About Scaling Seamless Files

Fabric Shops & Graphic Designers:
You have permission to use this information to help explain to your customers the difference in scaling, but you must credit the original author (Teena Blaydes/Spitfire Threads) and link back to this article. I did a lot of research and fact-checking to make sure I'm providing the best information I can, so please do not plagiarize my intellectual property (being this technical article).


All About Scaling

 

What is ‘scaling’ and why I do I have to define it?

  • In textile printing, seamless files are most commonly used because their pattern can be repeated and scaled to your needs.
  • Printers will need to be informed of the scaling you want, in order to print it to your specifications.
  • Not every file is created equal. Not every project is created equal.
    • Because of this, there's not a one-size-fits-all solution for scaling.

 

What size do most files come in?

  • It is very important to know the exact size of your file, before you submit it to a printer.
    • Your graphic designer should be able to tell you what the file size is immediately, and it is a red flag if they cannot give you file details.
    • Make sure to check the color profile (should be RGB), the DPI (300 recommended for high-resolution), the size, and that it is seamless.
  • Most designers create their files in 12”x12”, or 3600px x 3600px (600px per inch)
    • This means that their primary pattern is done within that 12”x12” block.
    • If you request a scaling of 6”x6”, the pattern will appear smaller than what you received it at.
  • Sometimes, designers will create their seamless file in a 6”x6”, 9”x9”, etc

 

 

What can I expect when I request a specific size for scaling? Some examples:

  • If I have a 6”x6” file, and I ask them to scale at 6”x6”, it’ll be True To File Size (TTFS)
  • If I have a 6”x6” file, and I ask them to scale it to 12”x12”, it’ll be twice as large as the file size.
  • If I have a 6"x6" file, and I ask them to scale it to 3"x3", it'll be half the size.
  • The same image as a default 12”x12” file is going to look different than a default 6”x6” file when printed TTFS
    • 12"x12" TTSF on 1 yard of fabric 
    • 6"x6" TTSF on 1 yard of fabric 

 

 

 

Let’s talk about “oops” scenarios:

  • I think I have a 12”x12” file (but it’s really a 6”x6” file) and I want it a quarter of the size for bows, so I request a print at 3”x3”. I submit it to the printer, requesting the 3”x3” scaling.
  • When I receive it back, the print will only be half the size I had anticipated because it was really a 6”x6” file. It won’t be a quarter of the size that I was anticipating.
  • This happened because I was unfamiliar with the file I submitted.

 

  

Is there a way for me to view my print at the requested scale, before submitting it to a printer?

  • There are several ways, depending on your tech savviness.
  • Because of the programming involved, the majority of printers do not have this technology available on their website since there are major development costs.

 

 

A few ways to test your scaling:

  • Use Adobe Photo Shop:
    • Open the file as is 
    • Go to Edit > Define as Pattern
    • Open a new file at 36”width x 60” Height
      • Make sure it’s in inches, not pixels
    • Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Pattern
    • Click ‘Okay’ (no need to adjust at this point)
    • From here, select your new pattern in the drop-down menu.
    • Adjust scaling as needed
      • (if I have a 12”x12” file and I want it at 6”x6”, I’m going to scale at 50% to see what it’ll look like on a yard of fabric)


  • Use Spoonflower.com’s software:
    • Upload the design to Spoonflower and adjust the DPI scaling.
      • Make sure you have a yard selected, not a fat quarter.
    • Under the DPI info, you’ll see the measurements.
      • I’d recommend rounding to the nearest inch, when requesting scaling at printers. (e.g. 4.25”x4.25”, I’d request a 4”x4” scaling)

  • Use the Cricut Design Space software (you don’t need a Cricut)
  • If printing leather, check out Contrado.com for their awesome scaling tool:

 

 

Or, if you have a good eye for measurements, you can gauge what you need off of a reference point a designer provides.


          
  • For example, here you see the design as is, which is 12”x12”.
  • Above the image, you’ll see a 12” ruler reference.
  • I can deduce that most planets are 2-3” large.
  • Let’s say I want them half the size, I’d request a 6”x6” scaling, which would look like this.

 

  • At Spitfire Threads, for most items we’ll provide reference points at 2 different sizes.
    • The default, 12”x12” (which is what the file will come in)
    • What the same file looks like scaled at 6”x6”
    • Because of the extra time and effort added to demonstrating the differences, we will not be showing more previews right now. If you need something smaller than 6"x6" scaling, please look at the design elements and ruler.
      • E.g. In the above image, with our file already scaled at 6"x6", I can see that many planets are about 1-1.5". If I want them slightly smaller, I would probably opt for scaling at 4"x4".

 

 

****Important:****

This information is intended to help educate and assist you with your scaling choices. However, Spitfire Threads LLC does not hold any liability in what you, your designer, or printer does with the files.
Spitfire Threads LLC does not hold any liability in the information provided here. It is recommended, as with everything in life, to educate yourself through various resources so you can make the best choices possible.