Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Fabric Designs and a new summer dress

Have you wanted to design your own fabric? I have always thought it would be fun and a great way to get all the colors I want (which might just be too many for a lot of people). Recently I was contacted by My Fabric Designs and offered the opportunity to try out their fabric. Why not jump to the end of the story?  I am impressed.

They have a lot of different fabric choices including cotton voile, cotton sateen and poplin, a cotton silk blend (which is luscious and I want to try soon). Also silk crepe de chine, a variety of knits, polyester woven and knit, some fabrics suitable for athletic wear and also for home dec or quilting. So quite a variety. Since I am only interested in making clothes  - for the most part - I decided to try the cotton poplin and start with one color on a white background.

blu wh dress on form2

I am so far from being artistic in terms of painting, drawing or anything like that, consequently I created something in Photoshop and then did some research on repeating patterns. The My Fabric Designs website has a tool to upload or create patterns and then further tools that tile or place the graphic in different ways. For this first one I used some basic edits to have a repeating pattern without obvious seams where the print repeats. I also figured using a small and busy print would disguise that issue. Once I saw the finished fabric it actually showed me more about how it works so I will apply that for another one.

The fabric quality is really nice. The cotton poplin has a printed area of 42 inches wide so I ordered 3 yards. I figured I would make a dress or a shirt but when it arrived I decided on summer dress. In my next post I will give some more details on this dress as it is a mashup of two Simplicity Amazing fit patterns and I think fairly successful. Also I washed it in the machine, on warm temp just like any other fabric and then put it in the dryer as I would cotton (on the high heat temp). It came out perfectly, the color seemed exactly the same as before washing, and then pressed very nicely.

If you are at all interested in trying this out I suggest you order the swatch book which is sold on their website, it is $ 5.00 and well worth it to see the various fabrics and also how the colors print on the different fibers. The printable yardage on the various fabrics ranges from 42 inches wide to 62 inches wide so you really have to look carefully when ordering so that you have enough fabric for your project. The prices range from around $ 17 per yard for the cotton to around $ 38 per yard for the silk so quite a spread.

swatch book

I'm sure this fabric looks different in every photo which depends on the light and time of day and my not so great photography skills. My pal Alice took some pics of me wearing the dress, so here you go. This was in the early evening shade under the apple tree so the blue in the dress looks quite a bit different.
All in all I am really happy with this summery cotton dress and since it is about 90˚F here today it will get worn very soon!

dress close up blue white

Here is a better look at the fabric, close up on the dress form and juxtaposed with the actual image that I uploaded.

fabric design and real fabric

They have a lot of choices on the website, most of them seemed like quilting cottons at first glance but I suppose a lot of them can work for different garments, children's clothes or especially home dec like pillows or other home items. I think the option to create a fabric to recover dining room chairs or something like that would be fantastic if you had a specific pattern and color family that you wanted.

Here's another look at the whole dress. And my weirdly gleeful expression :)  I am probably just thinking summer ! sandals ! sleeveless dresses !   (my sympathies to those of you who are getting a late blast of winter - I hope it goes away soon)
Also that is a shower of pink and white petals on the ground, from the apple tree blossoming away behind me. Too bad they are not very nice apples, but someone told me yesterday that I should offer them to people in the area with horses and there are plenty of those nearby. So I will remember that when September comes.

blue white fabric design dress front view

I have ordered two other fabrics from My Fabric Designs, one is a cotton interlock knit and the other a cotton sateen. The knit is a really nice quality so that will make up a dress and the sateen is a bit more lightweight than I expected, more like a voile. I think it will make a pretty top.
You can also upload your designs and then order a fat quarter or a 5" x 7" swatch which seems like a good investment in order to see if you like the way it prints and the texture/weight of the fabric you choose.

Note: I received this fabric as an allowance from My Fabric Designs and was able to select the fabric and design of my choice, and sew whatever I chose from that fabric.

Next up more details on this particular dress, such as what pattern(s) I used, what Vogue pattern I wanted to use but was too cheap to buy since I have sooooo many patterns already, and how I fit as I sewed to good effect, and now have another bodice pattern which I can adapt to other things.

Happy spring sewing, 

The roses are blooming all over the garden this week, and this is such an old plant which gets a bit scraggly after first bloom, but I don't have the heart to remove it. Because that color! And a white Spanish lavender behind it that appeared next to the purple lavender. My favorite type of plants, the volunteers.

April garden


  1. Lovely dress! And how exciting to be able to design your own fabric! Looking forward to your notes on the construction of the dress.

  2. This is the perfect summer dress! What a cool way to come up with your own unique look. I will have to check out the process myself when I have some extra time!

  3. Love this! The fabric is so cool, I don't care what you say about not being an artist. Great fit on the dress, too, as always ;)

  4. The fabric design looks great as does the fit. Great job and perfect for summer.

  5. It's 90 over there already? How terrible. :(

    I just love your design. You are an artist to me! It looks so nice in your summery dress.

  6. You give yourself short shrift in the design department! I love the fabric and the dress is lovely. Good fit of fabric and pattern.

  7. That is so awesome! Now I have another thing to add to my list of things to do - designing my own fabric! I really like the design you created and I love the dress. It is funny how much the color seems to change depending on the lighting, etc., isn't it? I would keep the rose, too! Looking forward to seeing your other fabric creations and reading about the details in creating the dress above! :-)

  8. The fabric print is really beautiful! The dress is very nice and the fit is perfect, like all the things you make. You look great!

  9. Hi Beth, I'm so happy I decided to read your blog. (Saw the link on Goodbye Valentino). I scan a lot of blogs, but give up if we don't click! You've certainly clicked with me on so many points...a love of jackets, coats and cut in armholes! Now what's the chances of that? And who can live in my favorite part of our country! So I love seeing and hearing about your garden.
    Your design here is beautiful. Designing fabric is a new area and looks very interesting. Best of all is the superb fit on the bodice. You nailed it. Thanks for the detailed info on your muslin procedure. Believe me, no novel captures my attention like a good read of fitting issues. And successful ones at that. Count me in as a loyal reader!

  10. Wow such a beautiful dress! And you put so much effort and thought into the making, I wish I would do the same.

    Silk Chiffon Fabric NYC

  11. Like This!!!! Color and print make it so pretty.Thank you so much for sharing. There are also variety of fabrics on which you can make custom fabric printing to enhance the beauty of this dress