Custom fabric designed and printed for Craft Napa.
Are you hosting a special quilting event?
Are you a regional shop that’s a destination for travelers?
How neat would it be to design and print custom fabric to mark a special occasion or place. Of course, Spoonflower has made this possible by offering on-demand digitally printed fabric to everyone, but what if you want to order larger quantities at a discounted price? The good news is you can with custom heat press transfers! (Note that for this post I’m focusing on a few options for printing on premium quilting cottons, the type of fabrics that quilters use.) Here are some choices.
Timeless Treasures is one of the major manufacturers of premium quilting cottons. Headquartered in New York City, at 483 Broadway, they are a family-owned business founded in the 1990s and best known for producing novelty prints. What many people may not know is that you can work with Timeless Treasures to have your own fabric screen printed in their overseas mills.
Hayden Lees, the marketing director at Timeless Treasures, explains that the minimum order for custom printing is typically 1,000-2,000 yards for screen printed fabric. All the buyer needs in order to open a new account is a business license or a tax ID number. “Sometimes a group of shop owners will get together and split the printing for a regional-specific fabric that is in high demand in that area, or for a shop hop event,” Lees says. (Contact customer service at 800-466-0666).
That’s what Karen Montgomery of The Quilt Company, a quilt shop in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, did with lots of success. “The cost was a bit more than dealing direct, but they have the relationship with the mill,” she explains. “It shipped to their New Jersey warehouse and they kept it there allowing me to order it as needed.” She points out that working through a major manufacturer allowed her to avoid the hassle of dealing with customs, doubling and bolting the fabric, and storing 3,000 yards. “We sold the first 3,000 yards of our Pittsburgh print in 45 days,” she says, with the first 1,500 yards selling out in the first three days it went on sale.
Timeless Treasures will also do digital printing for small runs of custom fabric. Another major fabric manufacturer, Robert Kaufman, offers custom digital printing services and custom screen printing as well. Based in Los Angeles, Robert Kaufman is a third generation family-owned business that manufactures and distributes premium quilting cottons, too. If you’re ordering 26-99 yards of fabric the price for digitally printed fabric is $10/yard, significant savings over ordering from Spoonflower at $19/yard for Kona cotton or $17.50/yard for Basic Cotton Ultra. If you need help preparing your artwork, you can work with the in-house designers at Robert Kaufman for a fee of $55/hour.
Working with one of the established companies allows an individual shop owner or event organizer to create, print, and sell a unique fabric without needing to source greige goods, vet a mill in Asia, pay import duties, and warehouse the finished goods. It’s a great resource to know about!