28 July 2009

The Fabric on Demand sample arrived and it's fantastic

On 3 July, I wrote a profile of an Internet start up called Fabric on Demand. Fabric on Demand prints small runs of user-designed fabrics affordably. After that post appeared, I started a lively e-mail correspondence with Rysa Pitner from Fabric on Demand. During the course of these exchanges, Rysa offered to run a sample yard of any design I wanted to submit to them via their website.

To keep this a group exercise, I put out a request for designs from my readers the following day. I knew that I wanted something brightly colored and on a white background because I wanted to see how this process worked clearly. The ever delightful and energetic Kelly James from Design Ties sent me some illustrations she had from a previous project that sounded like what I was looking for. In fact, they were perfect.

Kelly's design consisted of four pool balls, and based on her description I asked me to send me what she had. So Kelly sent me her medium-resolution .png files. Here they are.

I submitted the files to Fabric on Demand through their website. I asked Rysa to put them together into an half brick repeated pattern, though that's something I could have done myself. Fabric on Demand's website is extremely easy to use and that I didn't do a complete layout is no reflection on their site. Rather, it's a reflection on my being in a hurry. With that said, Fabric on Demand has an art department that's ready and willing to help anybody with the technical side of on demand fabric printing. There's nothing intimidating about this process. Use the website and if you run into a snag, they are standing by to help.

Within a day, Rysa sent me a hi-res proof and then an idea of how the pattern would look spread out over a yard of finished material.


Sample yard

I was impressed at this point and when I forwarded the proofs to Kelly, she got so excited she ordered a couple of yards for herself. She's planning to do something fantastical I'm sure, so be sure to follow Kelly's blog over the next couple of weeks to see what she does with her Kelly James original fabric.

About a week after I OK'd the proof, my sample arrived and here it is.

I am impressed mightily by how well all of this came together and the fabric sample Rysa sent me is perfect. I had these pool balls float because I wanted to see how crisp the edges would be once they were printed onto fabric. The whole print job is far cleaner than I was expecting. Further, the colors are richly saturated without making it feel like there's a ton of ink weighing anything down or stiffening things up. This fabric sample moves and handles as if it were an unadorned and unprinted woven sample. There's no real bleed though to the back either.

How they manage the level of color saturation they do while maintaining such sharp edges and minimal bleed through defies my ability to figure out how they do it. I'm stumped. All that matters though is that it looks fantastic. Fabric on Demand is really onto something here and if you've ever thought about taking a stab at fabric design I can't encourage you to do so strongly enough. Contact Fabric on Demand today!


  1. Hey, great print Paul! I've been following this story. I'm glad to see such nice results. Thanks for showing how this works.

  2. Wow Paul, what can I say?? You and Rysa took my simple pool balls and turned them into something I never would have thought of!!

    I can't wait to see the fabric in person :-) And I defintely have a project in mind for it -- but it'll likely be more than a few weeks before it's done. Too much to do, too little time to do it!!

    Thanks again, Paul!! :-)


  3. Thanks for the comment Leona, I'm glad to see it come together too and I'm glad you followed along. The real proof will be when Kelly unveils her upholstered chairs on Design Ties. No pressure though Kelly.

  4. OMG, I don't even have all the chairs sanded yet!! I have to finish sanding, and do repair work, and then paint or stain them (haven't decided yet), and THEN I'll be ready to upholster the seats!! Check back with me in 2011, I might have them done by then ;-)


  5. I'm sorry Kelly, you're going to have to rearrange your priorities. You have a dedicated readership who's expecting to see your finished chairs in another week or so. Those chairs should be prepped and ready to go by the time your fabric gets there.


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