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Does size still matter?

13 October 2014 14:17

I wrote about size issues a while back.  If you haven't read that, you might like to read it now.

Size still seems to be challenging us.  I've had a few emails recently, with comments and questions, so I thought it was time to write about it again.

Inches or Centimetres?

Some of the confusion is caused because we work with 2 systems.  We're based in the UK, so our fabrics are sold in cms.  You can buy metres 150cms or 112 cms wide, fat quarters 56 cms wide x 50 cms long or swatches 20 cms square.  However, in some parts of the world, people work in feet and inches (or yards and inches).  Even in this country, many of us use Imperial measurements, at least some of the time, when we're sewing.  Most of us, for instance, use a 5/8" seam allowance.  So, to help those of us who can visualise 8", but not 20cms, we have put approximate Imperial dimensions alongside the metric ones.  These are just a guide to sizes, not an exact conversion.  Just ignore them if you find them confusing - you obviously don't need them!  In addition, the fabric industry is slightly schizophrenic.  It's not unknown to buy 50 metres of 60" wide fabric! 


Many people prefer dpi (dots per inch) to dpc (dots per centimetre).  Our printer works in dpi, so that is what we have used on our web site.  Conversions between the two are messy - 150dpi is 59.06 dpc.  Most people find that number more difficult to work with.

As I've said before, I'm not a designer, so my view of things is probably different to yours if you're a 'serious' designer.  If I am designing, I tend to set my canvas up at 150 dpi, because I know that will work with the web site and the printer.  You may have good reason to design at a different resolution, but, when you upload your design, the default size is 150dpi.  This means that your design will show at the 150dpi size, which may not be the size you designed it.  You can change the size on the web site, by clicking on the larger and smaller buttons.  The size will change in 50dpi increments and will not go below 150dpi.  Please remember that our web site is there for you to upload your designs and send them to us for printing.  It's not design software.  If you do your designing in design software, using a resolution compatible with our web site, (150dpi or 300dpi for instance) then I don't think you should have any problems.  (But please do tell me if I'm wrong about that.)


I have Photoshop Elements, rather than the full works, so this may be different for you, but, as far as I can tell, if you change the dpi in Photoshop, the size changes too, and vice versa.  However, in (which is free to download), you can change the size and the dpi independently.  So, if the size of your design is critical, but your dpi doesn't fit the web site, you can change the dpi without changing the size.  (When you change the dpi, the size does actually change, so make a mental note of the size before you change the dpi.  You can then change the size back to what it was before; the dpi won't change.)  This may be the easiest way to get everything as you want / need it.

Whilst we are talking about size, a little apology from me.  Due to crossed wires between me and the web-designers, the 150cm wide fabric shows at 156cms.  I'm sorry about that - I'll get it fixed in due course.

I hope that helps.  If not, or if you have any comments, questions or additional help or ideas, please comment below.  (You do have to be signed up to Disqus, but it's fairly quick and easy to do and quite a lot of blogs use it.)

Looking forward to hearing from you....