Designing stuffed toys with muslin mockups

The Spoonflower design challenge this week was a cut-and-sew project that fit on a fat quarter. I love designing these kind of things. Some of my very first Spoonflower designs were sets of stuffed toys (Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, Red Riding Hood) where you could make all of the little characters as dolls or finger puppets and then they had their house which was a bag to store them all in. All of the pieces fit on a fat quarter and you just cut them out and sewed them together. The way this design challenge was set up you could make a cut-and-sew anything. Many people made stuffed animal toys, but you could do things bags, headbands or bibs as long as they fit on that 21×18 inch rectangle.

I struggled with this one a little bit. I was going to re-do a sheep stuffed toy pattern that I had in my Etsy shop years and years ago. I thought it would be easy to convert since I had already pattern tested it. But I just wasn’t excited about it and it’s a little fiddly to sew together.

Then I thought about a conversation I had with my friend Megan, who owns a local yarn and fabric store called Knit & Bolt. For a class I was teaching, I interviewed Megan about trends she saw in fabrics – what sells, what doesn’t sell, what do people come in looking for. One of the things that came up was cut-and-sew panels like these. They are popular at her shop, but one of the things she noticed about them is that although they seem like a really great beginner […]

Fabric Design Tutorial: Create a “Mini Photo Scrapbook” Fabric Design

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.48.36 AMI am going to call this tutorial the first in what I hope will be a series of “Suggestion Box Tutorials“.

I got an email from a woman this morning asking for help designing a fabric to make a keepsake zipper bag. She and a collection of friends are meeting up this summer and she wanted a little something to give each of them to commemorate the occasion. She had a great idea for what she wanted the fabric to look like: a collection of photos and little graphics that were all significant to this group of friends. The photos should be scattered like postage stamps on a white background. She even sent me a sketch.

Her question was: did I know of anywhere there was a tutorial that could show her how to do this and how could she make sure that it was just the scale and size she wanted?

Could I think of anything? No. So, this seemed like the perfect tutorial for me to write.

What does your intention tell you about your design?

If you have had the chance to take a class from me, you know that one of my tips for creating really successful fabric designs is to design with intention. The intended use for your fabric can give you so many hints about how you need to set up your design files.

This fabric is intended to be a lining for a small zipper bag. So we know that will use pieces of fabric that are maybe 10-12″ square. If I create a repeating tile that is larger than 12″, I won’t see […]

2016-07-19T09:53:53-05:00Everything Else, Spoonflower & Fabric Design, Tutorials|Comments Off on Fabric Design Tutorial: Create a “Mini Photo Scrapbook” Fabric Design

New Work: Shadows, Spoonflower & Davie




Digitally printed polyester pique.

I had the photo studio set up for another big project shoot, and I realized that I hadn’t had a chance to talk about this dress that I made this spring. The pattern is a modified version of the Davie dress by Sewaholic. I love the way this one fits and I have made several versions of it. The fabric is Spoonflower’s performance pique.

The design is a combination of cut painted paper and text. The paper design started out like this and I actually used it in a fabric collection of “Fish Market” designs that I have up at Spoonflower.

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I layered two copies of that cut paper together and then cut text from one layer. The text is the closing speech delivered by Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear…”

Why that text? Because I like it. And Midsummer is my favorite Shakespeare play. I wanted to do a text based design, where it wasn’t something necessarily readable, but text was a design element.

I manipulated the colors, but you can still see all of the texture of the painted papers in the design. The tie is made from a small repeated section of that aqua with black polkadots pattern you see below.

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A little note about the fabric. It’s polyester, and I feel like I spend a lot of time defending things for being polyester. This is awesome polyester. Seriously. […]

Slideshow: Wrap Skirts, Designs in progress

I am so excited about these skirts!  Here is a slideshow of some of the designs I have been working on.  I don’t know if all of them will make the cut but I wanted to share my favorites so far.  Each mockup has a couple of detail “swatches” so you can see a little more about the print and a very brief description of where the print came from.  Which is your favorite?

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