Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Guest Post from David: Designing the Fabric

     Out of the fabric samples and catalog photos I showed Debi, this is the one she immediately gravitated to.  I liked that the pattern of flowers was simple but didn't repeat often - there was an organic flow to it, which I wanted to replicate.  It meant a bit of extra work, but I thought the effect would be worth the time.

I couldn't find a pure scan of the catalog cover, so unfortunately, the jpeg I had to work with was a poor photograph of the page.   I brought it into Photoshop and realised I would have to create the different coloured flowers from scratch.   I essentially did the digital version of tracing:  I set the catalog page image as the background, then opened a new layer above it, setting the transparency to 50%, painting over the image until I got the feel for the technique of how the flowers were created.

     I ended up creating a few flower shapes with the colours sampled directly from the original image, then saved each flower as a separate file, placing them individually on a background also sampled from the catalog image.  Since each flower was an individual layer, I was able to replicate the bunches by arranging the layers and erasing sections of the flower above so they would fit together.

     I came up for air (a cuppa tea, truth be told) some time later, with a good section that matched the pattern of the fabric pictured on the catalog page.

     Then I went about adding the random elements I had liked about the original fabric pattern.

     Once that was done, I began replicating the pattern by layering copies of the finished section and making sure they blended seamlessly.  I wanted the flowers to be about 2-3cm big, so I scaled the image accordingly and uploaded it.

     I wasn't entirely satisfied with the quality of the image, so I decided to create a full-sized image of the 1 x 3.5metre fabric to ensure that there would be a seamless repeat in the pattern for the entire length, to make it easy for Debi to place the pattern pieces and avoid unnecessary waste.
     This proved to be more complicated than I'd first thought; thankfully, I've since figured out a simpler way to do it but that afternoon was spent waiting for the graphics to render bit by bit.

     We ended up printing a larger version of the pattern on cashmere and the full 3.5 metres on cotton lawn.   The former will be used for a jacket and the latter for the dress.  Both fabrics are very soft to the touch and have a nice drape.   I think Debi's going to look great in them!

     The photo above was taken in poor light - the colours match perfectly and we're very pleased with the results.   I'll take some better photos once Debi's finished sewing her outfit.

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