Spoonflower provides a marketplace for emerging fabric designers to create textiles, decals, wallpaper, and wrapping paper. When a customer orders an item made from a specific pattern, the designer receives a small portion of the sale. Currently, Spoonflower offers 15 different fabrics and the aforementioned decals, wallpaper, and gift wrap. These items are only printed in the quantity requested when ordered, and the prices reflect this nature. I consider these fabrics premium due to the price. A yard of fabric can range in price from $17.50 for the basic combed cotton to $38 for silk crepe de chine. While the price can be prohibitive for many budgets, the range of fabric pattern options makes the site attractive.
For my test, I purchased a fat quarter of retropopsugar’s Skyrim design in basic combed cotton and a half yard of the Mass Effect icons made from Kona cotton. I, also, had a free sample of the faux suede in Paragon Polka.
Basic Combed Cotton: Cost: $17.50/yard; $10.50/fat quarter This fabric washes and presses easily. I didn’t lose any noticeable amounts of fabric in the wash. This fabric is very thin, but unlike other brands of combed cotton it still seemed to have some strength to it. The colors were a bit more muted than I expected, but overall still attractive. I made two items from my swatch. The first was a dice bag with external pocket. For the first work, I did interface the fabric to give it more strength. On the second item, a frame purse, I did not. While, the fabric is inclined to fray as soon as it is cut, it did adhere well (obviously as it is cotton) to interfacing eliminating that problem. I was, also, a bit concerned whether the pattern would be printed correctly on the grain. Happily, this was not an issue. However, due to the cost and flimsy nature of combed cotton, I will not be purchasing it again.
Kona Cotton: Cost: $18/yard; $11/fat quarter. If you’ve worked with Kona cotton before, then this fabric will offer no surprises. It washes and presses well and shrinkage was minimal. As with the combed cotton, I was worried about the pattern being printed on the grain line. My concerns were again unfounded. The colors of the print were vibrant and true. I made this fabric into a little zipper bag pairing it with the faux suede. It mixed well with the other fabric and sewed as one would expect a premium cotton to sew. The Kona is much better quality than the combed cotton, and due to this I would purchase this over the combed cotton every time. I will most likely be adding more of this to my fabric stores when I need something a bit more geek.
Faux Suede: Cost: $34/yard; $17.50/fat quarter.The directions said this fabric is washable, but I only steamed it due to time constraints. The fabric creases easily and definitely falls into the medium-weight category and is very soft. However, the pattern in this case printed slightly askew of the grain line. Correcting that did not make for happy fabric. Once cut slightly off-grain, the threads led quickly to fraying. While attractive, I am not sure I am happy with the price.I do own patterns that ask for a home dec weight fabric, and this would fit the bill, but I am just not sure I could part with the money for this particular fabric.
Spoonflower offers 12 other fabric choices and thousands of designs. I am fairly certain that whatever my geek and gamer heart desired I would be able to find. That alone makes this a great resource for geek crafts. I also like that I can order an 8×8 test swatch of any pattern and fabric offering for $5. I like the idea of not having to commit right away. I find their printing and shipping turn around to be very reasonable. For my original order of the Mass Effect icons and Skyrim fabric, I waited three weeks for printing, but received my fabric within 3 days of shipment. It took less time for the faux suede to print, probably because of the promotion, but due to my post office derping it took weeks for me to receive the fabric. That was definitely not a Spoonflower issue though. I think next time I order, I’ll try at least one other fabric type and more designers.