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fabric design

sierraskye | Posted in Fabric and Trim on


Does anyone know how to design fabric and have any recomendations?

Any insight would be GREATLY appreciated




  1. sueb | | #1

    What type of fabric are you referring to?  handwoven, stamped, silk screened...?

    1. sierraskye | | #2

      I am looking to design lace, cotton, and any other material for bras

      1. User avater
        fashionlizard | | #3

        You would like to design something woven and send it to a factory to be custom fabricated? Or do you want to design the pattern to be printed on fabric?__/^^^^^ô>

        Edited 11/2/2005 12:38 pm ET by fashionlizard

        1. sierraskye | | #4

          i would like both options

          the more i know the better




          1. User avater
            fashionlizard | | #5

            The first thing you need to think about when designing a printed repeat pattern is what method is going to be used to print the fabric.
            Dress-goods (the fabric used to make clothing) is often roller printed. Therefore you need to know the circumferences of the standard-sized rollers used by the production house and design your repeat pattern height to match the circumference of the roller.
            Fabrics used for upholstery, draperies or wall paper are sometimes screen printed, sometimes roller printed. Depends on the manufacturer and the scale-size of the print. If screen printed, you must fit your repeat into the standard width and height of the screens used.
            Since you mentioned that you were interested in designing fabric for bra's, then for the most part, your designs will probably be small in scale.
            The main thing to remember about any printed repeat pattern design, is that the more colors you use, the more expensive it is to produce the fabric. Each color requires its own screen or roller. Each color has to be properly registered. When printing with dyes rather than pigments, you can use the fact that they mix to save yourself one more screen. For example, if you were using yellow dye and blue dye, you could use green without requiring another screen. However, if you are using a more opaque dye or pigment, then this effect cannot be used very well. In that case, if you want green you will need yet another screen/roller. I think that this mixed-dye technique is more commonly used when screen printing, and not roller printing due to the viscosity of the pigments/dyes used in each process.
            Soooooo..... You have a bit of research to do if you want to design something and have it printed by a manufacturer. After you have decided on the repeat size and scale size of your design, you would produce a precise "rendering" of your design on paper, making sure to include at least one and a half to two repeats of your design in height and width. This rendering can be done in the media of your choice.... Long ago, they used gouache (a type of water-based paint) to do the renderings. At the bottom of your rendering, you paint a 1/2" square of the color. This is similar to the little colored squares you see in the selvedges of fabric and it performs the same function. It allows the guy mixing the dyes in the factory to match the color you have chosen with the dyes they are going to use to print the fabric. If you have 11 little color squares...this is gonna be an expensive fabric!! So be sure to use color carefully in your design for best effect.
            Your rendering would then be "color separated". That is, each color in your design would be outline traced or transferred to a separate sheet to prepare it for production. Depending on the process used to produce the screen or roller, your color separation may be positive or negative. They use the separation sheet to photo-etch, engrave, cut stencil, or otherwise transfer your design for each screen or roller.The best thing for you to do in my opinion, is to make your own screens and try it out! You could use the stretchers that are used for painting canvas for the frames of the screens. Staple washed cotton organdy tightly on one side. For your first screens, you could either use a photo emulsion, or buy some silkscreen stencil material and cut out a simple design. If you are doing this, be sure to put registration marks on your stencils so you will be able to register your design properly. You apply your stencil to the fabric and then cover the area not in use around the perimeter with brown tape. Shellac the brown tape to water proof it, or use masking tape. Try a two color design at first. With registration marks on your master rendering, you put the stencil on top of your master and cut the film. Then do the same with the second color's stencil. There are books on this process in most libraries. Have fun with it!As for designing for lace. Boy! You sure picked a difficult thing to do! I actually dabble in bobbin lace and although I have designed other woven structures, I think designing lace without some fancy software would be more than I could do. There are a very limited number of stitches in lace. Kind of like knitting...with a knit stitch and a purl. HOWEVER, there are an infinite number of combinations of the simple stitches and that is what makes the design! You have "cross" and "twist". But one combination is known as "linen stitch", another is known as cloth stitch, another as whole stitch...you get the picture. Just like you can "knit two together" or "slip slip knit" in knitting. Each combination of stitches gives you another look in your design.
            So.... to design lace, you would have to know a lot about the lace loom used (if being done commercially), and the structure of the lace you want to design. I can design only the simplest of laces. Again, it is a combination of lace stitches that already exist. Like a "spider" or "fan". There are a lot of good sites on the web that explain lace design better than I can. Go to the "lacefairy" and follow some of the links.This is probably way more than you wanted to know!! But don't be discouraged... try experimenting in some of these processes. You could come up with some interesting hand printed fabrics that you could use for your prototype garments and you will know a whole lot more about designing for the process after you are done. And just for the curious reader, I studied surface pattern design at Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts... and got a BFA in that specialty. (but that was a looooooong time ago!!)__/^^^^^ô>

            Edited 11/3/2005 11:53 am ET by fashionlizard

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