By Hand London: Printing Fabric On Demand

Have you ever looked at a fabric and wondered what on earth the print designer was thinking when they mooted such a monstrosity? A beautifully cut garment can be ruined by an imperfect print. One solution to this common conundrum is to buy your own fabric and to sew your own clothes (or find an expert to do it for you). But what if you can’t find a fabric you adore, or you have a print in mind but no idea how to bring it to life?

By Hand London launched at the end of 2012 to offer dress patterns inspired by classic silhouettes, each with a fresh, fashion-forward twist. Over the last year they have become somewhat of a fashion force to be reckoned with. Their gorgeous patterns, dressmaking kits and clean, stylish branding have secured them reams of stockists and loyal followers the world over.

Flora dress in Eloise print by Eloise Jephson from By Hand London, an independent sewing pattern label

Not content with their already flourishing venture, co-founders Elisalex de Castro Peake, Charlotte Hintzen and Victoria Elliot have just launched a game-changing crowdfunding campaign that will allow home sewing enthusiasts to design and upload their own prints. Funding permitting, your custom fabric can be printed on By Hand London’s shiny new fabric printer and promptly posted to your door. And if you doubt your design skills then you can choose from one a carefully curated selection of original designs on their sparkly new website or app. Co-founder and Head of Design Elisalex told us how the project is developing:

“We are currently working with a handful of artists and illustrators to build up our curated gallery of designs so that when we (fingers crossed!) make our target and launch the print-on-demand facility, we will have a great selection of designs for our customers to choose from, as well as being able to upload and print their own designs.”

Kickstarter campaign for custom fabric printing from By Hand London, an independent dressmaking and sewing pattern label

Keen to delve a little deeper into what we’ll be able to create, we asked Elisalex what we can expect from the fabrics on offer:

“To begin with, we will be printing on cotton poplin, which is incredibly versatile and applicable to a number of projects such as dressmaking, homewares and quilting. We will then start adding to our range of fabrics as per our customer demands, concentrating on wovens and knits in predominantly natural fibres.”

Elisalex, Victoria and Charlotte are well aware of how important it is engage with their community and customers, but also to ask for their input: “We plan on launching an open-to-all competition before the end of the Kickstarter campaign, with the winning fabric design being voted on by the public”, explains Elisalex. The very fact that their first design, 'Eloise' by Eloise Jephson (as seen below) sold out in a mere three days, is proof perhaps that their customers are already voting with their wallets.

Eloise print by Eloise Jephson from By Hand London, an independent sewing pattern label

In order to raise the funds needed to buy their first digital textile printer and develop a new website and app, By Hand London are hoping their community will support them once more, this time in their crowdfunding campaign. It’s looking very positive indeed - just nine days in and they have already received 230 pledges. You can back the project from as little as £1, but offer a little more, and receive one of their pretty special rewards which include:

A pledge of £10 or more will secure a By Hand London tote bag featuring some of the fashion illustrations from their packaging, a handwritten thank you note and an acknowledgement on the ‘couldn’t have done it without you’ page on their website.

A Pledge of £50 or more will bag you a limited ‘early bird special!’ reward. You will be the first to play around with their new website and print two metres of your own fabric. Includes everything from the £10+ rewards as well as a By Hand London mug and matchbox of their dress-makers pins.
[Please note: at the time of publication, 81 out of 100 of these had already been snapped up!]

A pledge of £500 will book you onto a two day sewing course for beginners, teaching you how to make one of their patterns. Includes all tools and fabric. (UK only)

And if you are feeling super flush, £5000 or more will give you lifetime membership to By Hand London, a copy of every sewing pattern they release, plus two metres of every fabric that makes it into their curated gallery.

The crowdfund opened on 13th March and runs until 12th April 2014. Find out more by watching By Hand London’s video below, or by visiting their page on Kickstarter.


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