By Anya Ferring
So you want to know about designing your own fabric?
If you are curious about the process, make sure to plan on buckling in for a long ride! Below is a general outline of the process involved from start to finish:
- Initial artwork: Everyone works differently at this stage, but this time (generally 2-3 months) is all about creating your print. How do you gather inspiration, color ideas, line direction, or other thoughts for the collection? How long does it take to go from rough sketch to final draft?
- Final artwork is sent to the mill. Take a breather, there is about a 6-8 week break.
- Your first initial test strips come back for approval from the mill, which are called strike-offs. This is exciting, as it is the first time to actually see the artwork on fabric. Make sure to check the engraving of the design, the colors, and the print registration. If it isn’t up to snuff then corrections have to be made. Send them back to the mill, with comments and notes. Another 4-6 weeks goes by before you get the 2nd strike-off, and the process continues until approal…
- Re-strikes come back. If everything is good, hooray! If not..more corrections.
- Approve final prints and go into sample yardage, 4-6 weeks.
- 1-3 months later you will receive your final order of bulk fabric. The variance in time is due to several factors: where you are shipping from, if the yardage you are printing on is in stock or not and has to be woven/knit first, time of year you are ordering the fabric, or other considerations that vary individually by mill. We recommend checking with your mill directly to see what their bulk leadtimes are, and then ALWAYS planning on your bulk yardage arriving at least 3 weeks later than expected. This will save you a lot of hassle and domino chain production delays down the line, helping to start your production off on the right foot!