Friday, 28 May 2010

Fabric Friday - Kristopher K Design

Yeah it's last I hear you sigh!  It has seemed like a long, tiring week as we come to the end of half term here and I know I am looking forward to a week at home with no school runs.  Anyway it's Friday so that means it is....cue fanfare...... Fabric Friday!  This week I have focused on designing your own fabrics, looking at Spoonflower and The Fabric Press,so todays Fabric Friday will feature a successful Spoonflower designer, Kristopher K Design

I have often said blogs are like leads to another!  I came across Kris's blog earlier this year whilst looking at anothers blogroll and now reguarly read about the latest goings on with Kristopher K Design.  The designs are gorgeous and I know are selling well with Spoonflower, but I wanted to know a bit more about designing your own fabrics and working with Spoonflower, so I asked Kris to be interviewed for todays feature offering some insight into this.

 It is always easy to assume that a designer set out on a path for a design career but as I discovered recently Heather Bailey planned to study medicine but changed her mind during Pre Med studies. Did you always want to be a designer or was there an alternative path?
The simple answer to this question is yes, I have always wanted to be a designer! I am fortunate to come from a creative family, (that’s been actively involved in various disciplines of Art in Australia, for generations.) From my earliest memories, I have loved Art, Colour, and Design so the main question for me growing up was not: Do I want to be a designer … but rather … what do I want to design ;)

When did you join Spoonflower and how did you learn about this great concept of having your designs printed without high minimum order quantities?

I joined up with Spoonflower, as soon as I discovered them, a little over a year ago.

When I was a young child, our family went on a holiday to England. During this time (in the 1970’s) the design aesthetic at home included clean bold colours in Green, Green and more Green :) chrome and glass tables, sea grass wallpapers, wood veneers etc - following this holiday to England, and in particular my visit to “Liberty” in Great Marlborough Street London, my love affair with English Country Design, pretty floral patterns and printed textiles was born.

I produced my first hand printed fabrics in Sydney, in the 1980’s after completing a Screen Printing course at Seaforth TAFE, but I’ve been looking for ways to commercially print fabrics ever since … Enter Spoonflower … and the answer to my wish for affordable, custom printed textiles, in an infinite palette of colours, on lovely natural and organic base fabrics.

How many collections do you currently have available with Spoonflower and how often do you produce a new collection?

I have several collections at Spoonflower, in dreamy, nature inspired palettes, as well as many stand-alone designs, suitable for Apparel, Homeware or Interior Design applications.

I produce new “designs” every day … my studio is full of these design thoughts, jotted down as sketches and scribbles … I love the organic nature of design, and the freedom of working from my own studio, as more often than not, it’s 2am when I find “The Zone” - The moment when seemingly unrelated tangents, ideas, scribbles and colours come together in a perfect fit.

Are you a doodler with a pad of paper constantly near by or do you have a specific time to work on designs?
I’m sure you can guess, from my last answer, I’m definitely a doodler, with an organic approach to design.
I don’t have an A – Z list of requirements when it comes to designing: I would describe my design approach as a series of words like: Escape, Relaxed, Inspired, Calm, Dreamy, Quiet … etc … emotions, I hope to mirror in the style of my prints.

Your designs are also available through Zazzle as shoes, are there plans for other fashion collections?

Yes I am always looking for creative ways to grow as a designer and currently there are some exciting developments on the horizon.

Watch this space!

When designers block sets in, where or how do you find new inspiration?

I find inspiration literally everywhere:  I love nature and nature inspired colour palettes, and I adore French Provincial and English Country Interiors: but my signature Interior Design Style juxtaposes these casual, relaxed styles together with clean and classic elements from modern architecture and design.

I am inspired by the world around me, from a simple feather, flower or leaf; to a movie; a song; a book; or a painting … Design for me is about discovering and recording beauty.

I know you have just allowed your designs to be available for people like me to sew items for sale, which is fantastic. Was this a difficult decision or natural progression for Kristopher K Design?

This was a natural progression: and an easy decision to make. I am so humbled, by the incredible support that my designs have received, since first appearing in the Spoonflower Marketplace.

I would like to thank everyone who supports independent designers: It really is such a buzz, to see the amazing creations that people are making from my fabric designs.

Thanks so much Kris for taking the time to share your experience of Spoonflower and here's to a successful year with your designs.

Of course I couldn't go without sharing my favourite of Kris's designs......

There are many more and it is very difficult to choose!

To see all of Kristopher K Designs visit Spoonflower.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Fabric Press - be a fabric designer

Yesterday I featured Spoonflower, an innovative company based in the US allowing you to be a fabric designer.  Today I am going to feature the UK's answer to Spoonflower! Based in Cheltenham, England The Fabric Press offer you the chance to have your designs turned in to a digitally printed fabric or even a bag, a tea towel or a cushion.  The Fabric Press has been developed by the business partners behind Rosablue, who already offer made to order home accessories. At The Fabric Press they have deveolped the idea of allowing other creative folk to design fabric, as an extension of the service offered by Rosablue. You can choose from 5 fabric weights to have your designs printed onto and can order a minimum of 50cm or a maximum of 3 metres at a cost of £36 per metre.  There is also a pattern clinic available to help with your designing before submitting for print, helping you with pattern repeats and difficult images.  Whilst the Spoonflower community is bigger and allows more options for printing I love the concept of The Fabric Press, as an innovative, small British business allowing more people to design fabric.

For all my Fabric Friday followers I have interviewed the designer behind Kristopher K Design for tomorrows feature, gaining an insight into being a textile designer.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

You Can Be A Fabric Designer

A few weeks ago I discovered Spoonflower. Is it a new item of cutlery or even a new flower? No Spoonflower is neither of these but a fairly new business offering you the chance to be a textile designer.  For many years only design houses produced fabric by the bolt, employing designers but then in 2008 along came an alternative; Spoonflower.  After a complaint from their wives that they wanted to be able to print fabric to use for their curtains, two men came up with a revolutionary concept in textile design, allowing their wives to be the designers without the costly expense of minimum order quantities. Unsurprisingly they were not alone in wanting to design their own fabric with Spoonflower now having around 70,000 members designing their own fabric for their use or to sell. 

The Spoonflower website allows you to upload images that can then be used in pattern repeats in a vast array of colours even without prior knowledge of design. Once you are happy with your design you can order a swatch, a fat quarter, a metre or more and your designs are then available for reprinting anytime.  In addition to this you can offer your designs within the Spoonflower marketplace, allowing other people to purchase fabric printed with your designs, therefore allowing people to be independant textile designers without a huge outlay.  There is no minimum order, yet if you want to allow others to purchase your designs you will need to purchase a swatch of your fabric, with a metre of fabric starting at $18.  Spoonflower offer different fabrics to have your design printed onto including organic cotton.

Now there are no too can be a fabric designer....I'm certainly planning on having a try very soon!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Fabric Friday- Clothkits

There has been a little reminiscing in our house over the past couple of days as our eldest son turned twelve yesterday and our daughters had found some old photo albums tucked away on a shelf.  Lots of cute toddlers and toothless grins!  All of this got me to thinking of my own childhood and have a strong memory of this fab short dungaree set made from navy nylon with a large red apple on the bib!  Being born in the mid seventies nylon and cheesecloth were standard features in my wardrobe. 

During the seventies there was a new company launched that offered their customers an easy option for sewing some new clothes. Clothkits was an inspirational company for women who were trying to have a career and still make clothes for themselves and their children.  In 1968 Anne Kennady created the Clothkits concept from her kitchen table, where so many businesses are born.  By the late 1980's Clothkits was a huge success and employed over 400 people but when Freemans brought the company these fab kits disappered and the Clothkits label remained dormant. 

Two years ago Kay Mawer relaunched Clothkits with a fresh new collection of great cut out and sew kits. The company ethos remains that beautiful items can be created without the need of a paper pattern. These kits are perfect for even the novice sewer as you cut around the dotted lines printed on to the fabric and then clear instructions enable you to create a new item of clothing very easily.  And whats more most of the kits come complete with thread and all the haberdashery needed to complete the project.  Yet Kay understands that not everybody has time to complete a Clothkits project so has also introduced Clothkits Couture, enabling you to order your item already made up.

The majority of the fabric is hand screen printed in the UK and Clothkits also have a team of digital printers allowing you to custom design an order.  There is a great choice of kits to choose from aswell as a small variety of fabrics sold by the metre and habadashery items, all available from the Clothkits website.

As you can see the finished article form a Clothkits kit is fantastc!

**For all my fellow fabric addicts I am having a fabric focus next week, looking at having your own designs printed, with a post about Spoonflower, another post about the UK version of Spoonflower. Next weeks Fabric Friday will feature an interview with the designer behind Kristopher K Designs, whose gorgeous desigs aravailable through Spoonflower.**

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


I posted yesterday briefly mentioning Dreamaid and it being featured in a show for BBC2 last night.  Unfortunately I have as yet to watch the show, yet hope to be given an hour at some point to catch up!  Dreamaid is the brainchild of international businessman, Peter McAteer and through this charity he hopes to help artists and makers all over the world, allowing developing countries artisans the chance of a fair wage for their work.  Initially Dreamaid is similar to Etsy, Folksy, Made It and the like, with sellers having a shop to list their items but something else is apparent, Dreamaid has a heart.  The philosophy is fairly simple, by creating a global marketplace to help artists in poorer areas and allowing them a better way of life.  But Dreamaid is also a global marketplace for artists and makers in the developed countries, allowing them a broader audience but also to assist in Dreamaids vision, as every sale has a commission that is donated to the charity.  This really is 'Art with Soul' as the motto says.  I will be joining Dreamaid myself and want to wish Peter and his team every success for the future.

Here is  a tiny sample of UK sellers on Dreamaid.

Sorry there isn't just art & photography!

So have you joined Dreamaid yet?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Crafting for Charity

There has been a buzz in the Folksy forums for the past few days about Dreamaid, with many sellers joining this website as another selling avenue but also making a difference as a percentage of the sales value is donated to a charity supporting artists in developing countries.  Dreamaid are to be featured on BBC2 tonight at 8pm, with an expected 5 million viewers, which would mean a fantastic exposure for this charity and for all their handmade sellers.  I will focus Dreamaid in tomorrows post and feature some UK designers selling through this channel.

I have written before about the great support from the craft world for charities and Folksy folk are no exception.  Aswell as dedicated shops for various charities many sellers donate  reguarly from their sales.  Often a charity is chosen because of a personal experience or close connection to a particular charity.  For the rest of the month and next month I will be donating 15% of all sales in my supply shop, Buttons & Bows, to The White Ribbon Alliance. The reason for choosing WRA is a fairly personal one after problems at the end of my last pregnancy put my own health and unborn childs life at a huge risk, but I was incredibly fortunate to have free health care, a fantastic consultant obstetrician and wonderful midwives all within a fifteen minute drive.  Millions of women are faced with delivering their baby in their home without medical assistance being close enough to be able to help.  These women are in labour for many hours and when or if, they arrive at a medical centre it is often too late. Soon after my daughter and I survived this very worrying time I read about the WRA in Red Magazine and have supported them since, as I was so grateful that I was close enough to medical care.  Whilst my donation won't make a huge difference I can help raise awareness for WRA through my shop

Now I will step down from my soap box and feature some other Folksy people donating to charities from sales in their shops.

There are many more crafters, designers, makers who reguarly donate to charity and I hope to feature some more this week.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Fabric Friday - Heather Bailey

It's Fabric Friday the best day of the week.  Todays featured designer does not shy away from colour and another great example of bold prints. Heather Bailey fabrics evoke thoughts of bright sunny days and vintage tea parties, especially when seen in the back of the classic truck in a picture on her blog!

Heathers life could have taken a very different turn, with plans to be a doctor and even started a PreMed course at the age of 17. Thankfully Heather listened to her heart and started a Bachelors degree in Apparel Design, graduating in 1996. Now she was ready to start her career in fashion by launching Noggin, a childrens hat company. Soon Heather expanded her repotoire and launched Trashy Ties. which have recently been relaunched and are available in Heathers store 

Soon Heather diverted her creative talent to produce her first collection, Freshcut, for Freespirit Fabrics. Her debut collection has since led Heather to design three more collections, Pop Garden, Bijoux and Nicey Jane. These are all fantastic prints that could be used for quilts or dressmaking or any number of projects.  Heather has also designed sewing patterns and a papercraft range which carry strong themes from her textile collections.  All this is acheived whilst being a mother of two children, hats off to Heather Bailey. Another woman follwoing her creative heart and acheiving amazing results, a true inspiration.

Of course I couldn't finish without taking a look at Heather Bailey fabrics being used by other creative people.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Craft Blog UK

Craft Blog UK is the official blogroll for UK Handmade and has links to many craft related blogs. This blog has many tutuorials (blogging tips) to help improve your blog and help you network to gain more followers and hopefully more customers for your craft/design business.  In the last couple of weeks a forum has been added to the blogs bow with it's creator, Haptree, offering to give a blog critique.  This has been very beneficial to as I looked to tidy up my blog and Haptree's constructive criticism and ideas have helped immensly in this task.  I have also used some of the blogging tips and feel I have acheived something in the world of html that I have little experience of.  Whilst my blog looks tidier I still need to try a couple of Haptree's ideas, firstly to have links opening in a new window when I am featuring items from other websites and secondly a 'Cocktail Hour' every couple of this space!

So if you are wondering how to add static pages under your header or want some ideas to tidy up your blog and help promote your business head over to Craft Blog UK and read the blogging tips or visit the forum to get your own personal blog critique.  And I would like to add a huge THANK YOU to Haptree for her fantastic critique of my blog and for creating Craft Blog UK.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Sew Sunny Homestyle and Giveaway Winner

Drum Roll please......the winner is ......Mollimoo. You can find out more about the winner on her blog or visit her Folksy shop for some gorgeous fabric buttons, which were featured in May's isue of Sew Hip magazine.

Another exciting delivery today, my copy of Sew Pretty Homestyle by Tone Finnanger arrived with the mornings post.  So I am now off to dream of living in the house in the pictures making lots of gorgeous things!

Have a great day everyone.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Fabric Friday - Textiles in Jewellery

After a week of looking at sparkly colourful gems and their designers I am in a quandry as to how I can finish with a jewellery inspired Fabric Friday.  Off the top of my head I can't think of a designer who prints pictures of jewels on textiles, but please correct me if there is anybody!  My likely choices for such designs would be hinting towards Michael Miller or Alexander Henry, but I have planned to feature them soon.  So I think the best solution will be to look at textiles in jewellery design.  I have seen some gorgeous fabric covered beads over the past few months and I know bib necklaces have become a possible new item to accessorise your outfit but I am still not convinced about these. Can fabric be used in this design medium effectively?  Let's see.....

I stand corrected, you can buy some great textile jewellery.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Adorn London Interview

Whilst most of the UK is gripped with voting and waiting to see who will be our new leader when we wake tomorrow I have been busy interviewing Juliet Hutton-Squire from Adorn London.

 Few of us are lucky enough to have a jewellery stylist to hand or an unlimited budget to buy fashion magazines to stay on top of trends.  Yet as a jewellery designer you need to know which colours are hot, which styles are 'in', never mind which beads or metal is the current trend.  However all of this information is now available at the click of a mouse.  Adorn London is the brain child of Juliet Hutton-Squire and provides you with all the current trends in jewellery.  As editor of Adorn London Juliet researches jewellery trends so that you can spend more time designing and creating.

 Adorn London is a fantastic informative website for the discerning fashionista or somebody who takes an interest in their jewellery as an essential accessory. How do you feel it can help jewellery designers?

- Adorn London has a two fold approach, firstly to inspire the industry providing a summary of trends and style focus for the season. We are already influencing the industry. Someone recently said that she waits for the Adorn weekly newsletter before she sends out information to her own clients! The second is to inspire the consumer. We want to make jewellery accessible to everyone. Jewellery is so diverse and versatile, it can change an outfit and in the current economic climate a costume piece can do just that. On the flip side, investment jewellery has seen an upsurge as people invest in gold and precious metal even though we are in the midst of a recession.

With a background in jewellery design can we expect Adorn London to launch its own range in the future?

Ooh, I would love to bring out a collection twice a year to tie in with the fashion seasons. So yes, that is a dream that I hope to realise one day possibly in collaboration with an established brand as it is a long time since I was on the bench!

What are the key trends for SS10 that are important for jewellery designers?

Stacking – is huge which means for me, wrist wear is key. I think we are more influenced by the catwalk than we may think. We buy clothes that are inspired by the catwalk whether at High Street or designer level. I would like to see jewellery follow the same pattern too. I am excited when I see commercial jewellers collaborate with the catwalk designers – not only does it put jewellery on the map so to speak but as a designer maker it is exciting to think out-of-the box every now and again. I recently interviewed Shaun Leane on Adorn London and we focused on this very point. So I would say don’t take your eyes off the catwalk!

It's imperative to plan ahead as a designer, what can we be expecting to see for AW10?

Jewellery influenced by 18th century Paris . There is an almost decadent, ornate style coming through.

Summer is the season for wedding celebrations, do you consider there to be key trends in wedding jewellery this season?

I think Bridal jewellery follows a similar trend year in and year out as tradition plays an important part in Bridal jewellery. We associate pearls for example with Bridal jewels, I think it is an ongoing challenge for a designer to keep the styles relevant even though the materials might stay constant. Those are the designers I am inspired by.

So if you would like Juliet to be your jewellery trend fairy godmother you can sign up for weekly updates via email from the Adorn London website, one of my favourite features is the Style Stalker.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Ice Cream Sundaes and a Giveaway

As Summer approaches I find I like to play with colour adding accessories to my wardrobe.  After months of choosing warm colours for the colder months I can now look at brightening up a white t-shirt and denim shorts with funky Birkenstocks and jewellery in bold colours.  I have a gorgeous turquoise beaded necklace that I love to wear in the warmer months, even though I was caught out once and had a lovely beaded tan mark! 

Whilst we wait for the weather to get a bit warmer here in the UK and with thoughts of ice cream sundaes and colourful bunting it's time to think of adding some more colour to my necklace stand.


I will be giving away this gorgeous beaded cocktail ring from my Folksy shop Zoe & Drew

I will randomly select a winner from my blog & Twitter followers on Sunday (9/5).

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