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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Fabric Printing

Time to do some more fabric printing.  I have an outfit which I love and which needs a small bag to complement it so I have set about designing some fabric for it.

The outfit consist of grey jeans, a grey t-shirt, a light salmon jersey and a beautiful grey and salmon scarf:
The most difficult part of this is trying to match the colours.  There are 2 ways I do this:  either by scanning my outfit and trying to match the colours from this or by using a colour swatch.

I bought my colour swatch quite recently and already feel that I am getting a much better match.  It only came out in March, I see, but already I find it indispensible (both UK and US Amazons have it).  The back of the cards show the CMYK, RGB and Hex colour numbers.  These are the settings you can change in Photoshop Elements to get the exact colour on the card. However, don't think you printer will necessarily print this colour!  This requires colour calibration which can be a drawn out or even an expensive endeavour.  I will one day spend more time getting this right but happy for now just to print out swatches and get the best match.

When I compared my jersey with the swatch I couldn't believe that the colours that matched were on the Orange and Yellow-Orange colour cards and in fact the colour I chose was on the Yellow-Orange card.  I tend to go for a colour which is lighter than the original because the swatch colours on the card are small and become more intense when the area is bigger, secondly, they often print out darker on fabric and lastly, I find a slightly lighter colour often matches better.

I first print out a colour swatch on paper and once I have it right I print it out on fabric because the colours can still change.  I then write down the colour combinations and the printer settings on the print-outs.  Oh yes, and I also write down on the fabric, the fabric I used - in this case I used Cotton Sateen Arian White which is my favourite at the moment (I bought it online from Whaleys in the UK). If you don't print out the fabric on the same day, it is worth reprinting samples just before you do the print run - so much depends on the printer!  I have decided on using 2 different fabrics - one with dots and one with stripes.  Here is an example of my stripe print-out:

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