I have always been fascinated by printed fabric. The way the colours are layered one on top of the other to achieve the desired effect. Plus the way a ‘repeat’ is set up for furnishing fabrics especially those used for curtains so that multiple lengths can be joined together. Then there are ‘border’ prints (they always catch my eye) and even better are special fabrics that are printed for a specific purpose such as a Baby Cot Quilt Panels or Cushion Covers that only require the side seams to be sewn. But best of all is what I have come to know as a ‘Cut & Sew’ fabric designs.
The first example of ‘Cut & Sew’ fabric that I recall seeing was when my 1st daughter was a baby. It was a Humpty Dumpty fabric. All you needed to do was cut it out following a cutting line and then sew the pieces together following the instructions that were printed on the actual fabric. This is ‘brilliant’ I thought “I wish I could do something like that” with my own soft toy patterns. But alas the likelihood seemed extremely remote!
As time went on I had 4 children; 3 girls and a boy. When the older girls were in Primary school one of them was given some ‘Cut & Sew’ Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy fabric. I spent quite a while looking at that fabric & I knew that if possible I would like to explore the possibility of creating my own version “one day”…..but does “one day” ever come?
Many years have passed since then & during the past couple of years the kids have been encouraging me to: “Get a pattern done and sell it Online Mum” plus “Set up a Facebook page Mum and put photos of your toys on there. We can help you do it!”
My eldest set up a Facebook account for me firstly so I could see baby photos of my 1st Grand Daughter & secondly so I could get an idea about what other toy makers were doing. She had ‘Liked’ some Pages that she was following so I could become familiar with how people ran their online toy businesses. After successfully avoiding Facebook for almost a year (other than looking at the photos whenever I got an email message) I decided I needed to learn how to use it properly. I borrowed a book from the Library Called “Facebook for Seniors/For Dummies” by Marsha Collier and tied to learn how to use Facebook but there had been quite a few changes since the book had been published so there was still a lot I didn’t understand. Groups were a new Facebook feature so I joined several sewing related ones and was amazed at the number of people that were selling PDF patterns on line. One of my favourite groups is a Softie Designer Group & I have learned so much from them including tips and advice about setting up a FB Page and producing a Pattern PDF. I know I could have taken up my daughters offer to help get a FB Page started but knowing how busy the eldest 2 girls were with a husband/family/little kids and part time jobs I figured I should try to learn how to do it myself.
“One Day”….I received an emailed Newsletter from one of the Softie Designer Group women called Wendi Gratz (aka “Shiny Happy World”) that was found to be beyond exciting. She had had her own fabric printed through an online site called Spoonflower.com and I was inspired. I looked up the site and read the basics about the process and even though extremely keen to ‘try this out for myself’ I knew it had to go on the ‘back burner’ for now. Even so with my husband’s blessing I ordered and received a Colour Chart and sample swatches from them. Just call it ‘Research’. When the Chart arrived I was a little disappointed as I found the colours printed on the Kona cotton to be rather subdued & the fabric a little thinner that I had expected. Maybe I would need to sample the Cotton Canvas or the Twill instead, later when I had some spare money but realistically I would have to wait because I was committed to getting my very first sewing pattern PDF completed and offered for sale Online! Plus as my husband pointed out ‘you need to make money in order to spend money!’
The PDF was well underway but nowhere near finished when on Boxing Day 2013 my 2 eldest girls asked for a Hobby Horse each for my 3 Grand Daughters. Pink and Purple were the colours that were suggested…or maybe a nice floral. I was determined that the mini hobby horse that I had made as a gift for the eldest Grandchild (from a free PDF pattern that I had downloaded) was going to be the ‘only’ floral horse that I was ever going to make! “A Pink Horse” I exclaimed! “But I make realistic horses” I said to them … “How about I do the decorative bits pink & purple? A neckband & bridle with flowers & ribbons? I offered. They agreed and I figured that I would just sew everything from regular fabric but the ‘custom fabric’ idea persisted. Oh how I would love to do an entire horse using custom designed fabric, with realistic eyes and nostrils plus facial markings like a star or snip or blaze as a part of the printed fabric…….
Would there be time? Could I achieve that goal? Maybe… “One Day”
To Be Continued: As I usually run out of time during my busy, busy, busy days down on the Free Range Pig Farm I will need to tackle this in ‘bite sized chunks’…… sooooo keep your eyes ‘peeled’ for the following “Parts” in this series (still only vague title ideas in my brain at the moment) that are likely to cover such topics as…..Counting the Cost…… Creating the Design…..Slip on a Banana Peel Oopsy…..Fabric in the mail….. Getting it sewn….A Carousel Gift Horse…..What I would do different next time…. and anything else that is relevant & comes to mind as I write. Thanks a Bunch for reading!
FYI: Now that the 2nd Post of this series has been written I have a Link so just click HERE to see it!