• my quilt did this too, where it's been quilted the dye is still there, but where it's open it's faded looking! - mrsmcporkchop
  • Yes - I was going to mention that! To me that says that it's the surface friction that's mostly pulling off the color. So even if you dry cleaned (eek) perhaps general use could rub off the ink over time as well.
  • even he looks skeptical. must not wanna lose his pants.

    thanks for doing all of these tests! - kmdegroot

test 5wash and new

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After only five washes the plum has continued to fade significantly. This is Spoonflower’s quilting weight cotton.

It has been hand washed in lukewarm water with a small amount of HE color protecting Tide. Then tumble dried on low and scanned in for the photo. The scan is quite accurate.

All the dark colors (pink, grey, black and plum) have faded and no longer look solid – with white specks showing from the base fabric. The light colors faded as well, but it really isn’t too obvious since the contrast isn’t high with the white. Interestingly, the yellows don’t seem to speckle on either the gnome shirts or the mushrooms. They are just a tad lighter.

You can see that the whole process didn’t change the Wildwood fabrics at all.
Certainly not a super scientific experiment. And I may repeat the whole thing with some of the pink gnomes and apple background wildflowers when I get them next week. But for now my conclusion is that you can expect all of the prints to fade, it will be more obvious the greater the contrast between base fabric and print, and the darker the color the more trouble it will give. I will use my plum print on non-washable items only.

sewbessy, bananaphone / Robin, and 20 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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  1. monaw2008 50 months ago | reply

    This is quite interesting - I have to keep in touch...I and my friend wanted to make some fabrics with spoonflower next week - so I think we´ll wait some time, till this problem is fixed! It´s just too expensive for being dissapointed (and if you sew things to sell it´s just not possible to use a fabric like this...) Thanks for the test and thanks to spoonflower for the answer!!

  2. .House. of A La Mode 50 months ago | reply

    I have been reading the posts and responses by spoonflower and designers alike, but I'm still nervous that this was not an isolated event. I do have fabric from other designers made by spoonflower and am thinking about doing a wash test now before I decide to use them in any projects that could be washed multiple times after completion... would anyone else like to test their fabrics with me...

    my hope is that between us all we can ( hopefully ) find the better fabrics to purchase ( ie: organic, knit, quilting weight, ect ) so, we can continue to support our esty designers and spoonflower as a concept and company... thoughts???

  3. paperdoll76 50 months ago | reply

    I don't have any other Spoonflower fabric, but I will test out my HR fabric when it arrives.

  4. .House. of A La Mode 50 months ago | reply

    thanks Sandi! I sure hope we find a fabric that doesn't fade as much!!! ;)

  5. sewdeerlyloved 50 months ago | reply

    i just started a test on two different ones from two different spoonflower designers that I have had for awhile, but never washed them. The first wash shows a fair amount of fading. We'll see how it goes from here.

  6. Mle BB 50 months ago | reply

    Wow i am so glad that i found this before i purchased any fabric! I was thinking about buying some yellow mushrooms if anyone does a test on some they have a lready recieved i would love to hear if they hold up! (I saved to buy and was so excited to get some HR fabric though it may be expensive)

  7. a quilt is nice 50 months ago | reply

    I wanted to see the fading for myself, so I made a dollquilt and have washed it once in the washing machine (I won't do hand washing normally, so i wanted to be true to what i'll do.)

    I included only spoonflower fabric, both heather ross and others that I have bought over the past year.

    I only see fading in the heather ross prints (plum and dark green gnomes especially, the pink mushrooms and pale wildflowers are less noticable).

    included in the test are prints from 3 other designers, and i don't see any problem with those. i will try to get pics up today.

  8. sewdeerlyloved 50 months ago | reply

    I've been testing a couple swatches from two different etsy shops (not the HR spoonflower ones). The first two swatches I've been doing the hand washing and have gone through the cycle 3 times. Then I wondered if it could be the hand washing that makes it so drastic since they are looking pretty bad after 3 washes, though originally I thought the hand washing would be easier on them. I'm now doing the same fabrics but different swatches through the washing machine to see if they come out better. I've only gone through one wash cycle and dry and it seemed better but we'll see after more cycles. But I'm hopeful! :)

  9. banquopack 50 months ago | reply

    I did notice that my front load washer faded the fabrics less quickly than the hand washing 'squish' I was doing. But after 4 cycles it was obvious they were going to be just as bad.

    I also found that the fabrics faded a bit less by themselves, compared to my completed project.

  10. oversewn 50 months ago | reply

    whew, almost blew a big chunk of money on A LOT of these prints.....Thanks for doing the testing. Much appreciated! I hope Spoonflower can fix this.... Unwashable Heather Ross just won't work!

  11. Inkie mama 50 months ago | reply

    so glad spoonflower will do a refund, I have a couple of yards of the purple and the green coming, plus others. I really want the gnomes so I hope they can sort it out.

  12. trueup 50 months ago | reply

    Hey guys. I did a quality and wash test last year of four digital printing services. www.trueup.net/?p=5364

    There were large solid areas of black in my design which faded significantly when they were printed with the pigment inks. I didn't have the problem with reactive dyes. In talking to digital printing experts since then I've heard a few times that solid areas of dark colors are to be avoided. It's just a limitation of DTP at this relatively early stage and the technology is improving all the time. I just say keep this in mind and don't give up on digital altogether. Its advantages far outweigh its limitations.

    Though I do see that even the small areas of color in the gnomes faded in this case. Bummer. It's a good thing Spoonflower is so responsive and cool about refunds.

  13. .House. of A La Mode 50 months ago | reply

    Thanks Kim!! I agree... the concept is amazing and supporting the designers is a must... I think we have all learned a lot about the spoonflower process from all the HR testing... ( us and them ) ;) and we will all be better consumers because of it. I know I'm not nearly as scared to purchase because of their terrific understanding about returns... ;)

  14. BCharmer 50 months ago | reply

    This has been such a good and informative thread. Thank-You to all who have done such good due diligence!

  15. | Cloud9 Fabrics 50 months ago | reply

    Typically darker shades will fade on nearly all cottons faster than paler colors, even if they are colorfast, which requires major chemical processing. Dioxins, toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde and some Azo dyes are used in fixing color in conventional fabrics (which is why so much of the quilting fabric is produced in countries with lax pollution standards). Digital printing is free from these toxins and therefore won't hold up to the same kind of washing. It's more delicate and should be treated with that level of care.

    While it's impractical for many to do gentler washing, this is really the only thing that can keep less harmful printing methods from fading rapidly.

  16. Spoonflower Fabrics 50 months ago | reply

    Thanks for the supportive comments! We haven't yet posted this on our site, but as of this past Friday we are printing on a new quilting weight cotton from a new supplier. It's similar in weight to the old quilting weight, but with a higher thread count (78x76 rather than 60x60) and seems to be an improvement. We have not yet gotten back lab results from any of the fabric testing, but this is one step we have been able to take quickly pending more detailed data that might pinpoint a particular problem. Pigment printing requires cotton with absolutely no residue or finish on it to be effective (yet another reason it is an eco-friendly process). We've discovered that there can be substances in the fabric from mills that can't be seen without testing, and some kind of residue (wax, resin, etc.) could be the origin of some of the recently reported issues. In her comment above CicadaStudio is right on the mark about one of the key reasons that most textile production has moved overseas. She's also right about handling of digitally printed fabrics and about the fact that darker colors fade more regardless of the process. Having said that, in our house -- with three rough and tumble little girls who often wear dresses made by Kim -- we beat up Spoonflower fabric pretty thoroughly. For what it's worth, their clothes are pleasantly faded but still perfectly lovely a year or more after being printed. -Stephen

  17. Lucy & Norman 50 months ago | reply

    Thanks for getting back to us Stephen! This new cotton sounds great.

  18. Providence Handmade 50 months ago | reply

    Thanks to everyone for your hard work and testing. I have several different fabrics (dark green gnomes - eek!) on the way and I can't wait to use them. Hopefully this new substrate will help with the fading. Stephen, you & your company are the model of a consumer-friendly business & it's a pleasure to buy from you!

  19. kosews 50 months ago | reply

    Does anyone have any tips to avoid the faded creases that occur in some spoonflower fabrics? See this photo. www.flickr.com/photos/78717059@N00/4425770273/

  20. retro mummy 49 months ago | reply

    oh I just got my fabric today...maybe the pink needs to go in wall hangings or things I won't wash!!!!!!!!!!!1

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