Spoonflower Succulents

Whoop, I'm on a roll with my #VintagePledge! Thanks to Spoonflower's British Blog Hop I've now tackled my second make - a 1940s blouse with reproduction Simplicity 1590 - just the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to go.

The American fabric/wallpaper/gift-wrap design and print company kindly invited myself and eight fellow bloggers to help celebrate a year and a half of its Berlin-based factory. Having a European branch is good news for everyone on this side of the pond, because you can order in your own currency and the delivery times are much speedier!

I would have happily picked wallpaper, but as we're not currently decorating I decided to stick to sewing. I toyed with the idea of designing my own print, but wisely put my trust in the fabulous many designers registered on Spoonflower.

My project was very much dictated by the print, because once I found Succulents I was instantly smitten. When I decorate my sewing room I'm seriously tempted to paper a wall with this print AND make matching cushion covers!!!

However, falling for this print scuppered my plans for a dress as I don't usually favour light-coloured backgrounds, so I compromised with a blouse instead. I was then gutted not to find a cotton voile on Spoonflower's extensive list of fabrics, but I was so determined that I went ahead and ordered it in the Kona Cotton Ultra instead.

I knew all along that a quilting cotton is not the optimum fabric for a blouse like this, but I powered on with pig-headed stubbornness and luckily it's wearable in a dramatically structured sort of way. I wouldn't use quilting cotton again for this blouse, but I'm gonna own the drama nonetheless. It's like wearing a bustle!

So, aside from picking an inappropriate fabric type for my project, what is Spoonflower's Kona Cotton Ultra actually like? Well, I won't lie, I've handled nicer quilting cottons before. It's very canvas-like and a little scratchy, so if I was paying £17.71 per yard myself, I wouldn't order it for a dressmaking project again. It may well be perfectly acceptable for crafty projects though and it can be ordered by the fay quarter, which is a good way to test the waters I guess. Also, it gets top marks for the printing quality, as the colours and vibrancy are great and there was no visible fading/bleeding after I washed it.

Out of curiosity I also asked for a swatch pack and what I would be very tempted by is their Organic Cotton Sateen Ultra, which feels really lovely. It is a whopping £25.16 per yard though! I was also quite taken with the quality of their jerseys and performance/sportswear fabrics, all of which seem to be a nice quality too. To get a more rounded opinion of Spoonflower, have a look at what blog hoppers The Fold Line, A Million Dresses, Sew Manju, Almond Rock and House of Pinheiro said, with final contributions from So, Zo...What do you know? and Kestrel Makes coming next week.

Have you designed for or bought from Spoonflower before? What did you think? One thing's for sure, I might have to go back at some point for the remaining prints that stole my heart - Cacti in Mugs, Succulent Garden and Cactus Flowers.

As for Simplicity 1590, I'll do a separate post and possibly vlog on the fit, construction and how it compares to original vintage patterns soon.


  1. Your top is gorgeous, the fabric is really lovely.

  2. What a coincidence! A few days ago I received my first order from Spoonflower! I got a few fat quarters in Basic cotton for my bags and 2 yards of cotton poplin ultra for a sundress. I must say I concur with you: the basic cotton is very flimsy. The cotton poplin I have to wait till I sew the dress (it washes well, no bleeding). I got a surprise with one of the quilting fabrics: the print is enormous! I thought (based on the website picture) the print was small, but well, I'll probably sew a big bag. Did you wash your blouse? Maybe it'll soften and drape better. Love!

  3. Lovely blouse! I love Spoonflower for the ease of finding what I need. Meerkat or Llama fabrics for one of a kind gifts? Take your choice. Material for a Willy Wonka costume vest? They got it. Large scale flamingoes? Found it. Your blouse is so flattering. You'll get a ton of compliments!

  4. Love your blouse! I laughed though reading about how quilting cotton makes it feel more like a "bustle". I bought some quilting cotton upon my initial return to sewing (after an almost 40 yr hiatus!) and learned the hard way that it really isn't ideal for garment sewing (and yes of course I had read that somewhere beforehand but thought that was ridiculous :))but what I have learned is that fat quarters are fabulous for making your own continuous bias tape - there is a tutorial online http://myrainbootsarered.blogspot.ca/2014/03/simple-continuous-bias-binding-using-1.html for that. I always appreciate all the work you put into your blog posts and videos Marie.

  5. I've been hip deep in Spoonflower for a few years now (custom cosplay fabrics), and I have had many issues with them regarding their fabrics and their printing. Because the greige goods have to be coated to make them printable, that coating process can shift the material offgrain or pulled in the middle (imagine a horizontal grainline with a soft curve in the middle. Now make that three yards at $32 a yard. See my tears?). Their products have improved (their cotton voile is gone? wha?Fuh!). The poplin is pretty nice stuff and softens with washing, but the garment champ for me is the cotton sateen. It has a nice hand and really holds an image well. The polys are the best for photographic images. And that Kona used to be AWFUL (my sister bought some for a shirt which she BURNED because she hated it so much). Now it's just stiff.

    Some quilting cottons are awful. Some, like Tula Pink and Cotton and Steel, are wonderful for clothes. It's all what it feels like in your hand.

    That blouse is schweet. Looking forward to your remarks on it.

  6. I've been eyeing up that pattern - it looks like you've made a well-fitting version there. Shame about the scratchy fabric, perhaps you'll just have to make another one in something a bit silkier!

  7. That's some drama! I love it structured, actually, although I'm disappointed to hear that the fabric isn't as good as you'd expect.

    I've always wanted to use Spoonflower, but for me it's so expensive to think about when you can't see exact colours and feel the fabric!

  8. Beautiful top and the fabric looks too good. I have been using Spoonflower since years. They are very good, however comparatively expensive but they have really a good collection of fabric and printing.