5 years ago when I stopped shopping and started my challenge to sew ‘everything’ for my girls, I had a list of things that were exempt:
- a winter coat (I wasn’t skilled enough)
- school uniform (I couldn’t compete with Sainsbury’s)
- underwear (they had enough)
- plain t-shirts (boring!)
- jeans (Levi Strauss could do it better)
- swimwear (who sews swimwear?)
Since then, I have made everything on my exemption list apart from a plain t-shirt* (still boring). And the one swimsuit I made (back in 2016), didn’t excite me because I couldn’t find fancy swimsuit fabric. Until now…
*Plain as in a standard crew neck in a solid plain colour. Where’s the fun in that?
If you sew, you’ve probably heard of Spoonflower. They digitally print on to the fabric of your choice. You can design your own print or choose from over 650,000 designs already available on their website.
“Spoonflower lets you find a design you love and order it on the material you need.”
Read on because there is an offer and a giveaway at the end that you may be interested in.
As part of the Spoonflower Under the Sea Blog Hop (catchy name 😉), I was given the opportunity to choose some fabric with an ‘under the sea’ theme, sew up whatever I fancied and tell you guys all about my experience.
So I chose some Sport Lycra because I couldn’t resist getting my hands on some swimwear fabric in a really cool and unique print (at last). And some Kona® Cotton Ultra because matching shorts with your swimsuit is always a good idea. Just be aware that fabrics soak up ink differently so the colours may not match exactly.
But choosing the print was more difficult than I ever imagined. There is so much to choose from and after 9 days of looking, it wasn’t fun any more. However, on day 23, I stumbled across a collection by Sunny Afternoon and I fell in love.
So my next challenge was to find a sunny afternoon fabric that would fit into an under the sea theme without compromising my aesthetics. As much as I loved harlequin diamonds and geometric lemons, I couldn’t rationalise how they could fit the theme. But when I saw constellation – sky at night, all I could see were starfish. Come on! tell me you see starfish too.
I considered woven shorts in the octopus fabric but decided a plainer fabric might work better. I liked basic geometric raw brush crosses but the background colour wasn’t the same. I messaged the designer and she very helpfully uploaded a new design that had the same beige background. Now that’s what I call service.
You will notice that Scout is not wearing the shorts that I planned to make, she was dead set on having a skirt in the octopus swimsuit fabric so that she could swim with her skirt on. To keep her happy, I rolled with it.
I used the crosses fabric to test out a new Madeit pattern. It’s work in progress but I’m very happy with the overall design. More about this sweet gilet in a future blog post.
Now, would you like my honest opinion about my experience with Spoonflower?
My honest opinion in bullet point format
Good things to report
- They have a huge selection of prints, it’s impossible not to find something you will like.
- I loved the Sport Lycra, it’s durable and has good stretch and recovery. I would definitely use it again.
- I was very happy with the quality, it’s thicker than ready-to-wear swimsuits, so it doesn’t need lining.
- It doesn’t go transparent in water, I was worried about choosing a light colour but the thickness keeps it opaque.
- It’s easy to sew because the fabric is not slippery.
- The Sport Lycra is definitely value for money. 1 yard costs $32 which sounds like a lot but from 1 yard of fabric, I made a swimsuit, a bikini and a skirt. Compare that to a rtw swimsuit of equal quality and you’ll be rushing to Spoonflower to get your fabric from this day on.
- I liked the Kona Cotton Ultra, it’s a good weight and drape for shorts. It’s crisp, which means it can hold pleats (and finger pressing 😉).
- Both fabrics held colour well with no noticeable colour loss after washing.
- I was able to message the designer for advice and she went out of her way to changed the colour of one her designs at my request.
- The swatch book is VERY useful for deciding which fabric to choose.
- The delivery to the UK (from Germany) was notably fast, (under a week from placing my order to having it in my hands).
Not such good things to report
- The vast of choice designs means that you will spend hours searching for what you want (the vast choice is a positive and a negative by the way).
- Why oh why do Spoonflower not print onto sweatshirt fabric?
- If you’re used to the exceptional quality of Nosh fabric, See You at Six or Chat Chocolat, you will not be impressed with the quality of Spoonflower’s knit fabric. I’d be hesitant to order the modern jersey, cotton spandex jersey, organic cotton knit and performance pique based on what I felt from the small samples in the swatch book that I was sent.
- Their website not easy to navigate. It’s difficult to quickly find the information you may be looking for.
Overall I give Spoonflower a thumbs up, there are sooooo many lovely, irresistible designs, I’ll definitely be buying more swimwear fabric in the future and I’ve already started collecting prints that I like.
Kona® Cotton Ultra
The short sleeve swimsuits were made from a vintage Nevtex pattern. I had to make a muslin to get the fit right. I lengthened more than necessary so that my girls can wear them next year too.
For Darcy’s swimsuit I used Madeit Patterns Play Pants for the bottom half because she loves the fabulous fit and the coverage.
Darcy’s shorts are the Itty Bitty shorts from Ottobre Design Summer 3/2017 issue.
Scout’s skirt was an impromptu make. I used the circle skirt from Madeit Patterns Spin Dress, I used woven instead of knit fabric, I retained one of the inseam pockets, added a huge front pocket with piping, a patch pocket at the back (with piping) and an elastic waistband. Scout absolutely loves her new skirt, as do I.
The sleeveless bomber is a pattern coming soon, (but not that soon) from Madeit Patterns.
And the last thing I made, (since a lot of swimwear can be squeezed out of 1 yard of fabric) was a bikini for Darcy. I used Madeit Patterns Play Pants for the bottoms (of course!) and Madeit Patterns Play Pants for the top. Can you see the back of the bikini top is the same pattern piece as the front of the bikini bottoms? Ha ha! It’s not recommended, but it worked.
For those who stuck around to the end of this rather long blog post, thank you, you deserve a treat…
- A whopping 10% off Spoonflower fabric use code: olu10 at checkout, until 31 July 2018.
- A chance to win 3m, (yes three whole meters) of Spoonflower fabric. Click here to enter.
Want to see more of the Spoonflower Under the Sea Blog Hop? Check out these inspirational blogs…
The whole collection of fabric from our blog hop can be found here: Spoonflower under the sea collection
Carpe diem! Seas the day! 😜