Aspirational Book #124

by Erin on July 15, 2010

I know I'm late to this party (CRAFT reviewed this a year ago!) but I just bought Digital Textile Design:


On first pass through (very briefly!) it looks fantastic. Just the right blend of inspirational and "how-to-do-it-ness." 

Digital textile printing is my "someday" hobby — sewing is very rewarding, of course, but I've gotten into a bit of a rut where I make the same things (cough, Heidi, cough) over and over again, because at the end of the day what I really want is a wearable garment. Right now the limiting factor for me is fabric — can I find fabric I love? That's where textile printing comes in — it holds the promise of being able to get ANYTHING I want, fabric-wise … but with a steep learning curve. 

So as a kind of down-payment on that someday-when-I-have-time-to-design-fabric, I've been amassing some books, including this one. Anything else I should be investing in? (I already have a [very old] copy of Photoshop and Illustrator.)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauriana July 15, 2010 at 6:16 am

I bought Creative Computer Fashion Design with Illustrator: With Abobe Illustrator ( ) about two months ago. It’s very much a how-to book for illustrator. Which teaches you to make technical drawings, but also, at the end of the book, different kinds of all over prints. I didn’t buy the book for that, but I’m surprised at how much I enjoy it and it’s easier than I thought it would be. The book can be used for Illustrator 10 and newer.


Dawn July 15, 2010 at 6:24 am

Getting the fabric you want is DEFINITELY the limiting factor! Fabric Design – same things available for each season. Fabric Care – I have bought some garments that are made of a pretty, comfortable, machine-wash-line-dry-no-wrinkle fabric that I can NOT find in a fabric store. Don’t know if I’m capable of making it myself, though.


b July 15, 2010 at 6:26 am

It’s not so much the patterns on fabric that elude me, but quality fabric of any pattern, solid, plaid. Where, please, would you recommend I look? I’ve been particularly frustrated by this lack of fabric this week!


sally mericle July 15, 2010 at 12:02 pm

May I suggest Dutch Wax fabrics by Vlisco of Holland-
I just made this with some of it.


sally mericle July 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Okay, no embedding– here’s the link:


Emily July 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm

There’s a shareware graphics program that does oodles of what Photoshop does:

And I know what you mean about getting “stuck” on a pattern, I’ve made Simplicity 3678 three times now and I’m looking at #4.


Emma Louise July 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Finding the right fabric has been the unexpected fly in my ointment when I decided I wanted to learn to sew a few months ago. I would love to make fabric design my second career. I’m pretty good with Photoshop and Painter, but I need some help with Illustrator. This post and these comments have been most helpful – thanks everyone!


jordan retro July 23, 2010 at 12:00 am

Hey, it’s nice to see you blogging again.


MinaW/my Spoonflower fabric designs July 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I strongly recommend taking a class in Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign. The reason is, once you’re familiar with what can be done, even if you’ve forgotten how, the Help can get you going again. Last year I was away from my computer and my Photoshop etc for several months. I tried using the GIMP, but found that the different interface, with no instructions I could find, and a totally unhelpful Help, meant all I could do was what I could figure out very slowly by trial and error.

Illustrator is useful for repeating patterns, if you like the basic computer-drawn texture, and especially useful for testing your repeat.

But some folks on Spoonflower do amazing repeats using Photoshop (Helenkleibesadel for instance). Watercolor designs scanned in, using Photoshop to crop or make seamless repeats using layers can give really rich textures.

And InDesign is useful because you can use the pen tool to draw a shaped picture box, ie dress-shaped, and fill it with a photo or scanned picture.

And it’s not necessary to use a computer. After all, basic fabric design for repeating patterns used to be done by hand. There are quite a few Dover books about it. And the crayon-drawing contest Spoonflower had a few months ago had some wonderful designs.

And silk-painted surface designs used for textiles are incredibly rich.

Scattered designs against a plain background are easy to make repeat.

What I especially look forward to, are doing engineered designs for dresses or long skirts, with borders along the curved gored hems.


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