Dahlia print dress

Dahlias are a fav and I found a stunning variety to design my own fabric through Contrado UK for this Summer ‘little black’ dress. It’s still 30C here in Sydney so it’s still quite hot.

This print has great colours true to the image I used.

This is my third designer fabric print effort and I’ve really loved creating the fabric design, colour and balance for clothing.

This Simplicity 1357 dress is fairly straightforward to make and is perfect for hot, humid Summer days.

Simply hanging

The fabric I’ve chosen this time is a much firmer fabric so again I pondered on the dress style would work for me once the fabric arrived on my doorstep.

You can order Contrado fabric samples as there are 98 to choose from and I relied only on the detailed product descriptions on their website. This fabric is exactly what I wanted to work with.

This Lucent fabric is a “lightweight, shimmering double faced sateen fabric. Made of a satin weave, constructed of woven poly-based straight set filament fibres. This shiny, substantially opaque material is a high lustre fabric which is very light and airy, weighing only 120 gsm.”


The print panels are 50cm lengths and 139cm width. I placed the 3 dahlias across the panel and I used this print ‘side on’. 

Work in progress make with plain rayon fabric added to the side seams

I really love this huge print and then used a plain black rayon fabric on the back that has a similar shine to it. 

This rayon has enough shimmer to match the printed Lucent fabric

I’m saving the other two panels for another dress/coat that has a defined waistline but I have to think about where to place this print. I’m thinking of and asymmetrically placed dahlia. I may need to reflect on this idea for a while.

Happy dancing in the finished dress

Back to the print. Using the plain black fabric for the back allowed me to add enough of it on the front panel as the front hem width is about 10cm wider than the panel. It’s worked out quite nicely. There’s a balance to this dress with the print is very rewarding for a home sewer like me. 

The hem stops just under the dahlia and I can safely wear heels or flat shoes with this dress and it’s still balanced.

Ready to head out for the weekend

So this is the last of my three fabrics I created through Contrado and I hope this has encouraged you to try designing your own fabrics too.

Terrigal swimsuit

Making a splash

Friends who know me call me a designer so I took the plunge and used a holiday photo to design a digital print fabric through Contrado UK.
Contrado have a good range of fabrics and this one is their swimwear/activewear fabric. In fact they now have 98 fabrics to choose from Contrado so I knew this project would be heaps of fun.
Even now, I can’t believe I designed my own digital print fabric with a pic I took on my iPhone this Summer. Can someone please pinch me? I sew clothes and now I can design my own printed fabrics.
I sew anything so it made sense to try a couple of fabrics and be a ‘designer’ with Contrado.

This Terrigal swimsuit is one of three projects I’ve designed. I took this photo during the Christmas break unaware that I could use it for a digital print fabric.

Designing your own fabric
Without having any formal design skills or skills using a design app, Contrado’s fabric design makes this easy to do. This is my first time designing fabric and I was impressed that I could do this on my iphone as well as on my laptop.

They’ve thought this through from a user’s perspective so you don’t need design skills. I have none and I was able to get this fabric printed for my new cozzies*.
The fabric
I’ve used the Slinky Matt Lycra 210gsm. This fabric lives up to its name with its sexy and slinky form-fitting drape (#blushing).
This custom made Lycra has a smooth and slippy face, with a slightly softer inside. The firm, medium weight of this 4-way stretch Matt Lycra makes it a supportive fabric with an almost completely opaque finish. Highly elastic, it has a slightly firmer resistance than a lighter weight Lycra.
 For this project I printed 3 panels of this landscape on swimwear fabric. The panel sizes are 0.5m lengths and 145cm wide. I had no real idea what pattern I would use so it made sense to get 2 lengths.
A full size cozzie is about 70cm long so when the fabric arrived, I had a few options to make the most of this print.
You can kind of see the join from this inside view.

The key idea was to place the start of the sky just above my chest. The rest of the cozzie body had the dark landscape for a more flattering look.

Print tetrus was fun and I got the best option by overlaying some of the waves at the base and some of the sky on the shoulders.

The overlay markings are on the pattern pieces.
Would you believe I’m still thinking through a two-piece cozzie style that highlights this print? I’ll take any pattern suggestions you have. Just leave a comment and I’ll consider it.
Making my cozzies
Making these cozzies was child’s play (Kwik Sew 2962). I added powermesh lining for the bust shelf.

As it was important to try some pattern matching, I redrew the pattern pieces and placed them on the fabric to make sure the horizon was across my chest and balanced.

 Delivery
This fabric design was finalised on a Thursday and I received it on the following Tuesday. I enjoyed watching the delivery tracking online as this fabric made its way from the UK to Australia.
Research
It’s only now that I googled previous reviews of Contrado and found that last year Katie (http://whatkatiesews.net/printing-with-contrado) and some UK sewing bloggers including Rosie (http://diy-couture.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/making-bespoke-fabric-in-london.html) visited Contrado last year. Have a read about their visit to Contrado.
When I ordered my fabric, I did this sight unseen. Other sewing bloggers received fabric samples. I relied solely on the website’s descriptions and I am really pleased with the fabrics I’ve received. 

If you have a particular fabric/project in mind, I would order fabric samples.
What else do they have
Well…Contrado also has a decent range custom clothing you can print on and homewares are being added. I was tempted to print on the kimono but I decided theimpact of the photo on it because you would be lost.
The turnaround time for this is between 2 – 3 days.
So what are you waiting for?
Try Contrado for yourself.
*cozzies is Australian for swimsuit.