the display/lighting is included, so it is a way for new artists to try out the show and see if the audience is a good fit for their work before investing in a full both space. Once you have juried in as a Hip Pop artist, you can return to the shared booth for 3 years and then “graduate” to a full sized booth for the next two. I just completed my fifth year, so next year I will need to re-jury into the regular artist pool.
This year’s show just finished on Sunday and I was talking to someone about how it went and did I make enough to cover my costs. This is something we talk about […]