A teal slug and my Spoonflower eyeball experiment results

Teal fleece Hug Me Slug stuffed animal art toy with a polka-dotted heart by Elizabeth RuffingI have a new teal fleece Hug Me Slug joining my other stuffed animal plushies over in my toy shop. I forgot to mention before that I now have the domains hugmeslug.com and hugaslug.com pointing to my toys shop, so it will be easier to find me.

Jojo, tuxedo cat, lying in a pile of cat toys on the bed, Elizabeth RuffingWe’ve been hanging around home, avoiding the shoppers. Jojo did her own shopping and got all the cat toys, while Henrietta was occupied.

I hurried in to the vet to get Oliver Bunny his checkup and nail trim, before the traffic at the shopping centers started. He met a girl bunny named Daphne in the adoption room there.

Daphne, little white bunny, Elizabeth RuffingDaphne

She liked him and nibbled on her cage to try to touch noses with him. He was hesitant. The vet asked if they made googly eyes at each other, and I told him she did, but he was nervous. He said, “Poor Daphne. She came on too strong.” Oliver finally settled back in by TV time. I told him I was sorry. He had the same reaction to the other two girl bunnies there, who were there the last time too. He doesn’t mind if big fat Santana jumps in my lap with him, or if Henrietta props her leg on his back while she gives herself a bath, but he isn’t sure about bunnies.

Santana is healing up and in a great mood. He appears to be enjoying the cats being closed up next door. Their new cat sitter showed up, which was a relief. I was afraid the same kid who didn’t take care of them before might be not taking care of them again. This one seems to be doing a good job of showing up daily.

Spoonflower Minky color mapSo…I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I ordered a color map of Minky fabric from Spoonflower and then a fat quarter with my toy eyeballs printed on their Minky as well.

Spoonflower Minky eyeballs printed on a fat quarterI’ll repeat those two photos here, above, to be more organized. As I said before, the fabric itself was nice and soft, and the colors were pretty. But I was a little worried about white showing through since the black didn’t cover the fibers all the way down to the base. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out for my eyeballs, as you can see below. The white showed through as I sewed, and the black edges of my circles got mixed with white. Everything was wobbling and mixing. (I used Photoshop to paste my eyeballs photos onto a clearer backgrounds, and so the edges shown are actually cleaner and neater than they were in reality.)

Spoonflower Minky eyeball sewn with no stabilizerAt first, I tried sewing the eyeball with no Wonder-Under paper-backed fusible stabilizer on the Minky, which made a bigger mess, since the outside edges were moving. I thought maybe if I were to stabilize the fabric, I might have better results.

Spoonflower Minky white circle sewn with Wonder-UnderIt looked a lot better, sewing with the Wonder-Under, as you can see above, or at least it did with just the white.

Spoonflower Minky eyeball with Wonder-Under fused to backgroundI fused a printed eyeball onto fabric with Wonder-Under, and you can see above that the black fibers were not making an even line and the white ones weren’t either. That is just the nature of the pile being too long for my project.

Oddly, the eyeballs that were printed along the edge of the fat quarter were ovals instead of circles. The Minky is a knit and it must have stretched along the edges while going through the printer.

Spoonflower Minky eyeball with Wonder-Under fused to background and sewnWhen I tried sewing the fused eyeballs down, I had the same problems, with the white and black getting mixed up and everything losing its shape. The eyeball above was a slightly smaller eyeball, which came out even worse. I tried to accent the white dot in the pupil with embroidery floss, but that didn’t work.

The Minky fabric might work well for a blanket, but I think anything stuffed tightly, or with smaller seams, or with top stitching would probably have white showing through the colors.

Spoonflower Faux Suede white circle with Wonder-Under fused to background and sewnI thought I might have better luck using a lower-pile fabric and I chose Spoonflower’s Faux Suede to try. I used the stabilizer again, and it came out pretty neat. I thought I might get lucky this time.

Spoonflower Minky eyeballs compared to blackUnfortunately again, there was a problem. Above are my eyeballs printed on Minky, with a skein of black DMC floss for comparison. You can see they are close to black.

Spoonflower Faux Suede eyeballs compared to blackAbove are my same eyeballs printed on Faux Suede, and you can see they are not black, but charcoal gray. My black in my file was hex color #000000, black as black can be.

The colors on my colored eyeballs, below, came out well, but the blacks were still gray. By the way, if you are making a file to print, be sure to use the type of file in the resolution you need at the beginning, so color information doesn’t get thrown out when you make the file smaller. Spoonflower uses 150 dpi. I used 150 dpi (ppi) and a .png file. I tried a .jpeg and kept having issues with my hex color #’s changing after I uploaded my files. I did double check my colors by downloading my files from the site, after uploading them to the site, to make sure my colors were the same. They were.

Spoonflower Faux Suede colored eyeballs compared to blackI thought there might be a mistake and wrote to Spoonflower, but there was no mistake. They just can’t print black on some fabrics, and have trouble printing black in general. They said their fabrics that get blacker blacks are Basic Cotton Ultra, Satin, Performance Knit and Performance Pique, but none of those are fuzzy like my toy eyes, plus the edges would fray on them if I were to try to sew them on by hand with a blanket stitch, as I do.

They were nice and sent me a refund on everything after I returned the fabrics to them. I only had to cover the postage to send the fabrics back. They also sent everything out right away, which was great. It was just disappointing about the blacks. I am going to try Fabric On Demand, another custom fabric printer, who carries fleece, to see how they do. They responded right away, but so far they have taken longer to send a sample. We’ll see how it looks. I hope I can find something that works for me.

Update: Both Fabric on Demand and Spoonflower have fleece now, and the black comes out nicely on both. I coated my eyeballs with some Liquitex Fabric Medium to make sure the edges didn’t fray when I cut them out. 

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