About six months ago, Laelia asked me “what are you making” while I was working. I showed her how I was drawing via my pen tablet, and explained how the artwork is repeated and how it will be printed onto fabric and it will become a dress. I then showed her some of the dresses that have been made from prints I designed on ModCloth‘s website (there are videos, and they made it very exciting!). She seemed very interested. A few days later, she held up a drawing with a bunch of scribbles (usually Laelia draws scenes with people, so a plain scribble drawing was strange) on it and asked if we could make it into a dress. I thought “What a good idea! We can make one of your drawings into some fabric and I can use it to make a dress!”. Eventually, this idea became her first day of kindergarten outfit. See how we made it below!
First, I had Laelia make the drawing. You might be thinking, “How do you turn a child’s drawing into a seamless repeat?”. Well, there is a little trick to it!
You can see in our time-lapse how there was much cutting in half and taping. And a few snaps of my Nikon camera strap! I took some straight shots in between each step to make a little step by step by tutorial.
How to Make a Seamless Repeat
For this project we used Laelia’s favorite Sparkle Gel Crayons.
1) Start with a blank sheet of paper and number 1-4 on each corner of the paper.
2) Have your child (or yourself!) draw in the center of the paper. It is very important NOT to draw to the outside edges of the paper.
3) Once you have made good coverage, cut your paper in half horizontally.
4) Move the half of the paper that has 3 and 4 on it to the top, and the other half to the bottom. The 3 corner should be near the 1 corner, and the 4 corner should be near the 2 corner.
5) Tape in the center.
6) Repeat step 2.
7) Cut paper in half vertically. This will be your last cut.
8) Move the half of the paper with 3 and 1 on it to the right, and move the paper with 4 and 2 on it to the left.
10) Repeat step 2.
11) Separate the top two quadrants (4 and 3) from the bottom two quadrants (2 and 1). Place 4 and 3 on the bottom and 2 and 1 on the top.
12) Repeat step 2 until complete!
After Laelia finished her drawing, I scanned it and removed the seams in a photo editor. I’m pretty sure any photo editor with a blemish remover should be able to do this… you could even do it on your phone (although it could be very taxing on your patience)! I also made the paper color in the background a true white.
After I cleaned up the scan, I uploaded the finished image to Spoonflower. Really, I have to say that if Spoonflower did not exist, this project would have been significantly harder! I did some slight color adjustments, to create a purple color to match a pair of shoes that she has. I bought two yards of the cotton sateen. It took about a week to get the fabric in.
The pattern I used for the dress is called Blake, by Mingo & Grace. I made Laelia a dress earlier this year from a fabric that was in my stash. It was the first dress I’ve ever sewn. I kept oscillating between thoughts like “Oh man, it takes this long to sew a dress and I think $30 is expensive for a kid’s dress?!” and “Why would I ever buy clothes again, I can DESIGN ALL THE THINGS!“. This time the sewing went much more smoothly, (although it still took 2 days).
Laelia was very proud to wear the dress on her first day of Kindergarten! I was so happy to do this project with her. One ideal I hope to instill in her life is that if she can dream it up, she can make it happen. It might take a little hard work and patience, but if you don’t focus on all the reasons it won’t work and instead try to find the way to make your idea come to fruition, that will lead to success. So many people (quite understandably) don’t “see the point” in putting in the extra effort. When it came to this project, it felt wonderful to tell her a resounding “YES, Laelia, I CAN turn your drawing into a dress for you”. Because I have to say no too often enough, and because it is something I absolutely can do for her (and I’m not a graphic designer for nothing)! And now you can too! :)
You can even order this fabric for any project you’d like!