Sew many dreams…

My calavera design hasn’t fared well in the Spoonflower fabric design competition – not even in the top 100. There were some amazing designs entered (the winner is one of the designs I voted for, it absolutely deserves top place) but I still can’t help being a little heart broken.

I’ve not entered many of the Spoonflower competitions to date. Primarily because I like to feel a personal connection or interest in the theme, but also because I find it daunting presenting work to be judged. You’re effectively wearing your heart on your sleeve (or cotton, linen, jersey etc). As much as I started designing fabrics for fun, I just can’t help but want approval from the wider public.

To try cheer myself up, I thought back to why I first started designing fabrics. At the time, my partner was on a 6 month placement abroad for work. I’ve always had a massive interest in fashion and fabric – before I chose the path of a graphic designer, I wanted to be a fashion designer. But my sewing skills aren’t up to scratch. I started designing fabrics to fill the extra hours, exploring a new avenue to express myself and be creative. I very quickly got hooked – it’s so satisfying receiving fabric with your own design on it!

When designing fabrics, I always envisage an end use for them. I can’t sew (not clothes patterns, anyway) but I like to picture what kind of garments I would make from my fabric designs when I’m working on them. I thought I’d share some of my fashion designs – well done if you’ve managed to wade through my self pitying and got to this point, I’m afraid I’ve written a few words about each of my fashion designs too!


A pretty simple vision! I did a few different colour ways for my eyeball fabric designs, but this one had a special purpose. I always imagined making a pretty, full circle skirt that looked like ditsy, pastel floral dream from far away… but on closer inspection, it turns out to be eyeballs. She’s got the look, in more ways than one. Team it with a sweet-as-you-like retro inspired cashmere top, and let the confusion begin.


When designing this fabric I really wanted the pops of colour to stand out against the intricate grey background. I like the idea of having a sweetheart neckline, full circle skirted dress with a hot pink sash and petticoat. The back is high neck, but with a few well placed buttons to keep it classy. I love the idea of the petticoat peeking out at the bottom. Team it with some hot pink shoes, and you’re hot to trot.


Speak of the devil! Here is the calavera design I entered, and here was my vision for it. I always wanted the skull to be the focal point with this one – so kept the silhouette simple and sassy. A shift dress with yellow piping on the arms and neckline (picking up the splashes of yellow from the fabric design). You may have guessed that I love mixing monochrome with splashes of colour. It’s a pretty common recurrence in my real wardrobe, not just my imaginary one! For a little detail, the back would have a keyhole cut out fastened by a skull button.


A casual look… a-line denim skirt trimmed with a band of my abstract triangle fabric design. The top has a slash neck, is loose and billowing but gathers in again at the bottom with a small tie detail. they match, but not in an overpowering way.


The last for this post, but one of my very first fabric designs. When working on this, I envisaged the end result to be classy, elegant and striking – with the purple flower column sharing centre stage with a sexy silhouette. I have a love of playing with necklines – so based this one loosely on a mandarin collar. The dress is pencil fit, but with a slight flare at the bottom (and cheeky, but tiny, split at the back). I like this balance as pencil dresses/skirts usually make me look fat. The back has two simple buttons, and a slash cut out (mimicking the slash neckline at the front).

Looking over all of these has cheered me up. Hopefully my sewing skills will improve over time, and I can bring more of my ideas to life. I need to remember that at the heart of everything, I started this journey for myself, and to create gifts for my family and friends – and if I can pick up a few extra fans along the way then all the better.

My longest post to date I think, apologies for that!


3 thoughts on “Sew many dreams…

    1. Thanks Myla – how sweet! I saw on your blog that you were also having a confidence crisis. I really love your illustrations so I don’t think you should feel stressed about it. I particularly love your interpretations of other bloggers etc.

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