How to Design Custom Fabric and Get it Printed

Fabric stores don’t always have what you are looking for in terms of patterns and colors on fabric, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a fabric design that isn’t quite right for your project. You can design your own fabric and have it printed and shipped to your house. It’s surprisingly easy and relatively affordable. Plus, this is a great way to order fabric for a sewing business.

The Designing Process

When you’re designing your own fabric, pattern ideas can come from photographs, hand sketches, computer generated images, paintings, or anything else. The important thing is that your fabric design needs to be submitted to a custom fabric printing company (Spoonflower, Karma Kraft, etc.) in a digital format. This means you have to scan or upload your design to a computer and put it in the proper file format. Most companies accept submissions in the typical image formats, like JPEG and GIF, but if you want to submit it in a different format, check with your fabric printing company to make sure it is OK — some file formats create image distortion, which can ruin your fabric design.

Things to Keep in Mind When Designing Fabric

Designing your own fabric is a little tricky if you haven’t done it before. If you’re a beginner, keep the following things in mind:

  • Repeatable tile patterns work the best because it allows for any length of fabric to be ordered.
  • Pattern distortion may occur when printing on fabrics that do not have a smooth or flat surface, such as fleece.
  • Dye bleeding may occur when you wash the fabric for the first couple of times, so high contrast color patterns might not be the best choice.
  • Ordering a test fabric sample is the best way to make sure you get what you want before ordering large amounts of fabric.

Where to Get Your Custom Fabric Designs Printed

Several companies offer fabric printing services, but Spoonflower and Karma Kraft are two of the most popular choices. You should research each company’s requirements and prices before making a decision, though. For a comparison chart and help in your research, read: What is the Best Company for Designing Custom Fabric?

Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting a Fabric Printing Company:

  • Check with your printer before placing an order if you want more than ten continuous yards of fabric because some companies won’t do that.
  • Some fabric printers have a minimum yardage amount when you place an order.
  • If you want to print on a fabric other than cotton, make sure your fabric printer has this ability.
  • Shipping charges vary widely, so just because the per-yard price seems competitive, the shipping fees could make the overall order more expensive.
  • Every fabric printer has its own turnaround time, so this can affect your choice if you need your fabric in a hurry.
  • Some companies have software to make the fabric designing process easier, which is good for people that aren’t good with photo and image editing on a computer.
If you have any other tips for someone that wants to design and print their own custom fabric, leave a comment below.


  • Very informative.

  • JJ


    are there any companies that will pay for the printing and market your designs, or buy the designs outright?

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