I’ve written about designing and creating my own fabric before, when I used a very simple text-based design to create bespoke fabric to use in my own sewing patterns. It’s such a fun process, and I love having my own unique fabric to use, so I have been looking out for more opportunities to make some more, and use different techniques.
Recently I have been teaching myself how to use Photoshop Elements so I can help our kids with photo editing and digital art projects. Because I’m not great at learning when I haven’t got an end in mind, I decided to try and use the programme to filter and fiddle with some photos of my collection of vintage haberdashery and then use the altered images to create a different kind of fabric design. What do you think? I used it to make my favourite easy zippered pouch pattern:
These are the photos of vintage haberdashery that I used – they aren’t terribly inspiring are they? I was delighted by the way that I was able to manipulate and improve them so easily. My first step was to remove all the background using the Magic Wand tool. I also had to use the Magnetic Select tool to outline the edges too, where they weren’t very clear and the Magic Wand struggled. It didn’t help that I took my photographs on a textured background!
Once I selected the background sections I hit the delete key on the keyboard to get rid of it and replace it with white. I then used the Paintbrush tool to remove any bits that were missed – although I didn’t want incredibly clean images because I was aiming for a fuzzy vintage look.
Then I experimented for a while with the different effects that I was able to apply to the photos. This bit really got the creative ideas rolling, it was great fun. In the end I settled on the Photocopy option in the Filter/Sketch menu. The Photocopy tool converts the image to two colours, so my next step was to choose a two colours to use. I toyed with different options:
But in the end decided that I wanted to go with something very simple and something I knew would work. So I selected blue and white as my colour options and then chose Filter… Sketch…Photocopy from the menu. And ta-da:
I then put some of the images together to create a design and used this fabulous tutorial by the people at Prinfab (my sponsors) over on The Sewing Directory website on how to create a repeat pattern. The final step was to upload it on the Prinfab page and order a Fat Quarter – by the way, Prinfab are my blog sponsors, but I paid for the fabric myself!
As soon as the fabric came I decided to make a sewing project pouch, it seemed only right! I was delighted with the look and the quality of the fabric. The blue does look different to the way it appeared on my monitor, but my recent experience of using monitor photos to create my colour curated collections of fabric and haberdashery, means that I know how different they can be.
Have you tried creating your own fabric? What techniques did you use? How were the results? I’d love to hear about your experience.