9 Creative Ways To Use Personalised Fabric To Promote Your Business

9 Creative Ways To Use Fabric To Promote Your Business

Personalised fabric is a great accessory to showcase your pattern designs and make your packaging and promotional materials stand out.

For all of these examples, you can use a beautiful patterned fabric, or why not make your own pattern which includes your company logo and contact details to promote your business.

 

1. Fabric Presentation Bags and Wrapping Paper

Beautiful packaging and presentation will make your customer feel extra special, and make the process of unwrapping your products even more enjoyable. Use a beautiful fabric to make your gift bags or fabric wrapping paper something your customers want to keep.

You could also offer this as a giftwrapping service on your website or for special events like Christmas and Mother’s Day.

Instructions on handmadiya.com

 

Digitally printed banner for market stall

2. Banners and Table Cloths

If you sell your products at markets or trade fairs, you know how important it is to have eye catching signs to draw attention to your stand. You could print customer reviews, your most popular Instagram pictures, or just your company logo on a nice bright background.

1m of fabric is big enough for a banner, and 2m will cover most market tables.

Image from alyssaleannehoppe.com

 

3. Badges and Magnets

When you’re making things with fabric, you always end up with lots of small scraps. Instead of throwing them away, make personalised fabric badges and magnets to sell alongside your other products, or to wear at markets and networking events. Buy a kit to achieve a professional finish if you want to sell them.

Badge instructions on pintsizedtreasure.com

Magnet instructions on andreasnotebook.com

 

4. Fabric Business Cards

Show you’re a textile creative by including your fabrics on your business cards. You could sew examples of your patterns to the back, or sew a ruffle or flounce to the edge to make your business card stand out in a pile.

Why not print your business cards directly on fabric, and use interfacing to make it rigid? You could make 112 double sided digitally printed fabric business cards from 1m of Cotton Sateen.

Image from sappyapple.blogspot.co.uk

 

5. Fabric Business Card Holder

For customers you really want to impress, give them your card in a bespoke fabric business card holder. They will be reminded of you every time they give anyone their card.

Extra gifts like this can be a great way to build your relationship with customers and keep them coming back to you.

Instructions on makingtheworldcuter.com

 

How to make fabric ribbon

6. Personalised Ribbon

Art prints, folded fabric, handbags, and dresses, everything looks better if it’s wrapped with a ribbon. And even better if the ribbon is a beautiful pattern that promotes your business.

Instructions on tikkido.com

 

7. Printed Fabric Labels

Any products you sell made from fabric should include a label with your business name on. It makes them look more professional, and reminds people of your company if they want to buy any more, or promote you to their friends.

Digitally printing your labels means you can include as many colours as you want, and you can include extra information like washing instructions, fabric composition, and your website. To make your labels, just set up a metre canvas in Photoshop or Illustrator, and copy and paste your label, remembering to leave enough space for a seam allowance.

All of our fabrics are suitable for printed labels, but we like Furnishing Cotton as it is easy to sew but has a nice weight.

 

8. Personalised Swatch Book

Create some mini fabric swatch books to give to potential buyers or retailers. These don’t need to include your full portfolio, but are a great way to remind people of your style and how your designs look of fabric (and are much more exciting and likely to be kept than a printed PDF!) Always keep one in your bag for impromptu meetings.

Have a look at fabric and wallpaper swatch books in department stores for ideas on how to make and present your swatch book.

 

How to make a fabric collage card

9. Thank You Cards

A lovely customer, another creative who’s helped you out, a mentor who’s given some great advice, or the organiser of an event you went to. It’s always nice to send a thank you card, and even more thoughtful if it’s handmade and includes your own fabrics or designs.

Minki Kim shows how to use fabric scraps to make an applique card, or you could try making something more 3D or layered.

 

 

Do you use your personalised fabric in any other ways to promote your business? Or has this inspired you to try something new? Write us a comment on Facebook, we’d love to know.

How Much Does Digital Fabric Printing Cost?

 

How To Make Money From Your Textile Design Skills

posted in: Start Up and Freelance Advice | 3

How To Make Money From Your Textile Design Skills

If you’re a recent (or not so recent) textile design graduate, you might have experienced a horrible moment where you’ve wondered where on earth all the jobs are, and how will you make money? Luckily, Textiles gives you practical and useful skills, and you can use these to sell your work, or even start your own business.

 

1. Design artwork for local events and organisations

As a print designer, your role is to make beautiful images. These are normally repeat patterns, but you could turn your skills to creating a poster for a local market, a new logo for a small business, a beautiful newsletter for a charity, or an online banner for a local organisation.

Think about your strengths – are you good at hand illustrations, bold colours, imaginative compositions, photography – and build on these to think of designs you could make outside of pattern design.

Most likely you won’t have the technical skills to pitch for big jobs or national companies (although it’s always worth trying), but approach small or local organisations, who might not have the budget to pay a professional design business. Show them examples of your patterns and drawings, and let them know what you think you could offer them, quoting a fair price for your work.

Websites like Freelancer and Fiverr are also options for advertising your skills, although don’t feel you have to match the incredibly low prices offered by some, quality is more important than quantity.

 

2. Offer art and design portfolio coaching to school students

You’re building your professional textiles portfolio, so you have a great insight into what students need to show in their portfolio to get into a Foundation or Undergraduate degree course. Ask your old school/college if they would hire you for a day, or could advertise your services to students, create a poster to pin on noticeboards in your area, and post an ad on Gumtree.

Remember to give honest but constructive feedback, and if possible show examples of what a great portfolio looks like. Give advice on designers they should look at, exhibitions to visit, and extra projects or designs to try.

 

3. Websites that let you print and sell your designs on products

The great things about sites like Red Bubble, Society 6, and Print All Over Me, is you can sell products made with your patterns, without having to invest any money in stock. You agree to give a percentage of the sale to the website, and in return you can sell products including tshirts, mugs, art prints, towels and dresses with your designs on. Great for starting out, but the commission and selling prices charged by the sites can be quite high, so as your business grows you will want to take over production of your products.

 

4. Sell your pattern designs online

While not always as easy as it sounds, it’s worth setting up an account on the popular freelancing websites like Patternbank, The Creative Finder, and Behance and adding images of the patterns you would like to sell. Ensure your designs can’t be easily copied, by never showing a full repeat and including a watermark. Once you have an online portfolio, send it to any contacts you have so they can see examples of your most recent work.

 

5. Run a textiles, printing, or art workshop

This can be a fun event to run with a friend, especially if you feel nervous talking in front of people. Come up with an idea based on your skills (often the simpler the better – don’t try and cram in too much), and organise a workshop.

Think about some of the best classes and workshops you attended at university, and remember your students will want to leave having made a finished product/artwork.

Ask local churches, village halls, cafes and businesses if they have an affordable space you can hire, buy all the materials you need, and advertise like crazy.

You will need some upfront investment, and the first one might have a few hiccups, but if it goes well you could start a regular class, and income stream. It’s also a great way of meeting other creatives in your area.

 

6. Teach a local art class

If the idea of setting up your own workshop sounds too much, create a CV and portfolio that highlights your teaching/coaching experience, and approach local art classes and summer schools. Create a lesson plan to demonstrate how you will teach a particular skill, show examples of your work, and list professional experience and/or awards won. It’s also worth mentioning if you have a strong social media following, as places like this will appreciate if you can help support and promote their classes.

 

7. Start a fashion label

I don’t mean a ‘proper’ fashion label (although, why not?), but you can easily make some clothes and sell them. Your design skills mean you have a unique personal style, and most likely a clear idea of what you do and don’t like.

Try the #girlboss approach and customise charity shop finds, or digitally print your best designs and create some clothes. There’s lots of simple clothing patterns on the internet, or companies like the ethically focused Kalopsia Collective can make professional quality clothes for you, with their newly launched Assemble Apparel service.

When you have your finished creations, hire a stall at a local craft market, and set up a boutique on Asos Marketplace.

 

8. Design artwork for bands

Bands are always looking for unique and innovative artwork for their merch: tshirts, posters, albums, websites, etc. Think about your design handwriting and ask what type of music genre you would suit. Brent Galloway has written a great post on how to create band merchandise, and you can also show your portfolio to bands and see if you have anything existing that they like and would want to use.

 

9. Sell your products on Etsy

Things like cushions, zip bags, pencil cases, tote bags, etc are really easy to make, and don’t need much sewing knowledge. In fact we have DIY cushion and bag Pinterest boards which can help you with how to guides.

Digitally print your favourite patterns (Print & Press prices start at £20 for a metre, enough to make 6 cushions or 16 A5 zip bags), and spend a weekend making your products, photographing, and setting up your Etsy page.

There are also other sales platforms like Folksy and NuMonday which are smaller but cater more to UK audiences.

Read: How Much Does Digital Fabric Printing Cost?

 

Don’t forget, if you are making anything to sell, (or selling your services) you should work out a selling price that will appeal to customers, and pay you for your time. Read our 5 Steps To Work Out Your Product’s Selling Price article to find out how.

 

How To Sell Your Products: 7 Questions Retail Buyers Always Ask

posted in: Start Up and Freelance Advice | 0

How To Sell Your Products | Selling Your Products To Retailers | Questions Retail Buyers Ask

If you are selling your products to retailers, there are certain questions retail buyers will always ask you. Know your answers to these questions off by heart so you look professional and well prepared.

So you’ve managed to get a meeting with a buyer – congratulations! Retail buyers are busy people, and they won’t meet you if they aren’t interested in your brand. Now you’ve got their attention, stand out and show them why they should sell your products in their shop. You need come across as professional and competent, so they know they can trust you with their money, and you will deliver the right stock on time.

 

  1. Tell us about your brand.

It’s likely the person you are meeting doesn’t know very much about your brand. They may have seen your website, or you may have been suggested to them by someone else. Make sure your elevator pitch is perfect and your delivery is confident. Not only are they looking to find out about what you make/sell, they’re also trying to find out if they want to start a working relationship with you, and what you will be like if any problems arise.

REMEMBER TO SHOW YOUR PRODUCTS! Retail buyers are creative people and your physical products are what will excite them.

 

  1. Who are your other stockists?

This question finds out a couple of things:

  • Do you already know how to work with a retailer of their size
  • Are you stocked in reputable/fashionable shops (which may improve your reputation)
  • Are you stocked in shops which are likely to discount your stock (which may damage your reputation, and make your products harder to sell at full price)
  • Is there any possibility of exclusive products

Whatever you do, don’t lie; a quick Google search can easily reveal fibs.

If you aren’t stocked anywhere else, turn this into a positive: you won’t have any distractions and will be able guarantee them stock, and they can sell your products exclusively (for now). This is also the time to mention if you are having conversations about selling with any other retailers.

If you have worked with similar retailers before, make this clear. Most buyers will value that you understand how the buying, ordering, and delivery process works, and it may make them more likely to trust you with a larger first order.

 

  1. What is your current turnover?

When you prepare for your meeting, you need to know your figures inside out. Buyers have to to meet sales targets, and they want to know they can trust you with their money. They may fire several figures questions at you at once to test if you are making anything up. Try to answer, but if you aren’t sure or can’t remember, promise to send everything through after the meeting. It is always better to delay than guess and give incorrect information.

 

  1. Can we sell your brand/range/a product exclusively?

Exclusivity is a key marketing tool for retailers, and helps them to stand out from the competition. It can be the decision maker for a buyer, so come to the meeting knowing what (if anything) you are able to offer them exclusively. If you are already stocked elsewhere, could they have UK exclusivity? A different colour? A slightly different specification? A free add-on gift with each purchase? A different range?

If you agree to an exclusive item, be very clear on the terms. Some items are only exclusive for a limited period of time (known as an Exclusive Launch), others may be exclusive for the lifetime of the product. Some retailers will be happy for you to also sell the product on your website, while others will want to be the only retail avenue.

Don’t agree to anything you’re not happy with, or that won’t work for your brand. For example, if the Buyer wants 100% exclusivity, but only wants to order 500, and your minimum order is 1000, then you will be left with 500 products you can’t sell. This might not be a problem if the wholesale price they are paying is enough to cover the full order (and you can write the rest of the stock off), but this is another reason it’s important to know your figures so you don’t get caught out.

 

  1. What are your wholesale prices and recommended retail prices?

Selling prices can be complicated when working with retailers. If you aren’t familiar with the law, download this guide from the UK Government: UK Competition Law. Very simply, as a supplier you cannot dictate selling prices to a retailer, their selling prices are their decision.

You can give, and will probably be asked for, your Recommended Retail Prices. These are your suggested selling prices. The retailer will most likely use these as a guide, but they do not have to adhere to them. Buyers will want to know your RRPs for two reasons:

  • Where your products will fit in their pricing hierarchy (are you low, mid or premium for their store)
  • What will their profit margin be, based on your wholesale prices

The profit margin is the important part of this conversation. Buyers will have margin targets, and it is likely they won’t be able to add a supplier who doesn’t meet this. They won’t want to increase selling prices any higher than your RRP, so if the profit margin is too low, they will look to you to decrease your wholesale prices.

It’s worth trying to find out the retailer’s margin requirements before you go to the meeting. Don’t ask them directly (they will of course tell you a high figure!) but online sleuthing or speaking to your contacts might reveal something.

If you know you’re wholesale prices may be too high, you will need to have a plan to put to the buyer. Is there anything you would be willing to trade for a lower wholesale price – free marketing on their website or in store/ a discount for a bulk order over a certain amount/ a prominent position in their shop/ the retailer also stocking other products from your range?

5 Steps To Work Out Your Product’s Selling Price

 

  1. How are your products different from other products/brands we currently stock?

If the buyer doesn’t ask you this question directly, make sure you find a way to tell them anyway. This is your chance to shine and to really sell your products. Bring examples and invite everyone there to touch them, show your passion and your knowledge about what you do, and why you are a hundred times better than the competition. Don’t forget to also talk about your company and why you are so great to work with, your customer service, ethical credentials, social media followers, endorsements, marketing campaigns, awards you’ve won, etc.

The other reason for this question is to find out your point of difference. It’s likely the retailer already sells products similar to yours, you need to show they aren’t the same. It’s your opportunity to show you have researched the retailer’s current range, which makes you look well prepared and thorough, and for you to show exactly where you fit in their assortment. Think about the sort of customer who shops with them, who you will help them to attract, and how else having your brand in their shop will help them.

 

  1. Do you have a UK warehouse/How much stock do you hold?

This question will depend on the size of the retailer you are speaking to. The main thing they want to know is how quickly can they re-order if your products are successful. If something is a sell out, they don’t want to have to wait 2 months for more to be made. If you can offer backup stock then great, make sure you let them know this.

However, if you are a small business who makes to order, approach this as a conversation. Find out what stock holding would make them feel comfortable – could you manage this on your bestselling lines? Alternatively could they place a larger upfront order on certain lines and then call this in over a few months? This means if the sales are strong they can call the stock in quicker, and if they are slow then can call it over a longer time frame.

 

If you take one thing away from this post: do your homework! Getting a meeting with a retail buyer is difficult, once you’re there, make sure you don’t jeopardise your chances by not being prepared. Research their company and their current product range, and be ready to talk all about your beautiful products and why you love them. Good luck!

 

We hope you found this article helpful, and are feeling more confident about selling your products to retailers. We will be starting a new series to help designers and small brands grow and find distributors for their products. If you have any feedback, or any topics you’d like us to cover, please send an email to hello@printandpresslondon.co.uk.

Design Book Review: Best Books For Surface Pattern Inspiration

posted in: Inspiration | 2

Design Book Review: Best Books for Surface Pattern Design Inspiration

Our most popular post on Instagram was a photo of the team’s favourite textile design books. So we’re starting a regular feature where we will review and recommend our favourite design books, starting with the best books for surface pattern design inspiration.

Here’s our top five books for when you need some ideas to move your designs on, you want to start a new project, or you need some beautiful images to start off your sketches. Have we missed your favourite pattern design book? Recommend it to us on Facebook.

 

Textile Designs: 200 Years of Patterns for Printed Fabrics arranged by Motif, Colour, Period and Design

by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers

If you are new to surface pattern design, and only want to buy one book, make sure it’s this one. This is the bible of printed patterns, with every type of pattern imaginable clearly categorised. It’s a great way to learn about the different traditional patterns (could you identify a Chocolate pattern? Vermicular? Eccentic? Bonnes Herbes?), and more advanced print designers may find it useful for ideas on repeat structures, borders and compositions.

Surface pattern design book review recommendation

 

 

Patterns

by Drusilla Cole

Some modern pattern collection books can be very focused on a cutesy, vector style of design, which although popular, is not particularly unique. Patterns by Drusilla Cole is great because it showcases a whole range of modern surface pattern designs, including vectors, paintings, hand drawn, photographic, collage, stitch, and everything in between. All images are flats of the patterns, allowing you to see the detail and textures, although this does mean the repeat is not always obvious. The colours and style are contemporary and exciting, and every page is completely different, making it the perfect place to look if you need some inspiration.

Surface pattern design book review recommendation

 

 

England Is a Garden: A Wayfarer’s Companion

by Catherine Hamilton

This beautiful book is full of pencil sketches and watercolour illustrations of English flowers and buildings. You can pick it up online for pennies, and it’s a great resource for floral and leaf shapes, if what you want isn’t in season, or you don’t want to leave your house.

Surface pattern design book review recommendation

 

 

Fashion Print Design: From the Idea to the Final Print

by Angel Fernandez

The best part of this book is the images of finished garments, and patterns printed onto fabric. Ignore the text (it’s nothing particularly useful), there are hundreds of images of contemporary fashion print designs, and examples of initial sketches, finished digital prints, and the final fabric. A good resource for fashion designers and students to highlight the importance of composition, and how different a pattern can look on screen compared to on fabric.

Surface pattern design book review recommendation

 

 

Textiles Today: A Global Survey of Trends and Traditions

by Chloe Colchester

While this is a more academic book than the others, it still has lots of beautiful pictures, and looks beyond traditional print to encompass weave, knit, stitch, and technology. At face value the images can inspire designs based on pop culture, structures, collage, and texture, or could also be used as a supporting read for a more in depth critical study or project.

Surface pattern design book review recommendation

 

We hope you found this useful, let us know which type of design book you’d like us to review next on Facebook.

 

All books were bought by Print & Press, London, and we did not receive any fees for recommending them. However, if you click on the above links and decide to buy them, we will receive a small amount of commission.

 

Inspiring Women: Beki Gowing Features on Jennifer Hamley’s blog

posted in: News | 0

Beki Gowing | Print & Press London | Jennifer Hamley

If you follow us on social media (you should! – we post lots of beautiful photos) you may have seen that Print & Press, London founder Beki Gowing has been featured on Jennifer Hamley’s Inspiring Women blog this week.

Jennifer sells beautiful, considered handbags for busy working women, and her blog features female entrepreneurs and businesswomen. Beki recently spoke to her about leaving her corporate buying job, setting up Print & Press, London, and how she stays organised (including discussions of critical paths and our FREE product launch plan).

Read the full article on Jennifer’s blog.

There’s also a separate article called ‘What’s In Your Handbag‘, where Beki shows the contents of her bag.

If you’re setting up your own business, or freelancing on your own, have a look at the rest of Jennifer’s blog, there’s some fantastic stories from some truly inspirational women.

Designer Community: Where To Buy Notebooks, Paintings and Swimwear

posted in: News | 0

Love our designer patterns, but don’t have time to make something yourself? Here’s some of the places you can buy their beautiful patterns on fashion, homeware and accessories.

 

Varpu Kronholm

Print & Press London | Varpu Kronholm textile designer

As well as freelancing, Varpu paints beautiful watercolour art prints, which are available to buy from her shop. She has also collaborated with the fashion brand Walnutte to create these stunning silk scarves.

Varpu Kronholm’s shop

Walnutte

 

Anna Jayne

Print & Press London | Anna Jayne stationery and artwork

Anna will be selling her floral patterns on cushions and bunting at the Country Living Fair at Alexandra Palace this weekend, 27th to 30th April 2017. She is available for freelance design work, and specialises in creating artwork and stationery for weddings. You can also buy her artwork and cards from these shops in Buckinghamshire:

Signature Flowers

Horizon Framing

Lakers Nursery

 

Sofia Alves

Print & Press London | Sofia Alves swimwear

As well as designing her own prints, Sofia also designs patterns for two swimwear brands. They have beautiful photography, and the styles perfectly show off Sofia’s delicate watercolour paintings.

Hinna (all 2017 prints designed by Sofia)

Alumar Swimwear

 

Lotti Brown

Print & Press London | Lotti Brown Pet Art

Lotti sells her designs on the online platforms listed below, and also runs an art and design business. She has recently started selling bespoke pet portraits, and to celebrate the launch she is offering the chance to win a portrait. Entry details are on her website, and the competition closes on 9th June.

Lotti Brown’s Etsy shop

Lotti Brown’s Society 6 shop

Lotti Brown’s Redbubble shop

Lotti Brown Pet Art

 

Megan Roberts

Print & Press London | Megan Roberts phone cases and notebooks

Visit Megan’s online shop to buy her gorgeous patterns on phone cases, notebooks and mugs, all manufactured in the UK.

Megan Roberts’ shop

 

Jill O’Connor

Print & Press London | Jill O'Connor textile designer

Jill also sells her designs through RedBubble, and her beautiful patterns can be bought on a range of stylish and flattering clothes.

Jill O’Connor on RedBubble

National Stationery Week: How To Make A Lined Pencil Case

posted in: Techniques and How To's | 0

National Stationery Week - How To Make A Pencil Case

National Stationery Week starts today, and Lisa Dolson, one of our favourite illustrators and printed textile designers, has created an easy to follow how to guide to make your own lined pencil case.

 

Hi I’m Lisa Dolson, a freelance Textile Designer and Illustrator from Glasgow, Scotland. I have a passion for textiles, drawing, sewing, quilting and weaving. I enjoy making zipper pouches, pencil cases, clutch bags and quilts with my fabric designs, and as a fabric and stationery hoarder, I love trying out new pens to draw with or different techniques for creating art. I’m inspired by everything around me, mostly nature, flowers and the countryside, particularly at my holiday home in Loch Lomond where the wildlife is amazing and the views are breathtaking. I am also inspired by the everyday objects we use, and recently developed a collection of prints using drawings of shoes, cassettes, cameras and watches. I’m in the early stages of collaborating with a shoemaker who wants to use my designs on their handmade shoes! It’s really exciting to see the possibilities that print designs can have, and I’d love the opportunity to collaborate with more companies. In particular, I would love to see a range of my designs on purses, pencil cases, bags, and more! 

As it’s National Stationery Week this week (24 April 2017) I thought I would share a step by step guide on how to make one of my favourite things…a pencil case! No self-respecting stationery hoarder would be without one! They are so much fun to make, especially using your own digitally printed fabric. I often like to line them with a contrasting colour or design.  You can make them in any size to store all sorts of stationery goodies, give them as gifts, and make them for yourself as I like to do. You can adapt this pattern to make them any size you want, and they are handy for putting in your handbag when travelling. I recently made some new pencil cases for my sons, and I made them fairly large to hold all of their coloured pencils. I have to warn you, these are very addictive and once you know how to make one, you will be hooked!

You can use any fabric for your pencil case, upholstery fabrics and canvas type fabrics add more structure. However, if you are using a lighter fabric you can always add an interfacing to give it more strength. I also love to quilt and enjoy creating improv pieces using a variety of scraps and handprinted fabrics to create unique pencil cases and pouches.  You could use vintage fabrics, screen printed fabrics and hand dyed fabrics. In this demonstration I am using a Furnishing Cotton printed by Print & Press with my Handcreme print, and for the lining I am using linen, with an 8” zip with brass teeth. The size of your zip will decide the width of your fabric to cut. Although this is a 8” zip, the overall length of the zip is 9”, so make sure you measure the full length of the zip and not just from the pull to the stop of the zip teeth.

 

Ok, lets get started!

Print & Press | Lisa Dolson How To Make A Lined Pencil Case

 

How to make a lined pencil case (or a zip bag)

Materials:

  • Fabric for the outer layer
  • Fabric for the lining
  • a zip (I am using an 8” zip)
  • contrasting threads, scissors and some wonder clips (or pins)
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

 

Step 1.  Cut 2 pieces of the outer fabric 9”x 6.5” (You can make length of your fabric any size but I think the 6.5” length creates a decent size pencil case). Cut 2 pieces of your lining fabric 9”x 6.5”

 

Step 2. Layer your fabrics –

a) Place your lining fabric face up on your work surface

 

b) Place your zip on top of the lining along the top, ensuring you line up the raw edges of the fabric with the edge of the zip. *The zip pull will be on the left hand side of the fabric

 

c) Take your outer fabric and place this face down on top of your zip and lining fabric, ensuring all 3 edges are lined up.

 

Step 3. Secure this ‘sandwich’ of fabrics and zip in place for stitching. I like to use Wonder clips as they hold the fabric in place well and are bright and colourful. I purchased mine from Hobbycraft, they have a world of amazing little things you never knew you needed!! You can also use pins if you wish. Place 4 clips along the top of your fabric holding the lining, the zip and the outer fabric in place.

 

Step 4. Using your sewing machine you want to stitch about 1/2” seam allowance to secure the fabric to the zip. I like to use my zipper foot as the needle can get close to the zip without the presser foot getting in the way.

a) Start stitching about 2” down from the top, the pull of the zip will get in the way if you start at the top of the fabric. I start about 2″ down and stitch all the way to the bottom.

b) Once you have done this, open up the fabric ‘sandwich’ and check your stitching, if it looks ok, open the zip a little (3”) and fold fabric back in place. You can now stitch the rest of the fabric from the top to where you first started (I always start with a back stitch and end with a back stitch to secure my stitches.)

 

Step 5. Now you want to do the same to the other side so you will repeat step 3

  • Place your lining fabric face up on your work surface
  • Add your zip (which now has your 2 pieces of fabric attached) to the top of the lining fabric
  • Your zip pull will now be on the righthand side of the fabric
  • Place your other outer piece of fabric on top face down
  • Repeat step 3 by using your clips or pins to secure this all in place, taking care to make sure you have all the edges lined up
  • This time once fabric is secured you can stitch from the top straight down using a 1/2” seam allowance, or as close to the zip as you can
  • Make sure you stop about 2” from the end as the zipper pull will be at the bottom this time
  • Repeat the same process, open up the fabric ‘sandwich’ and then open up the zip about 2″, fold back in place, and starting with a backstitch finish off stitching until whole side is stitched

 

Step 6. I like to open out the fabric with the zip in the centre, you should have an outer and a lining on either side of the zip. Take this to the iron and press out the seams from the centre out – taking care to ensure your iron is at the right temperature for your fabric. I like to do a test first to ensure it isn’t too hot!

 

Step 7. Once pressed, take the fabric to your sewing machine and add a topstitch either side of the zip, this helps hold the fabric in place, and prevents any fabric catching inside your zip.

  • You can use any stitch size you like, I like to make mine about 3″. You could even use a contrasting thread.
  • Still using your zipper foot stitch a straight stitch either side of your zip and secure with a back stitch
  • Check over your stitching and make sure your zip works

 

Step 8. This is the important part – this is where you must remember to open your zip or else once you stitch the whole pencil case you will not be able to turn it the right way out

  • So, you have been warned! Open your zip about half way
  • Take your 2 lining pieces together and your 2 outer fabric pieces together
  • This can be a bit tricky, but make sure your 2 zip ends are flat against each other and the teeth are facing the lining fabrics, and secure with a clip
  • Do the same with the other side, make sure the zip ends (that are open) are flat together and also facing the lining section
  • This can create a bit of bulk so take your time to ensure the zip teeth are facing the correct way and pin in place

 

Step 9. Finish pinning or clipping around the whole ’square’ of fabric

  • When you come to the lining fabric, leave a gap about 3”. This will be your opening for turning the fabric the right way out and pulling it all through
  • I use 2 pins to highlight the area I need to keep open
  • Start by stitching a back stitch at the 2nd pin and stitch all the way around the fabric square using a 1/2” seam allowance
  • Stop when you reach back to the 1st pin, and backstitch

 

Step 10.Trim the corners of all 4 points to remove any bulk

  • You can also trim the edges including the zip ends as they can often be bulky
  • Leave the edge of the lining with the opening though. as you will be turning this in anyway

 

Step 11. Now the magic….

  • Using the opening place your hand inside the opening and pull the inside out (thankfully we opened the zip before stitching!)
  • Use a seam ripper or sharp pencil to poke the corners of the outer fabric to ensure it looks nice and sharp

 


Step 12.

  • Pull the lining pocket right out too and poke the corners out
  • Then fold in the opening on your lining fabric and secure with a pin, stitch this opening closed with a matching thread and secure with a backstitch
  • Then place the lining back inside your pencil case and check over your pencil case ensuring the zip works

 

Step 13. I like to iron over my pencil case and press it inside to ensure a nice clean finish….and voila! You have just made yourself a cute pencil case!

 

 

We hope you found these instructions useful and feel inspired to make one yourself. You can see examples of Lisa’s work on Instagram, please add a comment to her page to let her know how you get on, and tag us both in your creations @lisadolson and @printandpressuk.

If you want to create your own customised fabric for a pencil case you can order a metre, or try a Lucky Dip to get an A3 sample of personalised fabric (for only £7.50!).

 

How Much Does Digital Fabric Printing Cost?

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Print & Press | How Much Does Digital Fabric Printing Cost?

 

Digital fabric printing is an easy and affordable way to create your own unique, customised products. We have listed some of the common products people make with their fabric, and showed the digital fabric printing prices, to help you work out your costs.

 

40cm x 40cm Cushion

Our prices are for a digitally printed front, but if you want to digitally print both sides then the cost will be double.

Fabric: Furnishing Cotton

How many fit on 1m: 6

Cost of 1m: £24

Cost per cushion: £4

 

50cm x 50cm Cushion

Fabric: Furnishing Cotton

How many fit on 110cm: 4

Cost of 110cm: £26.40

Cost per cushion: £6.60

 

Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt

Buy the Ultimate Pencil Skirt pattern from Sew Over It’s website

Fabric: Plain Cotton

How many fit on 130cm: 1 (with some fabric left over)

Cost of 130cm: £26

Cost per skirt: £26

 

A5 Zip Pouch/Make Up Bag

Fabric: Cotton Drill

How many fit on 1 metre: 16

Cost of 1 metre: £25

Cost per bag: £1.57

 

Tote Bag

Read the instructions on how to make a personalised canvas tote

Fabric: Cotton Canvas

How many fit on 130cm: 3 (Onebag will need 2cm taking off the width)

Cost of 130cm: £36.40

Cost per bag: £12.14

 

Elasticated Waist Skirt (60cm length)

Read the instructions on how to make a skirt in under an hour

Fabric: Plain Cotton

How many fit on 150cm: 2

Cost of 150cm: £30

Cost per skirt: £15

 

2m of Personalised Bunting (with 18 triangles)

Fabric: Cotton Sateen

How many fit on a metre: 4 (4 sets of 18)

Cost of 1 metre: £22

Cost per 2m length of bunting: £5.50

 

We hope you’re feeling inspired, it’s so easy to start making your own products to sell or give as personalised gifts. Click here if you’re ready to order your fabric, or let us know on Facebook if you’d like us to help you price something.

 

Print your own fabric

 

 

3 Mistakes To Avoid When You Startup Your Creative Business

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Print & Press | 3 Mistakes To Avoid When You Startup Your Creative Business

Print & Press founder Beki Gowing looks at the lessons she learnt starting up a creative business at university, and suggests how new startups and designers can avoid similar mistakes.

 

When I was at university (before Print & Press, London was a twinkle in my eye) I ran a failed clothing brand. While this failure initially dented my confidence, it taught me a huge amount about what matters, and what doesn’t, when setting up your own business. I’ve embraced my mistakes, and I know I wasn’t alone in not managing to get my business through its first year. If you’re thinking about starting a business, I hope some of this advice will be useful.

 

1. Know who your customer is and where they are shopping

My clothing brand sold clothes that I loved. So I decided that my customer was ‘people like me’ and ‘people like me with a bit more money’. It’s embarrassing to admit, but my research didn’t really go far beyond that, and the slightly arrogant assumption that anyone who was young and liked fashion would like my clothes.

When you are setting up your brand, go and talk to your target customers. Find out as much about them as possible, including what influences them, and where they like to shop. Online surveys and asking your friends is ok, but nothing makes up for hitting the streets and actually talking to the sort of people you want to buy your products. Talking to your customers face to face will make you find out where they shop. For my mid range clothing brand targeting fashion conscious women, I decided to sell at car boot fairs and vintage markets, as I could afford the stands there. Quite predictably, I didn’t sell many clothes.

While it’s fine to try a soft launch, a few days of selling your products in the wrong venues can really impact your confidence. A local market that only charges £30 for a stall is not worth it if you don’t sell anything, as it wastes your time and your optimism (and you need a huge amount of optimism when starting a business). Meanwhile a niche market or trade show in a different town may cost you several hundred pounds, but if you sell out, make contacts, and get positive feedback, it will be worth the investment.

The main thing to remember is to research. And to keep researching and analysing after you’ve launched. After 3 months – were you right about your target customers? Are the sales as you expected, or have you noticed you are getting more/less sales from one channel? Don’t be afraid to go back and completely rewrite your plans once you have some real sales results to help.

 

2. Don’t overprepare

This may seem to contradict the previous point, but there is a difference between useful research and wasting hours sitting on your computer. Of course you should have as much research as possible before you give up your job and invest your life savings. But it’s also a good idea to test before you commit.

Do you want to start a homeware business? Make some samples and open an Etsy store to see what sells. Want to work as a freelance textiles designer? Go to a local shop and show them your designs to get feedback on what they are looking to buy. The most useful research will be away from your computer.

You will learn from your initial sales (and what doesn’t sell), and feedback from customers and other people. And it’s ok to change and develop your proposition after you have launched. I thought my old business needed to be absolutely perfect before I even thought about my first sale. Unfortunately, this meant I spent a small fortune on stationery, and days completing wildly optimistic 5 year budgets. I thought I was being sensible and researching, but really I was wasting time overpreparing, when I should have focused on my products and my customers. Make your first sale as soon as possible, as then you’ll start learning about your customers and your business.

 

3. Use social media to engage, not to sell

There are countless websites on the internet devoted to teaching you how to use social media effectively for your business. I originally made the classic mistake of making my social media posts all about me. I wrote lengthy blogs about what I was up to, and posted every product and its price on my twitter feed. I hoped that customers and collaborators would find me and contact me offering their ideas and their money. If you think you still might be doing this, below are some great free resources to help you up your social media game.

The main thing I have learnt is to think about how you use social media in your spare time. I doubt you are searching Twitter with your wallet open wondering what to buy. What type of posts and accounts do you follow and enjoy reading? Most likely they are ones that look beautiful, have a sense of uniqueness and personality, and are sharing useful information. What this useful information is will depend on your business – motivational quotes, sewing patterns, local events, inspirational photos, etc. Make your account the sort that you would like to follow, and then spend a few minutes each day finding people and talking to them (not selling to them).

 

Useful social media tips:

How To Create The Perfect Social Media Post – Peg Fitzpatrick

How To Use Instagram To Promote Your Business – Soulful PR

8 Easy Facebook Tips To Help Your Business – Yes And Yes

13 Actions To Get More And Better Twitter Followers – The Design Trust

 

Running a business is a steep learning curve, and for everything you get right, you will probably make at least one mistake. The unfortunate truth is that lots of businesses do fail, no matter how many sleepless nights, tears, and scrapings from your overdraft you put into them. If you’ve had a bad day or a bad year, try to think if there is anything you have learnt, and share it with other start ups and designers.

My last point would be to talk to people. Someone else will have gone through it before, and by opening up and talking to people, you will probably get some great advice and inspiration. And if not you can write an article like this and hopefully help someone else.

Download Your FREE Personalised Launch Plan

posted in: Start Up and Freelance Advice | 0

If you’re a small business or designer, getting everything ready to launch a new collection can seem like a daunting task. There’s so many things to consider, and one missed deadline can ruin all of your best laid plans.

Your Personalised Launch Plan will help you work backwards from your launch date, making sure your remember every step:

  • Enough time scheduled in to research, design, and develop your new collection
  • Never miss a deadline, with all your upcoming cut off dates clearly laid out
  • Easy to customise the timelines depending on your production leadtimes
  • Work on multiple projects at once (we know how much you have to juggle!)

 

We’ll also send you some useful tips and advice on a range of topics including making the most of your comp shop, what to cover in your brainstorming day, and how to use your suppliers to help you.

Click the link above to download your copy, and let us know how you get on with it on Facebook.

(If you can’t see a download form, click the text saying ‘Download Your FREE Personalised Launch Plan’ in the title above and it should appear)

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