Historically, the introduction of new technology does not usually result in an immediate change in design styles. Initially, design for any industrial application continues to follow the style associated with the preceding technology; the first motorcars, for example, were designed to resemble horse-drawn carriages. Change only begins to occur once practitioners coe to understand the potential of the new technology and they are comfortable with it.
– Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac, Digital Textile Design
Here we brainstormed everything we could think of to take advantage of the unique possibilities afforded by digital fabric printing. So go forth and get a jumpstart on those holiday gifts!
Combine children’s drawings to make an end-of-the-year teacher gift, or a keepsake quilt for your own family.
Print old embroidery patterns onto fabric to embroider over, or just for their own sake.
Print outlines of motifs and color them in yourself with fabric dyes and paints, for a touch of non-computer-generated artistry. (idea from Digital Textile Printing)
Print your wedding program onto fabric and make it into hankies, which the guests can use to dry their tears of joy.
These folks made custom tablecloths for their wedding. You could also turn the wedding dinner napkins (or any dinner/party napkins) into party favors by printing names, dates, whatever.
Reproduce your public-domain vintage fabrics. That way, you don’t have to be so scared to cut into them! (Use this chart to make an educated guess about a pattern’s copyright status.)
Make a design from your company logo to upholster chairs, make or line custom bags Ã la Gucci.
Design your own family crest, tartan, or personal logo to wear or sew into accessories — see how Tula Pink did it.
Print your child’s silhouette to make pillows, blankets etc. (great grandma gift!)
Print your personal photos (which may take some special care with colors, check with your favorite service to get their recommendations) — the possibilities are endless here: personalized photo quilts, drapes, pillows, bags, voodoo dolls …
Don’t have confidence in your own pattern designs? Use ones from pattern source books like the Petite Pattern Series, the upcoming Reprodepot Pattern Books — check each book, but usually buying a copy of the book licenses you to use the patterns for personal projects.
Remember that digital printing allows you to forego all repeating pattern concerns. Go big! Print curtains with a floor-to-ceiling tree or giraffe. Make a growth chart for really tall families. Print the shower scene from Psycho onto shower curtains. (OK, that’d be a copyright violation, but I’m just brainstorming here.)
Try “engineered prints”: scan a sewing pattern in and fill the shapes with imagery so that it will wrap around the sewn product, uninterrupted by seams. (idea from Digital Textile Printing)
Print labels or patches to sew or fuse onto bags, crates, clothing — great for organizing kids’ stuff.
Print your artwork onto canvas to stretch onto a frame and display on the wall.
Print family recipes and turn them into tea towels. (Mary Beth‘s genius idea!)
What designs and projects have you dreamt up? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.