Sunday, 1 July 2012
Build-a-Bag: Let's Start at the Very Beginning
I've been wanting to make my own handbag for a long time. Not to do things by halves, I thought it would be pretty cool to make the fabric for it as well. I thought I'd do a mini series showing you the whole process from designing my fabric, all the way to the finished bag...it could take a while. So here's Part One: Designing the fabric!
Thanks to Spoonflower, us regular folk can do some fabric designing. I've used Spoonflower before to print fabric labels, but nothing this scary/fun/big! I was given a voucher for Spoonflower so I figured I might as well go for it and do my fabric design and a lining design too!
I love colour so I knew I wanted to do something bright. I decided to go with a sunflower pattern. Now, I am no artist, and I've never been any good at drawing, but armed with a few tools, I figured I could do a good job of it.
First, I grabbed a thick and thin Sharpie and some paper. I used a plain old sheet of A4. Then I found a few pictures on Google images to get an idea of the shapes. Then I traced around some tins onto a blank sheet of paper to make guides for the centre and the edge, like a target. I put a new sheet of paper over the top and then used the guides to draw my flower. The tiny seeds took ages and gave me a hand cramp!
Then I coloured it in with watercolour pencils that I've had since I was a kid and ran a wet paintbrush over it to give it a watercolour finish. The finished sketch is above.
Next, I got hubby to scan it for me and upload it into Photoshop. I played around with it a bit getting the colours how I wanted them and upping the contrast. I like the idea of using a linen effect, so I made a sample with it on the background, and one with a plain background. I've ordered a swatch of each on Spoonflower's Linen-Cotton blend.
Then, onto the lining design.
Roman really loves colouring in, well scribbling, and I thought it would be fun to use one of his scribbles in my design. I hand drew a grid on a piece of paper and gave him the page and some crayons that coordinated with my sunflower. He had lots of fun! See pic below left.
Once it was scanned into Photoshop I got very comfy on the couch. First, I cropped the picture down and used the transform function to stretch my grid to make it square. Then I played with the liquify tool to get the lines to match up.
To get an image to tile nicely on Spoonflower, you need to make sure it is seamless. To do this, you offset the image, so that the outside corners end up in the middle. Here's a tutorial showing you how to do it. Then, I played with the liquify tool some more to get the rest of the grid to line up.
I decided that I wanted each tile to have a different part of the scribble in it, so I cut bits of the scribble up and moved them all around. See result, below right. It was a lot of work, but worth it. I know I'll have a smile on my face whenever I open my bag and see Roman's messy scribbles all over it!
I've ordered a swatch of this in Kona cotton and one in their Silk-Cotton blend. When they all arrive I'll show you how they look.
Next in the series, I'll tell you all about the bag design.
Also in the series:
Build-a-Bag: I've Finished! - take a look at my completed bag
Build-a-bag: The fabric - my fabric has arrived, but I've mucked it up
Build-a-bag: The little extras - take a look at all the other items you need to get when making a bag
Build-a-Bag: My swatches arrived - so how do my swatches compare?
Build-a-Bag: The Pattern - take a look at the pattern I'm using to make my bag