Mastering the Art of Fabric Printing & Design – Review

March 15, 2012

I’ve told you before that I hoard paint swatches, but did you also know I hoard fabric remnants as well?  Yes it’s true, I have baskets and bins filled with scraps and yardage of fabric I want to use somewhere, someday, whenever I get around to it. My idea of a perfect afternoon involves a good mocha and a warehouse full of fabulous fabric to admire and caress, and to add to my growing collection – I’m sure there are many of you that feel the same.

I don’t do many book reviews, but I was invited to be part of a blog tour for a book all about the process, or the art I should say, of designing and printing fabric.  Hello, sign me up – that’s one topic I find completely fascinating!  I was sent this lovely text Mastering the Art of Fabric Printing and Design by textile designer Laurie Wisbrun, published by Chronicle Books.

mastering the art of fabric printing book review


The 200+ illustrative text begins with a primer on understanding patterns from floral to geometric to ethnic motifs.  Various textures are discussed and then we’re introduced to the concept of repeat patterns.  You’ll learn all about mirroring, composition, scale, and layout, etc.

understanding patterns


Next up is a chapter on designing your own patterns, which includes all sorts of tips to consider before you begin, like what will the fabric be used for (apparel, upholstery, quilting?) and the different concerns for each.

general pattern design


My favorite part of this illustrative book (being the DIYer that I am) is the chapter on different hands-on ways to create your own fabric, from using a scanner to block printing and dyeing.

hand printing


If your more knowledgeable on the digital end, Laurie also provides numerous tutorials for designing your fabrics in professional software programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator, which definitely had me thinking I need to learn more about these programs to play with designs on the computer. Send your designs off to a printer like Spoonflower and you’ve got yourself your own custom fabric designed by YOU.

mastering the art in photoshop and illustrator


Peppered throughout the book are interviews with and profiles on some very successful fabric designers behind such brands as Marimekko, Mod Green Pod, and Ink & Spindle.  The last chapter is also about taking your ideas to the next level and going professional with your fabric designs, should you be so entrepreneurial.

going professional


It’s published by Chronicle, and as you can see, they always deliver both an informative and beautiful text and bonus, the cover is actually made of digitally printed fabric, now that’s cool. If you love fabric like I do, then you’ll want to add this book to your wish list – it’s a fantastic addition to any designer’s library. If you’d like to purchase the book for $20 to add to your collection, you can do so right here.

And guess what?  There is an extra copy of this lovely text up for grabs today!  Yep, it’s a surprise giveaway today and tomorrow only and one of you will win a copy of the book.

Eligibility to win the free copy of Mastering the Art of Fabric Printing & Design:

1) Answer this question, what’s your favorite fabric pattern in your home right now?  Is it a funky stripe, a fun floral, or a cool Ikat?  Do share for a chance to win.

One winner only, chosen at random. Giveaway ends Friday March 16, 2012 at 8 p.m. PST.  By entering this giveaway you agree to this blog’s giveaway policy and Official Rules of Entry.


*I have not been paid for this review, however I was provided with a complimentary copy of the text.  All opinions are my own. 



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291 Responses to “Mastering the Art of Fabric Printing & Design – Review”

  1. Colleen Irby says:

    I love the octopus pattern that I chose to put on my french settee!

  2. Kathryn says:

    I love stripes, they are timeless and go with anything. We are in a rental without our own furniture and striped cushions are saving me from drab. Thanks for the chance to win.

  3. teresa says:

    That’s a tough one. I’ve collected fabrics and other textiles my whole life and am finally getting aroung to using some I’ve had 20+ years! My favorite probably is a Japanese print in a sort of tribal ethnic look blocked in my favorite colors of orange, rust and blue turpoise. I also love my Japanes Indigo prints and a beautiful emboidered hanging from Vietnam. My alltime best is probaly the Japanese indgo. I never tire of them and the variety is endless.

  4. Kim Porter says:

    I am currently loving (and desperately trying to find coordinating fabrics for) a pretty yellow & gray damask fabric.

    Kim @

  5. Lesley says:

    This is so sad but right now I don’t have any patterns in my home that I like. I have started a fabrc board on pinterest and am slowly gathering ideas. I also just recently got a sewing machine with the goal of making curtains and pillows to bring some pattern into my very boring house. To our defense we still consider our house new but now it has been 3 years so time to get on all those projects to mke it our home!

  6. Frani says:

    My favorite fabric pattern is an Ikat Stripe in Spice.

  7. sheila says:

    my favorite fabrics are the newer graphic fabrics.

  8. Aimee says:

    I can never get enough polka dots! I have a robin’s egg blue with white polka dot fabric for my guest room curtains that’s just my absolute favorite!

  9. Sara R says:

    I don’t have much for pattern in my house right now. Hoping that will change soon. But I’m making a qut for my sister and it was fun to pick out the design for that. It will be made up of lots of rectangles and stripes.

  10. Shira says:

    Most of the fabrics in my tiny apartment are neutral, but lately I’ve been all about spicing things up and bought some bold mid-century-modern inspired fabrics. They’ll be up as large curtains once I’m done sewing!

    Love your blog! :) Thanks for the chance to win such an awesome giveaway

  11. Nicole G. says:

    I just found a greyish/brownish linen type fabric with a pattern of tiny raised squares that is really neat. I plan to reupholster dinette cushions for a newly purchased RV. So it’s currently in my house so that counts…but not for long.

  12. I bought this amazing coral, navy, teal, & white chevron fabric @ JoAnn not too long ago. It’s just sitting in my bin, BEGGING me to do something with it. If only I could figure out what!! Everything in my condo is CAMEL color. The couch, the walls, the vertical blinds… I hate it. I need to bring some life to that place!

  13. Melodie G says:

    The draperies in my home office are made of hot pink silk with lime green paisley embroidered in an all over pattern. I fell in love with this fabric the moment I saw it 7 years ago and I still love it today. This was the room to take some creative risks and they paid off. I took some of the extra fabric to upholster the back of my desk chair. I may not always be very productive in my office but it does look great!

  14. Christine says:

    My favorite fabric right night is a floral fabric that I made into a headboard but I’m eyeing a new ikat for my office. Would love a copy of the book. Thanks for the giveaway! Love your blog!

  15. Melissa says:

    I just DIYed an ottoman with a subtle herringbone pattern on gray velvet! It’s my favorite fabric in the whole house!

  16. Allison says:

    I have a recent obsession with all things herringbone!

  17. PG says:

    Yikes…I don’t have a favourite fabric in my house. They’re all very neutral because I’m too nervous to commit to anything that is more dynamic. I spent 2 hours at Fabricland on the weekend trying to pick fabrics for curtains. I walked out with 6 buttons and completely overwhelmed by fabric choices.

  18. kari says:

    I have a beautiful French cotton tablecloth that I love. Bought it in the Dordogne and it is a cheap, basic cotton with the best French pattern. Searched high and low for something similar when we went to provence but it was all high end fabrics.

  19. andrea p says:

    I love love love a wide stripe or tiny polka dot print!

  20. Debbie says:

    My favorite fabric in my home is an Ikat pattern of yellow, gray and white; so far it is on the roll but it is for drapery panels in my newly painted yellow with white trim guest room. I picked the fabric especially to match some vintage chenille gray, white and yellow bedspreads I got from my in-laws’ house.

  21. Christine N. says:

    My favorite pattern is an ivory damask on my grandma’s slipper chair I inherited.

  22. MelodyJ says:

    It’s the yellow floral print on the quilt my grandmother gave me years ago.


  23. Emily says:

    Tiger patterned pillows from z gallerie (on sale)!

  24. Andrea says:

    A steel blue backdrop with flowers in orange, red, purple, and green.

  25. Bj says:

    Right now I am really into stripes but not chevron like everyone else … I would love this book to add new ideas to my home!

  26. Tori says:

    I just bought a yellow chevron print fabric which I am very excited about. Also I agree with you. I am a fabricoholic as well!

  27. Annie Pazoo says:

    Just last week I pinned a bunch of ikat patterns on Pinterest; having a hard time deciding which one to pick for my family room drapes. I am obsessed with ikat (and suzani, and batik, and florals, and pretty much everything :-)

  28. Les Johnson says:

    I have a really cute polka dot pattern in my daughter’s room.

    sweeper_bear at yahoo dot com

  29. Gretchen B. says:

    I love the pattern of the Henny Rand Ikea curtains I recently hung in my kids playroom. The geometric figure 8 or infinity symbol, appeals to my logical brain.

  30. Kim says:

    I have a beautiful trellis pattern fabric in creamy neutral colors that I can’t wait to use somewhere in my house.

  31. Haley says:

    My favorite fabric pattern is on my curtains, The pattern is a whimsical almost Ikat? I know there is another, better fitting term for the pattern but I cannot think of what it is now.

  32. Sara says:

    I’m looking for the perfect modern geometric print for new drapes…

  33. robin mohlenkamp says:

    I have fabulous art deco gold chain fabric that I used to recover my dining room chairs. They were originally a garish green leopard print in velvet-gross. Now they are timeless.

  34. Annie says:

    I recently made a couple of pillow covers out of what was originally a silk brocade skirt from
    Barney’s…that skirt was my gift to myself for finally grad school graduation. I haven’t fit into it in years, but the deep blues and gold geometric design looks beautiful in my bedroom!

  35. Alvina L. says:

    I love the tapa design that will SOON be up in our apartment!

  36. Liz H says:

    My favorite is the pink and orange owl fabric in the quilt I made for my daughter’s room.

  37. What a fun book. I’ve been thinking that it would be fun to create your own fabric design. The fabric that I like the best in my home right is one that I used to make a pouf. It has green medallions on a yellow green background. I love looking at it.

  38. Karen CHaudoin says:

    I woul love to know more about this process. I enter!

  39. Kelli says:

    About 5 years ago I ordered a loveseat and chair from La-Z-Boy. I went with black leather on the couch and it has worn wonderfully. The chair I chose to have upholstered in a wild, modern print of circles in various sizes and outlines overlapping and making a very bold statement. The colors include black to work with the couch, but also reds, golds, and burnt orange shades as well. It was unlike me to go so bold, but I have no regrets.

  40. melissa ph says:

    The mix of floral with stripes in my girls’ room…can’t pick one they work great together!

  41. Cami says:

    sadly I don’t have any fabrics in my home that i Like. i have no curtains or pillows because i’m trying to find the perfect fabric. It’s in my head but no one has pulled it out and made it for me! Ha, maybe with this book I could make my own. That would be awesome.

  42. Chaney says:

    My current favorite is a yellow and gray ikat that I plan to make into pillows (some day!) for our couch. Now if I could just find time to do that… :)

  43. Sarah Lowry says:

    My absolute favorite fabric that I have right now is a teal and navy blue leaf and paisley pattern. Sounds weird, right? I found it at a fabric market in China and fell in love with the warm colors and unique design!

  44. jen says:

    I lke the batiks the most

  45. lynn says:

    I’m obsessed with my chevron pillows and ikat curtains!

  46. KC says:

    To be honest, I am liking some ikats right now. Or chenille polka dots. I don’t know; anything fun!

  47. Kirsten says:

    I have a yard of Children at Play by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller Fabrics that is figuratively burning a hole in my sewing basket. It’s just the sweetest print. I’ve been searching for a cute pattern for a little girl’s dress or smock to make my 4 year old.

  48. Kim G. says:

    I’ve just found a batik at Calico Corners, Deauville Dance in Gem (Ikat background with olive green, teal and rust flourishes) that I would love to use for some throw pillows.

  49. Doris Johnson says:

    My favorite fabric pattern is the light yellow embroidered floral pattern on my duvet cover. It’s this set right here ( — I love my bed! :)

  50. My favourite prints are circles and dots! My curtain material is in dots and dashes, very painterly and mostly imperfect in randomness.

  51. Emily says:

    All my fabrics are boring! I need to work on that!

  52. Kristen says:

    All of my curtains right now are stripes, but I have fallen in love with Chevron patterns. I especially love blue and white colors. They are so calm and remind me of the beach and blue skys, both things that are so relaxing yet beautiful at the same time.

    I love the idea of this book! I never knew there was a way to make your own fabric. Thanks for writing this review!

  53. Colleen E says:

    My favorite pattern in my home right now is a floral/branch pattern on my new duvet cover. I’m so ready for spring!

  54. Laurie Peck says:

    This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time! I have been searching locally for a class that can teach me the very topic that is in this book! Oh how this book would help me. I would love to somehow make a career in this field. I am also a “hoarder” of scrap materials, pretty towels, or pretty textiles of all kinds. Just fell in love with a sunflower felt pillow from Target. Love it. Anything yellow and grey right now.

  55. HannahJ says:

    Love this post- being an artist and a fabric addict (like yourself) Ive always been curious of the process of designing fabric- I would love to get my hands on this book!!

    My favorite pattern (at the moment;) in my house is this lovely vintage yellow, turquoise, cream floral print that I have on custom pillows for our bed- I bought them form ETSY seller Planka Home- LOVE!

  56. Naomi says:

    Our home style is rustic with pretty neutral furnishing. Recently we re-did an old drab ottoman in an Ikat print of a combination of teal blue, tan and off-white. It really pops against our lighter colored, neutral decor and exposed wood in the home. Every time I look at it I can’t believe we covered the ottoman because it looks so professional and the print just makes me happy.

    By the way I really enjoy reading your posts, they are very inspiring! I have not yet met a home design blog that I make a point to read each day other than yours. Cheers!

  57. humaira says:

    i like my paisely cushion on my bed, but i realy want something with an ikat print

  58. Lorna says:

    My current favorite fabric is a blue floral damask I got to make curtains.

  59. Julia says:

    I love geometric prints mixed in with softer florals or ikats. My favorite fabric right now is Braemore Fioretto hands down.

  60. Valerie says:

    I too love fabrics and my favorite right now is a geometric from Annie Selke. I recovered an old dated wing back chair with this fresh, fun, and funky citrus and blue fabric for my daughter’s room. It’s amazing what fabric can do to liven up a room. :-)

  61. Rebecca says:

    My current fovorite print in my house is the curtains I just made from a fabric with a white Moroccan inspired pattern with turquoise background.

  62. Lauren says:

    My most favorite pattern right now is my turquoise/white chevron printed table runner. It makes me smile :)

  63. Mary says:

    My current favorite is on a pillow in my entry way. The fabric is by Anna Maria Horner from her Drawing Room collection. It is multi-color with loose florals and a sketch of a bird.

  64. Ann says:

    I guess I would have to say my favorite currently is a striped pattern in my kitchen. I love fabric and am so glad to see the explosion of creative and beautiful fabrics available now online.

  65. Stephanie K says:

    My favorite is a classic marimekko red poppy flower fabric. I love color and it makes me smile every time I see. Its modern and classic and enduring.

  66. Linda says:

    I’m obsessed right now with modern geometrics… chevron and moroccan tile designs especially. But my absolute favorite fabric in my house is on a pillow in my bedroom that I got on sale from Designer’s Guild… it’s a gorgeous magenta floral cut velvet and it’s worth every penny of the $65 (which was 50% off!) it cost me since it makes me feel GLAM every morning when I make my bed!

  67. My favorite print is a vintage bird scene.

  68. Joan says:

    My favorite print is still the floral in the quilt my mom made out of my grandmothers’ and great aunt’s handkerchiefs. Love this book. I have make myself stay out of the fabric store. :-)

  69. Leigh says:

    My favorite right now is an blue Ikat. I also love my striped drapes!

  70. erin says:

    I juse made my own curtains from a Premier Prints Suzani slub charcoal; I love them! Whimsical but modern, not too fancy, neutral colors and they will go with anything. I do need to branch out into more colored fabrics- I tend to gravitate toward bolder designs that are more neutral.

  71. Beth says:

    Right now, my favorite fabric pattern is a turquoise blue floral.

  72. Rin says:

    My favorite fabric print in our home right now is the navy toile bedskirt I recently made for our guestroom. But, once I learn how to make my own prints on fabric, I’d like to make dala (the Swedish horse) printed pajama pants and aprons as Christmas gifts!

  73. Elisha says:

    My favorite pattern right now is writing on curtains and pillows. So far I have been very boring with patterns as I am not sure what to do with what I already have in my home. Lately I have checked out many design books from the library and trying to get a feel for what is balanced with particular colors etc. It is a work in progress.

  74. Carrie says:

    Ikats all the way!!! I am venturing into them!

  75. Janny A. says:

    I love all kinds of fabric but anything toile or damask always captures my eye!

  76. Michelle says:

    I do love florals. I would love a copy of this book. I’ve always wanted to learn about textile design.

  77. Erin O. says:

    If I had to chose one I would probably pick the cream and brown vine pattern on my two armless chairs in front of my fireplace.

  78. Brienne says:

    I have a beautiful red and coral floral linen fabric that I will be making into a duvet cover soon. It’s intended for my guest room but I think it might end up in my room.

  79. Barbara Ann says:

    My favorite print is covering a host and hostess chair for my dining room. It has my favorite colors shown in flowers, shells and corals. From this one design, I have used the colors to decorate my whole condo.

  80. Kathy says:

    Oooh… I would love to learn how to print my very own custom fabric. My favorite is chevron and ikat designs.

  81. Johanna says:

    I recently made a new ironing board cover from some Ikea fabric I had laying around. It’s a cool black and white design with bubbles and swirls — seeing that print almost makes ironing enjoyable, almost.

  82. Joyce says:

    One of my favorite fabrics we use in our Master Bedroom PORCELAIN ROSETTE BLUE BY RALPH LAUREN- bought my first comforter set at Macy’s and loved the fabric so much that I bought the
    same comforter to replace our worn out first one. I never tire of the design….luvt it!!

  83. Joyce says:

    One of my favorite fabrics we use in our Master Bedroom PORCELAIN ROSETTE BLUE BY RALPH LAUREN- bought my first comforter set at Macy’s and loved the fabric so much that I bought the
    same comforter at Marshalls to replace our worn out first one. I never tire of the design….luv it!!

  84. Leilani says:

    My favorite pattern has always been damask…or is it toile? Can’t go wrong with a classic!

  85. Anne says:

    I’m obsessed with ikat anything!

  86. Nora says:

    I love paisley! I just was gifted an old paisley comforter and I love the 70s colors!

  87. Chelsea says:

    My favorite pattern doesn’t live in my home yet, but its an amazing southwestern black and white patterned wool blanket from Alice’s Vintage in Napa. I saw it yesterday, and dreamed about what my home would like centered around it last night. I’d love to win the book!

  88. Marina says:

    I just bought an ikat pattern duvet set, and I love it! The colors are really bright – red, pink, purple and turquoise, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

  89. Jess says:

    Wow! I have been swept up in the ikat design fad and need a touch of it in my bedroom.

  90. Kelsey says:

    Definitely in need of some more patterns in my house, but really like my bedding….it’s a white and gray vintage inspired floral from Ikea of all places and is very clean and calming which is just perfect for my bedroom!

  91. Amber says:

    Hi Kate! I just found your site via the Lettered Cottage and I LOVE everything! I am an instant fan!
    I was actually thinking the other day how much I would LOVE to design my own fabric and I was wondering how to go about it…{I love designing from the ground up and my whole house needs a face-lift}…this book sounds wonderful! Thank you for your review. I know I missed the contest. I am not writing for that, I just wanted to say thank you.
    You have a beautiful website, a great personality, and I plan to be back again and again.
    I will be purchasing the book.
    Have a Wonderful Day!

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