Monday, 29 May 2017

Totally Tropical, a collaboration with Spoonflower

A couple of weeks ago Spoonflower asked if I would like to join them on their British blog hop. I quickly wrote back explaining that I had purchased from them before and hadn't been happy with the quality but have heard their production has changed and would love an opportunity to try them again and provide a honest review.  When I ordered from them in 2014 they only offered one type of jersey and all orders shipped from the US.  With the opening of their Berlin office I was hoping that this meant the quality would be closer to the European knits I usually buy and love.  The jersey I previously purchased never got made up, it faded that badly after one wash that it just wasn't worth spending any time creating something.  I also only sewed up one of the four kona cotton prints I ordered, the pigmentation was uneven and just wearing the dress caused white dots to appear all over the print.  I didn't ever complain, not sure why as my order was nearly $250, I just decided that Spoonflower didn't work for me.

The thing I love about Spoonflower is the choice of prints from many amazing designers.  I had a look through some of my favourite designers (Andrea Lauren, Little Smilemakers, Elvelyckan in case you wondered) and my current favourite theme - tropical!  After much deliberation I settled on two prints, the flamingo print is by Andrea Lauren and the Bananas by Hug and Kiss.  I decided to have them both printed on the cotton spandex jersey - I prefer my jersey to be cotton with some kind of elastane as good recovery is needed on the dress bodice.  The whole order process went smoothly, you can track what stage your order is at and you also get notified once it ships.

The fabrics were washed together at 30 and then tumble dried. I took photos before and after the prewash and as you can see colour fade was minimal.  I checked for any fade marks or uneven fading but didn't find any on either fabric.  One thing to note is the fabric doesn't feel smooth to the touch like most jersey fabric I have sewn with, it's almost as if you can feel the dye on top of the fabric if that makes sense.



I also did a stretch test to see how much of the white background shows through when stretched out, this helps me decide if I am going to cut a larger size so the fabric stays opaque when stretched across the bust.  I was happy to see minimal white peeking through so cut out at my usual size.

I decided to make a sleeveless Lady Skater dress with the banana print and a just below the elbow sleeve version with the flamingos.  The fabric sewed up nicely and I had to unpick some coverstitch stitches after it skipped a few stitches and was pleased to see that the stitch holes disappeared with a light press. Spoonflower recommend that you iron the fabrics on the reverse and a couple of times I ironed directly on the print in autopilot.  This didn't do any damage to the print at all but some of the blue did transfer to my iron plate which I didn't notice until it had deposited itself on a seam of my pink cardigan...  ah well!

I also received a swatch pack which is really useful to see how prints look on each substrate and to get a good feel of each fabrics.  I asked for a larger sample of the sport lycra so I could get a good feel for the weight and stretch of the fabric - swimwear is something I want to have a go at making at some point and I have to say I am really impressed.  It has a really good weight to it and looked exactly the same after a pre-wash. I've had samples from other sites and the quality of the sports lycra from Spoonflower is far superior.

So would I order again and spend my own hard earned pennies?  For the jersey the answer is probably not.  The quality of the fabric is just not good enough for the price charged in my opinion, my order consisted of 4 yards of jersey and came to $136.80 inc VAT and delivery.  If I really wanted a specific custom design and the jersey was smooth to the touch after printing then this may change though it still feels a little expensive.  The banana print is something I have wanted for years after Topshop promoted but never actually made a banana print dress on a pink background, so if I was still in the market for banana print fabric I would consider ordering all things considered.  I will definitely order the sports lycra, I am yet to find any swimwear fabric in a print I like and am really impressed with the quality.  Just need to find the time to toile now.

I really like the resulting dresses and have even made Jenna cardigans to match.  I will update how they hold up to being worn and washed if you're interested.  Just need a bit of sunshine now...


*the fabric was gifted by Spoonflower, however all opinions are my own*

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