'Curiosity Cabinet' fabric, printed by Spoonflower

My Spoonflower printed ‘Curiosity Cabinet’ fabric arrived at the end of last week! Although it was exciting to see the design on great lengths of fabric (in retrospect I ordered w-a-y more than I should have, but at the time I thought I’d minimise the postage costs!) I was rather disappointed with the end result. This has as much to do with me being a textile design novice as it has to do with the current limitations of the digital printing technology used by Spoonflower (and not forgetting that the Spoonflower service is still in Beta, so we’re all learning!).

The final printed fabric lacks a fineness of detail which I had hoped would be there (i.e. it’s in the original design and I’ve seen such fineness of detail on other printed fabrics). I was also disappointed by how ‘washed out’ the final printed colour is, as compared to the colours I had chosen (a lovely dense blue-grey and a pale bluish eggshell colour). I think the pale colour reproduced fairly accurately but the darker colour is a bland and non-descript shadow of itself. As a result the design loses its ‘pop’. I feel the design really needs the strong contrast to work, and in retrospect (had I known quite how much the darker colour would shift) I would have used only one printed colour with the white of the fabric as the second colour, in an attempt to better maintain the level of contrast. Spoonflower do state on their website that true blacks and very saturated colours may not print correctly, but I had hoped the dark blue-grey I’d selected would be OK (not being a true black, and not being particularly saturated). Unfortunately this wasn’t the case.

As already mentioned I’m a complete textile design novice so do not pretend to understand the complexities of how different combinations of printing technologies and fabrics may affect the quality of the finished product. I would like to be able to read more about the practical limitations of the digital print process/fabric combo on the Spoonflower website but haven’t found the information I’m after there, so I was very happy to find this thorough and informative review of the Spoonflower service over at CicadaStudios (written by a textile design pro!). It answered a lot of my unanswered queries and means I’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about any future designs I hope to have printed by Spoonflower. Their service has great potential and I’m sure it will only improve over time.

All of that said, I was very keen to start making stuff with my fabric so I dusted off the sewing machine (I’m a sewing & sewing machine novice too!) and set to work making a couple of simple cushion covers. The colour may not be quite what I’d hoped but it’s an uncanny match for our existing sofa…

'Curiosity Cabinet' cushions

And the cushions have already come in handy making a normally uncomfortable outdoor wooden chair much comfier while I took advantage of some recent (and so far rare) summer sunshine!

'Curiosity Cabinet' cushions