Friends who know me call me a designer so I took the plunge and used a holiday photo to design a digital print fabric through Contrado UK.
Contrado have a good range of fabrics and this one is their swimwear/activewear fabric. In fact they now have 98 fabrics to choose from Contrado so I knew this project would be heaps of fun.
Even now, I can’t believe I designed my own digital print fabric with a pic I took on my iPhone this Summer. Can someone please pinch me? I sew clothes and now I can design my own printed fabrics.
I sew anything so it made sense to try a couple of fabrics and be a 'designer' with Contrado.
This Terrigal swimsuit is one of three projects I’ve designed. I took this photo during the Christmas break unaware that I could use it for a digital print fabric.
Designing your own fabric
Without having any formal design skills or skills using a design app, Contrado’s fabric design makes this easy to do. This is my first time designing fabric and I was impressed that I could do this on my iphone as well as on my laptop.
They’ve thought this through from a user’s perspective so you don’t need design skills. I have none and I was able to get this fabric printed for my new cozzies*.
I've used the Slinky Matt Lycra 210gsm. This fabric lives up to its name with its sexy and slinky form-fitting drape (#blushing).
This custom made Lycra has a smooth and slippy face, with a slightly softer inside. The firm, medium weight of this 4-way stretch Matt Lycra makes it a supportive fabric with an almost completely opaque finish. Highly elastic, it has a slightly firmer resistance than a lighter weight Lycra.
For this project I printed 3 panels of this landscape on swimwear fabric. The panel sizes are 0.5m lengths and 145cm wide. I had no real idea what pattern I would use so it made sense to get 2 lengths.
A full size cozzie is about 70cm long so when the fabric arrived, I had a few options to make the most of this print.
You can kind of see the join from this inside view.
The key idea was to place the start of the sky just above my chest. The rest of the cozzie body had the dark landscape for a more flattering look.
Print tetrus was fun and I got the best option by overlaying some of the waves at the base and some of the sky on the shoulders.
The overlay markings are on the pattern pieces.
Would you believe I’m still thinking through a two-piece cozzie style that highlights this print? I'll take any pattern suggestions you have. Just leave a comment and I'll consider it.
Making my cozzies
Making these cozzies was child’s play (Kwik Sew 2962). I added powermesh lining for the bust shelf.
As it was important to try some pattern matching, I redrew the pattern pieces and placed them on the fabric to make sure the horizon was across my chest and balanced.
This fabric design was finalised on a Thursday and I received it on the following Tuesday. I enjoyed watching the delivery tracking online as this fabric made its way from the UK to Australia.
It's only now that I googled previous reviews of Contrado and found that last year Katie (http://whatkatiesews.net/printing-with-contrado) and some UK sewing bloggers including Rosie (http://diy-couture.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/making-bespoke-fabric-in-london.html) visited Contrado last year. Have a read about their visit to Contrado.
When I ordered my fabric, I did this sight unseen. Other sewing bloggers received fabric samples. I relied solely on the website's descriptions and I am really pleased with the fabrics I've received.
If you have a particular fabric/project in mind, I would order fabric samples.
What else do they have
Well...Contrado also has a decent range custom clothing you can print on and homewares are being added. I was tempted to print on the kimono but I decided the impact of the photo on it because you would be lost.
The turnaround time for this is between 2 - 3 days.
So what are you waiting for?
Try Contrado for yourself.
*cozzies is Australian for swimsuit.