Fabric printing - replicating a pattern

by brae  

I get a lot of my ideas for the Newport décor from real life size rooms in decorating magazines.  One of the problems in replicating those designs is not being able to find suitable fabrics in both color and scale.  Quilting fabric often comes in small scale patterns but sometimes I want as close to the original as possible.

Here's the room I plan to use as a guide for one of the rooms in the Newport.  I downloaded this image so long ago, I don't even remember where it came from.

The wallpaper for the room will be scrapbook paper in French Vanilla and Impatiens by Bazzill Basics.  Those were easy to find.

But, in my opinion, it's the striped fabric that really sets this room apart.  After reading about being able to use an inkjet printer to make custom fabric, I decided to give it a try.  There are methods out there to make your own fabric papers using freezer paper, but I decided to go with ready made sheets by June Tailor, Inc.  There were ten sheets in the package, and the cost was reasonable.

First, I opened the example photo in PhotoShop and copied a small flat section of the stripes into a new document.  I then used the eyedropper tool to select areas of the stripes and the pencil tool to make stripes in the same pattern as the sample.  It was mostly trial and error - figuring out which part of the sample stripe would give me the most similiar color and overall look and how wide to make the various stripes.

Once the sample was done, I cut a section and repeatedly pasted it along the left margin until I had a full vertical sample from top to bottom of an 8" x 9.5" canvas.

I copied and pasted that vertical piece across the rest of the document to the right edge.

Once I had a full sheet, I was able to do some color correcting to areas that hadn't seemed obvious in the smaller section.  It was time consuming work, but I ended up with a good match.

I printed a proof of the image on paper before trying it out on the fabric.  The proof on paper was brighter than the fabric print, but I had expected some loss of color and sharpness.  Here's how the printed fabric looks with the scrapbook paper.

click image to enlarge

In the future, I might try brightening the image in PhotoShop to make up for color loss, but I am happy with the fabric for this particular project as is.  Here's how the sample compares to the original.

click image to enlarge


Now, if someone can just tell me where to find that watercolor painting of the boats...

Update: I ended up getting this printed at Spoonflower (just uploaded my sample file) since computer printed fabric can be damaged by any water contact.


Comment from: carrie h [Visitor]
i have a question for ou..how do you go about priting on fabric? is there speciel paper that is fabric? thanks ??im new to this also.and i have to say you are doing a beautiful job..i am very inspired and enjoying seeing you add new stuff :)
02/16/10 @ 15:13
Comment from: brae [Member]
Thanks so much, Carrie! I bought pre-made paper-backed fabric sheets from Joann Fabrics. I am sure you can find them at other fabric stores. It's a cotton fabric that you print on with an ink jet printer, let set for a bit and then peel off the paper backing leaving you with just the fabric.
02/16/10 @ 15:24
Comment from: Angie Martin Hall [Visitor]
Pure genius! Do you know if the same technique will work with a laser printer? Also, I'm told that you can sometimes fine small scale fabric in children's clothing.
01/11/12 @ 18:27

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