Designing a perfect fabric print with Contrado

Hello my lovely readers!

Have you ever had a project in mind, but could not find the perfect fabric to match your vision? Maybe the color of the fabric was not right, you needed a specific print or a different fabric type so you put the project aside for a later time or forgot about it all-together. Fear not, there is a simple solution to this problem!!! Just design your dream pattern/color and get it printed on a fabric of your choice! It is pretty simple with Contrado!

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For some time now I had planned to make a backpack for my partner who is a big fun of anime ‘One Piece’, but could not find any suitable fabric print to complete the project. Then one day I browsed the internet in a search for a fabric printing service in the UK and came across Contrado. I did not know what to expect and was not sure if it would even work but I thought I have nothing to loose and begun designing the pattern. I created somehow repetitive pattern using Inkscape that I wanted to use throughout my project and uploaded it onto a Contrado website.

When you click ‘upload your design’ button it takes you to the next page when you can simply add an image of your design or create a design out of multiply images.

Once all your images are uploaded you can choose what fabric you want your design to be printed on, print size, color of the background and edge finish by clicking on ‘product options’ tab. After completing this section you can start working on your design by clicking on ‘images and text tools’.

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The page shows a live preview of your design while you work on it, and you can change, add, remove any images, change its size or placement to suit your needs.

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There are few useful tools to help you out with a layout of your images, rotation, size and color. It is a quick way of changing your pattern design to see different styles. To complete the order simply click on ‘preview and buy’ button, fill in your personal details and pay for the product.

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The design was printed and delivered to me 3 days later and the quality exceeded my expectation. The fabric was of high quality and the print had sharp and intense color. I couldn’t be more happier with it. The price starts at £14.50 for a 30 cm long, however it is absolutely worth it. I had ordered 60cm by 159cm, and used every little scrap of it .

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My first hand stitched leather bag – Leather Craft Workshop Days – review

Hello my crafty friends!

I am so excited today to introduce you to my first ever hand stitched leather bag!!! I think this is my most proudest make to date, but let me start from the beginning.

I’ve spent most of last year obsessing about learning a leather craft. I’ve watched a countless number of videos, read blogs and signed up for Skillshare to get the knowledge and understanding as much about the process as I could. After awhile I’ve hit a brick wall….I won’t be able to make a simplest bag at home without a specialist tools. Tools that I clearly do not have! Errrrr tools that are not the cheapest either! But I really wanted to touch and do something with leather, so at that point I’ve decided to look for some kind of workshop or a class.

In my mind not only this was the most practical way of learning the skills but also the easiest way of finding out if it is something that I will continue to be engaged with in a long run. I started browsing the internet with an idea that I want to make a bag and be able to take it home. There were few classes that I was considering taking, but either the price was to high, it was too far to travel or you had to bring your own materials that in the end I did not sign up for.

After a while I came across Leather craft workshop days website and found a class that I really wanted to take called ‘Make your own crossbody bag’. Sadly there were no available dates, so I emailed Richard, who is running the workshops and asked if there will be any dates added in November. He promptly replied saying that he is free to do a workshop in mid November and added a date to the calendar just for me. He also confirmed that there are no hidden cost and what I make during the class I can take it home. I was sold at this stage! The price of a full day workshop is £210, which in my opinion is quite reasonable if you take into account what you get by attending, not only a beautiful product, but also a newly learned skill.

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On my arrival to the class Richard offered me a hot tea and we sat in his workshop to start the lesson. Richard began the class by showing me and talking about different types of leather, their origin, weight, usage etc. I’ve listened to every word he said and took some notes for the future reference.

The rest of the workshop consisted of me doing a various tasks to complete my crossbody bag. I had chosen to make my bag out of this loud blue/purple color veg tanned leather with brown straps.

Richard prepared the pattern for me and gave me a scraps of leather to practice cutting. Once I was confident enough I cut out the bag ( with his help) and followed the instruction on what to do next.

Throughout the day I was introduced to a various tools that are essential to produce a high quality leather product like stitch line groover, scratch awl, chisel punch, burnisher and others. I’ve learned how to clean and prep the leather, burnish the edges, punched holes and attach various rivets and closures.

The most nerve wracking part for me was when I had to use a stitch line groover ( which I called shaver hihihi), because it shaves of a thin line close to the leather egde. This has to be done very precisely otherwise the stitching line would look wonky and of a poor quality. I practiced a lot on a scraps before I was brave to do it on my bag….sweating from nerves at this point!

The most fun part for me was punching stitching holes with a chisel punch, which in turn reminded me of a fork. It took awhile to make all those tiny holes, but practice makes perfect as they say and near to the end my speed improved. You need some muscles to do this craft 🙂

What took me by surprise was when Richard told me to count the number of holes on either sides of the bag…as a sewist I never do that. But it made sense at the end to ensure the stitching is even on both sides.

Next, I picked the color of the thread, run it through the bees wax and was shown how to do a saddle stitch using two needles. I thought it would take me forever, but I was wrong. It was quicker than punching all those stitching holes.

Lastly I’ve attached the strap and my bag was finished!

Final thoughts

It probably won’t surprise you when I say that I highly recommend this workshop! If like me you are a complete beginner this is the best class out there that will get you started!

Richard is such a passionate and knowledgeable teacher and I took away a lot of that knowledge with me. Throughout the day he made me feel comfortable and was very patient when I was asking many questions …some of which not even related to the leather craft at all. His class gave me confidence and boosted my love of leather craft even more, so don’t be surprise if you see me doing more bags in the future!!!

Hope you enjoyed this little review. See you next time!!!

Monika xxx