fabric ups and downs
The fabric looked almost exactly like I expected -- slightly lighter, which is probably because I did it so quickly I didn't proof the files on another monitor; and the blacks are a little washed out. But the line weight was good, better than my proof on paper at home. And there is always, always color shifting when you print, especially in RGB. The fabric is a bit heavy -- good for a skirt or jumper, or crafts; definitely too stiff for anything like a blouse, it has very little drape. But all in all, I was very happy with the results:
Then, I went to prewash the monster fabric that I intended to make something for Emily out of. It came out of the wash (warm/cool) looking great, no fade or color loss. Came out of the dryer (low heat), again, looked great. I ironed it, and measured it for shrinkage (it didn't shrink at all along the length, and shrunk to about 96% of the original width) -- no effect was visible on the print at all. But suddenly I realized that the print was slanting quite a bit -- and I was certain it had looked perfectly straight before. I tried to square the fabric (in other words, get the grainlines squared to each other, read more about this here), and then realized I couldn't, because it was squared. Thinking I was crazy, I got out a clear ruler -- and sure enough, the print is way off the grainline of the fabric (ignore the apparent curve of the ruler, it's because I used the macro setting):
I checked the Milk & Cheese fabric, and sure enough, the fabric (this one is unwashed) is printed perfectly perpendicular to the edge of the fabric:
Unfortunately, the grainline is not perpendicular to the edge of the fabric. You can see how much it slants compared to the print here.
My guess is, the fabric as supplied to Spoonflower is already pulled way out of square -- they are printing on it perfectly straight, but once the fabric is washed and straightens itself up, the print is thrown way off. From the front, the grainline is not obvious and you can't really tell -- but if you wash it or attempt to square it up you can never go back. Essentially, this means the fabric is unwashable and not suitable for garments or anything that might need washing. Which was a major, major disappointment for me as the monster fabric was specifically meant for a dress for Emily. (I wouldn't have made it pink if I was going to try and sell things made of it!).
This would probably be fine for a very random print with no straight lines; and of course it is fine as long as you are making items that will never need to be washed. And the good news is, I didn't wash the Milk & Cheese print, so I can still use it (and look for a sneak preview in the next day or two of what I'm doing with that!). And I may be able to salvage the monster fabric -- I am going to try and steam some small blocks back into looking okay; and maybe I can figure out a way to use it as an accent (a ruffle or trim, maybe?) on an outfit when we get back. And fingers crossed this is a problem that can be worked out so I can make Emily her monster dress sometime in the future!!