Spoonflower's Fill-a-Yard Tool

comments (0) August 2nd, 2017     

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MeganCooney Megan Cooney, Editorial Intern
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Northern Lights Collection by Jessica Prout at Little Arrow Design Company
Rainbow watercolor moroccan by Micklyn Le Feuvre and Lucette ikat in pool by Amelia Steele at WillowLaneTextiles.com
Northern Lights Collection by Jessica Prout at Little Arrow Design Company

Northern Lights Collection by Jessica Prout at Little Arrow Design Company

Spoonflower, an online company founded in 2008, enables its users to create and sell custom-printed fabric, wallpaper, and gift-wrap designs. Customers can also buy designs from Spoonflower that have been created by artists from around the globe. There are thousands of patterns to choose from. Spoonflower boasts that it has more than 500,000 available designs.

The website is easy to navigate and offers endless options. You can shop by color, design type, fabrics, wallpapers, or gift wrap. There is an option to upload your own designs, and in three quick steps your piece will be ready to go. You can earn a commission by selling your designs on the website, too. Spoonflower also has a "Discover" tab that provides project ideas and tutorials. The company maintains a blog that keeps its customers up-to-date.

Fabrics Infinity Scarves

The tool Threads finds most intriguing is Spoonflower's Fill-a-Yard feature. It allows users to mix and match patterns on a single length of fabric. You simply choose from the templates provided, which can include anything from 1/2-yard splits (1 yard with two equal-sized areas) to quilt-size squares. Then fill in the fields with any fabric design you like. It is perfect for making what Spoonflower calls a cheater quilt. The patchwork squares are printed directly on the fabric, and all you need to do is add batting, backing, and quilt stitching.

Fill-a-Yard also helps reduce fabric waste because you can combine several smaller yardages into one fabric length, avoiding the typical 1-yard minimum many online stores require. Spoonflower's Fill-a-Project offering complements Fill-a-Yard. In addition to the cheater quilt, Fill-a-Project offers templates for infinity scarves.


We spoke with Spoonflower President Allison Sloan Polish and Product and Procurement Manager Sara Englehart.

Threads: What inspired the creation of Fill-a-Yard? Was this a feature a lot of your customers requested? Did you see a lot of small yardage orders?

Spoonflower: Fill-a-Yard was inspired by customers' desire to buy smaller quantities of fabric-the designs they want, in the amounts they need-and with our on-demand, digital print platform, Spoonflower was in a unique position to solve it. We also saw an opportunity to help our customers complete some popular projects like cheater quilts and infinity scarves with expanded freedoms to combine designs from different designers. With our Fill-a-Project templates, customers are now able to fill a cheater quilt template with designs they have collected from multiple designers and aren't limited to cheater quilt designs created by designers. 

Threads: Do you have more Fill-a-Yard projects planned, like the infinity scarf or cheater quilt?

Spoonflower: We do. We've been brainstorming just what to add next, but we should have a couple additions to Fill-a-Project within the next few months. One that we can disclose will be released this fall is a template that allows you to make 12 dinner napkins on just 2 yards of fabric.

Threads: How long did it take you to implement it? Did it greatly change the processes you use to create custom fabric, or has this been a natural evolution of the technology?

Spoonflower: The project took around four months from ideation to initial launch, but we wouldn't say we're done quite yet. We are still adding features and improving on all aspects of the process from creating a collection to receiving a finished print. Fill-a-Yard was a pretty natural evolution of technology, and we are thrilled to add more value to the fabric we print for our customers. This innovation allows us to not only cater to the needs of customers, stoke their imaginations, and help keep the cost of crafting reasonable, but it also aids in our ongoing sustainability efforts.

Threads: Fill-a-Yard has an obvious benefit for customers; potentially meaning some of them can purchase less fabric to finish projects. As a business, how do you perceive the benefits of this feature?

Spoonflower: We feel that solving problems on behalf of our customers' needs or wants is always good business. At Spoonflower, one of our core values is to remain customer-focused.

While the innovation could lead to customers purchasing less fabric of a particular design, there is equal potential that we were losing sales from customers unwilling to purchase a whole yard of fabric when they only need a half of a yard of a particular design. 

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