March 19, 2014

I remember just two years ago first discovering the small world of indie pattern makers.  I found Megan Nielsen and Grainline at about the same time and I was seriously blown away.  I thought that it was the most brilliant idea that I had ever heard of and I couldn’t wait to dive into this new community.  Now, just a couple of years later, there are more indie pattern companies than I could name.  There are companies geared to men, lingerie, rockabilly, modern, children, and every other niche you could think of.  They cater to every skill level from complete beginner to couture.  I love supporting indie pattern makers and I say the more the merrier.

In the last few months I feel like I am seeing another avenue open up for home sewers and sewing bloggers.  It seems like we are desiring to not only have custom patterns, but also be able to create the fabric to go with it.  As some one who agonizes over finding the perfect fabric for a project – and seems to have a hard time finding it – I am super excited about this.  I think that this is a trend that is going to continue to grow as companies become more aware of the growing home sewing community and the desire to have fabrics geared towards our tastes.  Here are some of the recent happenings that I’ve noticed in the way of fabric design:

Cotton + Steel : I watched their vimeo story about a month ago and felt so inspired.  They launch their first line of fabrics in May as a collaboration of 5 designers with RJR fabrics.  They seem to have a rockabiliy vibe to their designs and from what I can tell will mostly be producing cottons.

Art Gallery Fabrics – AGF announced earlier this month that they are creating a Limited Edition run of fabrics in collaboration with three sewing bloggers/patternmakers.  While most of these fabrics are printed as quilting cottons I was really excited to hear that they are also releasing some of their designs in knits and voile too.  I hear that they are going to continue this collaboration with other designers in the future.

By Hand London – This young and hip company once purely created sewing patterns but just recently announced that they will also be selling custom print on demand fabric.  They have great taste so I can only imagine that their fabric is going to be killer.  They launched a kickstarter campaign to buy their own digital printer.  You can read more about it and contribute here.

Spoonflower – While they are by no means new to the scene I can only imagine that with the new competition they will continue to expand and find ways to connect with their audience.  In fact I noticed that they just added a new lightweight modern jersey fabric option.  I have found some really amazing designs while exploring their archives and I love that they offer silk in addition to other fabrics.

As excited as I am about the options above, I still think that there is plenty of room in the market especially for modern, less feminine designs in apparel fabrics such as silk, rayon challis and linen.  I can’t wait to see this industry expand and see what is next.

How about you guys?  Have you noticed this new trend starting as well?  Are you excited about these new collaborations?  Have you ever tried custom fabric before?

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  • Reply Jennifer Wiese March 19, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    as a fabric designer and screen printer (and sewer!!) i have definitely noticed an increase in interest in fabric design. i think people are wanting a new level of creative outlet and customization in their handmade clothing and other sewing projects. i’m interested in seeing how this trend develops. printing your own fabric (by hand, not digitally) is a lot of time consuming work, but also very rewarding. digital printing is still pretty expensive. each method produces very different results. we need to get you into my fabric screen printing class! screen printing linen is really fun.

  • Reply Jenny March 19, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    I’m so excited about this trend – particularly in the area of good printed jersey. The only caution I have is that I’ve had rotten experiences with Spoonflower (and I know others who have too) – the dye totally ran out of both the jersey and the cotton satin that I bought from them, so proceed with caution there!

  • Reply puu March 19, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    while i do not have jennifer’s expertise, i also love the rare chances i get to design my own fabric by hand – and i am just now starting to explore some of the print-on-demand options.

  • Reply angela March 19, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    My day job is doing textile design, so I agree, it is so exiting to see this becoming a hot trend! The one bad thing about doing it for someone else for a living is that you get little time to do it for yourself, it has been one of my goals, and I am definitely exited about BHL’s new venture!

  • Reply Lori March 19, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    I find this very exciting, too, we will see what the future holds. I am like you, agonize over fabric decisions. My problem is the idea in my head or in print for a garment and I just can’t find the right fabric to match this idea, altering my plans is never easy for me.

  • Reply Erin || Sewbon.com March 19, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Love this idea! I’m so excited for more options!

  • Reply Lady Stitcher March 19, 2014 at 12:36 PM

    I think you’re right, there’s a definite push for more fabric options and a corresponding jump in the availability of custom-designed fabric. It’s such a great idea! I find it really hard to find the right fabric for my projects too, and it’s especially tough if you have a plan or design in your head and can’t match it because of your fabric options.

  • Reply Helen March 19, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    I think it’s brilliantly exciting! I particularly love that BHL are UK based (as I am too). I’m nota sure I really have the talent, skills or software to design my own fabric, but I look forward to seeing what others come up with. And like you, I often struggle to find the “right” fabric, so am hoping this opens up more opportunities for people like us!

  • Reply emily.marie March 19, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    Yes! I love the idea of designing my own textiles, but need to find time to put it into practice. I bought a few practical & inspiring books on the subject last year; hopefully I’ll start practicing soon!

  • Reply Madalynne March 20, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    I haven’t tried custom made fabrics before, but I have noticed the surge. I think By Hand London jumping on the bandwagon is a true indicator that this is going somewhere and not a trend.

  • Reply Cindy March 21, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    I am seeing this trend more and more do designing ones own fabric. I enjoy being able to download a pattern and immediately get started on constructing a garment. The new fabric making trend is now opening my eyes. My biggest dilemma in my sewing is NOT what pattern I’ll be using but rather what fabric. My interest is peaked.

  • Reply daniel April 11, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    I think you’re right, there’s a certain force for more material choices and a corresponding leap in the accessibility to custom-designed material. It’s such an excellent idea!

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