fabric design

Today I am happy to welcome Fabric Designer Lizzy House to Whipup.

I have designed fabric professionally now for 4 years, and since then, things have changed. When I started approaching manufacturers I was the only kid at the show. 21 years old with a bow in my hair; I was still in school, I’m not married, I have no children, I was an anomaly to the industry in 2006. Quite a few things have changed since then. The market has become much more saturated with “young” designers, giving peeps involved in this Modern Sewing movement a greater opportunity to find fabric that interests them. In my opinion all of these are great things. The one twist, that I’d like to discuss today, is about becoming a designer in this changing climate. Whether it be because of the industry, the scarcity of cotton, or the bumbling economy, manufacturers are taking on fewer new designers.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for you, if designing fabric is something that you want to do. What it means, is that you have to come to the table fully prepared.

Here are a few specifics to help you get on your way:

1. Your work has to be unique and original. Manufacturers are looking for new. It can’t be your impression of someone else’s work. It needs to be fresh and from your perspective. Take a look at what is out there and see if there is something that you can twist to fill a hole in what’s already available.

2. You need to keep a blog that other people follow. Manufacturers are now looking for people with a built in following. As tacky as that might sound, it makes perfect sense. When they are investing time and serious dollars into you, they need to know that you are a safe bet. So work on building up your internet street cred.

3. Beyond having a blog, your work needs to be out there. Whether you are licensing your artwork, printing and selling with SpoonFlower, or selling it in your etsy shop. Manufacturers need to be able to get an idea of who you are, and you want a sales team to be able to get behind you, just by googling you.

4. Back everything up with confidence and passion. If you believe in your work, it becomes easier for other people to believe in it.

These four things are a good start to helping you get your foot in the door in the Textile World in the Quilting Industry. But what about other fields? Say you are looking to publish a book. A publisher is essentially in the same exact position as a fabric manufacturer. They are just printing books instead of fabric. So you can apply these four points to any end of the craft industry for better success.

If you are looking to find out more about the textile industry you can check out my ebook How to Enter the World of Textile Design for the Quilting Industry.

And if you are hoping to become a published author, you can check out this really helpful post from acquisitions editor for Stash Books Susanne Woods on the Sew Mama Sew blog, and a thoughtful podcast about ins and outs of publishing at CraftyPod.

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Spoonflower have a contest in which the community will vote on a design that they’d like to be able to buy. Only designs submitted specifically for the contest will be eligible and each winner will get five yards of free fabric. Spoonflower will then offer the winning design for sale for exactly a week – no longer – to anyone and everyone through its Etsy shop. Details here. This is a precursor to allowing designers to sell designs through Spoonflower.

If you would like to see what everyone is designing and making with their fabrics – head over to the spoonflower flickr group.

Images from Phatsheep and dozi

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All I can say is WOW. Awesome stuff. Link.

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Elizabeth at Lizzy House shares how she got into textile design, including how she got the deal and designing her range LizzyDish. Link.

She also has a free pattern site full of sweet patterns, link. And an online store for downloading patterns. Link.

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Great insight into how this designer sketches her textile designs. Link

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