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Design your own fabric by hand

03 March 2014 09:00

Previously on ‘Would you like to design your own fabric?’ 

This is for those of you who are not trained designers, but who would like to have a go at designing your own fabric.  

You can create a fabric design however you like – by hand, on the computer, with a photograph – whichever way best suits you and the design you’re working on.  

Today we’ll look at hand-drawn designs.

If you can draw or paint, go ahead and draw a design.  Again, a well-spaced picture is better than a pattern, unless the repeat is straightforward.

I can’t really draw, so for my hand-drawn design, I first looked for inspiration on Google.   I decided to look at Lilies of the Valley.   The best image I found was this one:

I started off by tracing the elements of the design.  Sometimes, you may want to rearrange things, add in extra bits etc.   In this case, I omitted bits I didn’t want and lengthened the stem:

If you’re not much of an artist, it can be useful to copy from a drawing, rather than a photograph, or use a drawing or painting for ideas about colour.

I coloured my drawing with pastels (they’re a bit messy to use, but you can get good shading and blend colours nicely with them.  I’ve always liked them, since I first used them at Junior school!) and then scanned the image into the computer.


I added a background colour in Photoshop, (you could use Paint if you don’t have Photoshop), then uploaded the design to our website to decide which pattern repeat to use.

Here’s my hand-drawn design printed onto cotton, all ready to make into a vintage-style blouse.

If you use images from Google or books, please be aware of copyright.  Some Google images are copyright-free, but it’s not always easy to find out about.  Usually, if it’s just for your own use, you will be OK, but you cannot offer for sale a design which is copied from someone else’s work without their written permission.  If you can, do your own thing.

If, by now, you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and fancy having a go at a more complicated all-over pattern, there’s a good tutorial here on how to create a hand-drawn repeat.

For more ways of creating fabric designs, check out these blog posts: Using a scanner to create a design, Design your own fabric using Inkscape and Creating a design with pattern-filled shapes