August 20, 2009

Transforming your fabric vision to reality

meta monday Met Monday is here again… it’s really just about the only good thing about Mondays!! Thanks to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for making Mondays a lot more fun :-)

Have you ever searched and searched for a fabric and not been able to find it?? You can visualize a pattern in your head, but nobody makes it. You want the curtains in your dining room to be the exact same colour as the paint colour in your living room. Well, have I got great news for you!! Now you can create your own fabric in the exact pattern and colour that you want. No more frustration because nobody makes a lime green fabric with fuchsia pink polka dots and fire engine red triangles and bright blue zigzags. Hey, if that’s what you like, who am I to question?? ;-)

Buy-Fabric-On-Demand Fabric on Demand can make the exact fabric that you want. All you need to do is send them the image that you want to use and tell them the kind of fabric you want it printed on, and they’ll do the rest. Really, it’s as simple as that!!

Paul at Kitchen and Residential Design put out an APB a little while back for an image he could send to Fabric on Demand to have them make a sample piece of fabric for him. I’d created some pool balls in Adobe Illustrator for work, so I sent them off to Paul and Paul sent them to Rysa at Fabric on Demand.

A couple of weeks later, these four ball images…

GREEN ball BLUE ball PURPLE ball RED ball

…turned into this!!

spread out

outside fabricFabric pics from Paul at Kitchen and Residential Design

How cool is that?! I was so excited to see my images made into an actual fabric design, I contacted Rysa and asked her if she could send me a sample piece. I have the perfect project to use it on… but I can’t tell you what it is yet!!

I interviewed the very funny Rysa at Fabric on Demand to find our more about how they can make your fabric vision a reality...

How did the idea for Fabric on Demand come about?

Fabric On Demand was conceived in late March of 2009. The company had a long-standing successful track record in large-scale commercial custom fabric printing. Andy and I had worked together on various other business projects, and had a conversation one day about the economy… surprise. When we realized we possessed everything we needed between the two of us to expand the commercial business into a new consumer category, we agreed to give it a go. On April 22nd, we soft-launched the site, took our first order on the 23rd, and have been growing ever since.

feathers What kinds of fabrics do you offer?

We offer a host of fabrics on the site, and have several others in our warehouse standing by for special customer requests.

The site currently offers:

  • 100% Cotton
  • Poly/Cotton blend
  • Linen/Cotton blend
  • Cotton duck
  • Fleece
  • Microdenier Suede
  • Lycra (Spandex)
  • Athletic eyelet jersey

Fabrics that we've also shipped to customers:

  • Polyester poplin
  • Hercules
  • High performance jersey t-shirt fabric
  • Waterproof polyester duck
  • Voile

Fabric rumored to be showing up later this year:

  • Organic cotton
  • Bamboo

stripes and swirls What types of graphic files can people send to you?

Our file types include all the usual suspects: jpg, ai, psd, tiff, gif, png, pdf

Are there restrictions to the types of image people can submit?

We'll gladly print any image provided:

1. The customer owns the rights to use it (if it's not their work).

2. The content is not offensive.

How intricate can a design be?

Sky's the limit on the designs. We've printed designs so fine and so small that my 41-year old eyes could barely see them, and only dogs could hear them.

Is there a limit to how many colours can be in a design?

There is no limit to the number of colors (it's funny the way you spell that btw). However, it's important to note that the various fabrics accept color differently, and there is are limitations to the color spectrum, some more dramatic than others for each fabric. The good news is that there is often a comparable fabric that can achieve a better color match.We offer color blankets to help designers reference what the color spectrum looks like printed on our various fabrics.

colour blanket

Can you print on different coloured fabrics?

We can, but we do not at this time. We print on white fabrics, and to render a colored background, we simply image the color to the fabric.

Can you match fabric colours to paint chips?

fan deck flickrYes we can. The process requires us to start with a layered file where we can assign specific values to each color in the color table based on the reading we get from the source design — paint chip in this case. There is an added expense, but if color is the most critical element, the expense is worth the effort.

What pattern layout options do you offer?

Once again, the usual suspects are at play...

  • Centered designs
  • Standard repeats
  • Half brick repeats
  • Half drop repeats
  • Mirrored repeats
  • Border prints

Can you print metallic colours?

Perhaps one day... not today :-(

Tell us a bit about the process – from receiving the customer’s image to producing the finished fabric.

  1. Once a customer places the order on the site, Kristy and/or Adam spring into action.
  2. The design is retrieved from the system in conjunction with the order instructions provided with the PayPal checkout.
  3. A digital proof is created and e-mailed to the customer within 24 hours.
  4. We wait patiently for approval (some of us less patiently than others).
  5. Once we get feedback, we either lather, rinse, and repeat the proofing process until we get an approval, or we're ready to print.
  6. If the proof is approved, we create a production file and update our job board with the order.
  7. Because we are running multiple fabrics on a few different presses, we like to schedule similar fabrics to print together.
  8. Orders will typically print and ship within 7 business days, and customers will receive orders either via USPS or FedEx in less than 2 weeks.

pink orange

What’s the turnaround time from when a person submits an image to the completed fabric being ready to send?

Less than two weeks, but more often within 7 business days.

Do you keep all the designs you receive in a database for future use, or is each design a unique one-of-a-kind that you won’t print for anyone else?

All the designs are stored in conjunction with their order information for a period of 90 days unless requested otherwise. Sometimes we let them out of the database to run around the offices and stretch their legs, but for the most part, they stay put.

How do your prices compare to prices for comparable ready-made fabrics?

Our prices are about 30-40% above what "ready-made" fabrics would sell for. The premium is associated with the opportunity to have a personalized custom fabric. Our belief is there is no "comparable" fabric available in stores, because the opportunity to have your fingerprints on the process can be priceless.

Here’s a great example of priceless fabric. A six-year old named Grayson drew some monster pictures. His mom sent them to Fabrics on Demand, and they turned Grayson’s monsters into this great fleece cushion:

rysa monster art And then Grayson’s mom surprised him big-time — when he came back from camp, his entire bedroom had been re-decorated with monster art, including this this set of full-size sheets from Fabric on Demand:

rysa sheets

Can people from anywhere in the world order fabric from you?

Yes, please :-)

Are you primarily a fabric company or a printing company?

We are a printing company specializing in textiles.

Your web site is light-hearted and fun – is your work environment the same?

Absolutely. Our humor runs the gamut from silly to irreverent, but most often, it's playful. Our offices are in South Carolina and Los Angeles, so there is a HUGE cultural gap between us. Fortunately, humor is a universal language, and when working with a passionate set of consumers, humor is a must.


You recently held a contest where entrants submitted design ideas to create a fabric to re-cover a set of chairs. Are you planning to have more contests like this one?

We are currently brainstorming two different contests for next month. The jury is still out as to which way we'll go, but we will certainly kick around a contest like the chairs again. It was a lot of fun, the designers were awesome, the voting was a blast, and it was great to reward the top three vote-getters with a little something.


rysa winner

1st Runner Up (love this doggie design!!):

2nd place

2nd Runner Up:

3rd place

(Click here to check out all the designs that were submitted for the contest.)

Now, no excuses for not finishing decorating that room you've had on the back burner for ages because you haven’t been able to find the right fabric!! (Hello Kelly, like your dining room!!) Get busy creating your very own personal customized fabric that’s exactly what you’ve been looking for!! And then head back to Between Naps on the Porch to see more Monday transformations…

sig new


Paul Anater said...

It was a thrill to have all of that come together the way that it did Kelly. I'll be you when you first drew those pool balls that they'd someday end up draped over a balcony in Florida! Great interview, Rysa's a real gem.

Maria Killam said...

Kelly that's amazing! I love it, what a wonderful resource to have! I loved the pool ball fabric. Great post, very informative, thanks!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Wow! This is great, Kelly! I never would have thought something like this could be done. The first thing I thought of was the artwork my father does and having that put on fabric - possible pillows for Christmas? I think that would blow him away! I don't think I read it here, but is there a minimum on the yardage being ordered {if you know}.

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

I love this! How cool! I'm so glad to know that this kind of resource is out there. Thanks, Kelly! :-)

abeachcottage said...

wow this is great


Verdigris Vie said...

Bookmark this site !! LOVE IT! Seriously, is there anything better than customization?

Donna @ Paisley and Perspective said...

What an excellent find! Oh the possibilities ... I've already got several ideas in mind - pillows, window treatments, upholstery...yikes!

Great interview Kelly - you really have a knack for this.

Terry said...

I think making this available to consumers is a win for everybody. There are plenty more great idea waiting to be discovered.

Danica said...

This is amazing. I think my mind has just been blown. I definitely see new curtains in my bedroom now!

DesignTies said...

Wow!! I'm so happy to see such great feedback!! :-)

Kathy, I never thought to ask Rysa about the minimum order amount. I just e-mailed her with your question, and she replied right away with the answer -- minimum yardage for an order is one (1) yard.

I'll be visiting everyone's blogs tomorrow when I'm back at home with high speed.....


Things That Inspire said...

Very, very interesting and SO cool! I love that monster fabric created by the child's art. I am trying to think of some ways that this can be used in relation to my kids' school fundraisers - such a unique idea.

santamaker said...

wow! what a great design tool this is. I'll be thinking hard about what I can do with this!

Pam @ This Humble House said...

Cool! I can see all kinds of applications for this! Love the idea of taking your kid's artwork and creating bedding! Wow!

~ Pam

Its So Very Cheri said...

Wow-I hope you will come over and check out this weeks Knock off and post this to the KNOCK OFF KNOCK OUT Party.

Its So Very Cheri

WhisperWood Cottage said...

That is the coolest thing I have ever seen!! Fabulous!!


Leona Gaita said...

I can't wait to make use of this service. The results are very impressive!

Thanks for sharing!

Tiaa @ EYInteriors said...

That is so cool! I have to add them to my bookmarks. Thank you for sharing, Kelly! Great post!

Beeutiful by Design said...

This is awesome! I can think of a million things you could turn into fabric and have a unique one of kind room. Thanks for this great post.

Katie Lane said...

Is this for real? How awesome!!!

Gayle said...

That is the coolest!

ImagineCozy said...

What an amazing idea! You could do a room in any theme imaginable. Thank you for giving us the heads up!

Vanessa Valek said...

Sassy and fun - where else can you send your creative ideas to and get them back in ready to sew format? Thanks for sharing this - we will really look forward to creating some of our own. the interview format worked really well to help us understand the process.

Its So Very Cheri said...

I would be honored to have you participate.


Diane Schuller said...

This is Amazing!! I know at least 3 people right off the bat who are going to love this idea but I too am uber interested! Hey, I could reproduce a photo into fabric! That is amazing. What a fantastic business idea -- thanks for spreading the word.

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