Print your own fabric on demand services compared.

screenshot of websiteThere are a number of services online that will take a digital design and print small lengths of fabric. Unlike the big print houses they provide a service for small runs and do not have expensive set up costs that make it prohibitive for a studio based textile practitioner to use.

Many people know of Spoonflower and Karma Kraft ( added later – Karma Kraft are no longer in business) but did you know about Fabric on Demand?  Each service offers a slightly different product and it is sometimes hard to compare what is what.

Kim of True Up performed a Digital Fabric Printing Experiment and sent digital files to each and compared the printed results.

You will find a comprehensive illustrated comparison of print colour and quality on her blog alongside a very useful spreadsheet of the results of her research which Kim is giving away as  PDF file on her website.

Friday Freebie: How to make fabric from scrap thread

full jar of threadsEarly in the year I posted photos of my empty Orts jar and said I had thought of a way of using them.  If you are not sure what Orts are, or want to track back and get the back story on this the conversation it is here 

After collecting these Orts for a year I thought I would share with you what I did to make orts fabric.

Dissolvable fabric looks like plastic and is sometimes called wash away stabilizer or Water-Soluble Vilene is used to make freeform non woven material. Some brand names are Dissolve, Solvy, Aqua Film, Rinseaway.

lay out threads

In this example I am using the wash away hospital bags as water soluble stabilizer.

With all these products the principal is the same. You stitch on the product then wash it away and are left with only the thread you stitched. Some really lovely work is created using this technique.

You can make little samples and join them together or do what I did which is to make a larger piece. With this technique you can not only use up your orts but you can use embroidery threads, wool, textured yarns, silk bbon ends and tiny scrap fabric.

Take a piece of dissolvable fabric and lay the threads evenly as possible but look for interesting combinations of colour and texture.

pin the threads well

Place the other piece of dissolvable fabric on top so that you have a sandwich with the threads in the middle. Pin it well.

make a pocket

I sew around the edge to create a pocket. This stopped bits falling out of the sandwich as you work!

sew with a sewing machine over the pocket

Sew over the top of the dissolvable fabric in a freeform net like pattern. This stitching will trap the threads. I used different coloured thread and added some metallic threads.

wash the fabric out well

Wash well under cold water and the dissolvable fabric will disappear, leaving just your sewn threads.  Iron this dry under baking paper. If it is a little stiff you have not washed out all the dissolvable fabric. Wash it again.

fabric made from orts

I could make a scarf from this. The photograph does not quite do it justice as there is metallic threads and silk ribbon scraps in it. It has far more life in it.

I think I will treat it like a fabric and feature small pieces of it in works that can be beaded and embroidered.

Anyway that is what I did with my Orts. I now have an empty jar ready and waiting for next year!