BeFab Sponsors a Final year Student

Sponsorship of £300 for One Talented, Driven, Final year Student.

We know all too well how much Final Projects cost, so above the 10% Student Discount we already offer to all our talented student clients BeFab Be Creative are looking to award one student this year with £300 worth of printing with BeFab, we also have a few other prizes up our sleeve but those all depends on how much we like your applications.

Who can apply?

Any final year Degree or Postgraduate Student can apply.

What are we looking for?

We’re looking to support a talented, capable and driven individual to give them a step up to create their final collection/project whether that be in Fashion or Textiles Design.

How do I apply?

Step one : Create an account with BeFab Be Creative

Two: Fill in our application here.

Three: Order a sample print on your chosen fabric here using code ‘SAS2016‘ to gain your temporary student discount* and help us identify your application.

Helpful hints

Sample print will be printed and as per our normal sampling service samples are printed at 20cm by 1/2 the width of your chosen fabric, you will receive one and BeFab Be Creative will retain the other half.

You can find out more about how to get the best out of your sample print here.

What we ask in return

All we ask in return is for the recipient of any cash award to mention BeFab Be Creative on their Social Media channels as a sponsor and for our logo to be included in the catalogue at any final promenade and or end of year show.


Completed Applications must be received by 9am on Tuesday 26th of April. 

BeFab Be Creative decision will me made and announced by Friday 29th of April

Best of luck and we look forward to seeing your designs!

Zoë & Solii
The BeFab Sisters

*Discount code provided here is valid for the BeFab’s Sponsorship Application period only.

If you wish to apply for a personal student discount which will be valid until end of Sept of your graduating year please send a email containing the following information:

Valid matriculation card number, details of your course including year of (expected) graduation and the User Name which your BeFab account has been created under. On receipt of this email we will create a unique discount code for you to use with your BeFab account, this will be emailed to you for you to use each time you order.

Digital Fabric Printing with BeFab

What is Digital Fabric Printing?

Put simply it is the act of printing digital files on to fabric, with the printing part of the process working much like your desk top inkjet printer only think bigger (like way bigger!) and where the printing element is only one part of a larger process.

Actual smaller-res-Rebecca-McGill,-Rachel-Parker,-Rosie-Cook,-Jen-Moules,-Printed-and-Co

Different types of Digital Fabric Printing

There are a number of different types of Digital Fabric Printing processes/Ink Technologies, with each working on specific fabric types, for particular purposes and offering varying qualities of print. It is this factors which will also dictate both the price and also the longevity of your printed design.

A simple demonstration of this is the difference between a T-shirt that has a waxy quality to the print design as the print effectively sits on top of the fabric and those prints where you can feel no difference in the fabric whether it is printed or not, and there are a number of variations in between.

This diagram demonstrates the 4 basic ink technologies/chemistry’s and the fabrics that they are able to print on. For the purposes of this post we are going to discuss Reactive Dye Digital Fabric Printing as this is what we work with at BeFab Be Creative.

Ink fabric uses for MAke works

Reactive Dye Digital Printing is the most versatile of the high end digital printing technologies, we chose to use this at BeFab for its ability to print onto both silks and plant based materials like Cotton, Linen and Rayon and where the print has no affect on the handle of the fabric as the dye bonds directly with the fabric fibers. This also means reactive printing has a greater light and rub fastness than other print technologies making it perfect for apparel and homewares.


The Print Process

Unlike with traditional screen printing where the thick ink ‘fixer’ is incorporated into the ink itself, with digitally printing the fixer would clog up a printers ink heads, so the fixer must be applied to the fabric before it is printed. This is referred to as the ‘padding’ or pre-treatment and this is done by an external fabric finisher (which sounds confusing when in digital print terms this is the first part of the process!!)

Each new pre-treated fabric is then print tested, the printer is calibrated to the amount of ink that the fabric can hold to achieve a crisp, bright print. Too much ink and a print will not be crisp, too little and the colour accuracy/brightness may be lost. The average shrinkage is calculated and then the fabric is given a ‘profile’ which the printer will use each time it prints this fabric.


Now for printing your design! Your fabric is placed on the printer, the ink head is set to the correct height for the fabric, there is only a few millimetre clearance over the fabric so the height for a silk will be quite different to that of a upholstery weight linen. This head height is important not least to protect the ink heads but also as this affects the crispness of printing.

This is the bit where we look like a cat watching the tennis, we watch your print emerge as the print head passes right to left and back again across the fabric, laying the ink on the fabric in layers over a number of passes.

Cats gif-watch tennic-7rnd.gif

This is the most vulnerable time for the fabric as the print has not yet been ‘fixed’. To do this the fabric must be steamed in order for the printed ink to bond to the fibers of the fabric, with each fabric needing a different length and quantity of steam depending on a number of variables, fabric type, length of print etc.

Once out of the steamer the fabric needs to be washed in order to remove any excess ink, to further fix the print and wash out the fixer which has now done its job.

The fabric is then dried and ironed with our final quality control check. Only at this stage do we know your fabric is ready to go, at which point it is packaged up and on its way to you.



The BeFab Sisters

Really Big Print Files, the work around.

File too large for our upload limit? Don’t fear, we have a work around for that!

Our upload limit is set at 50mb, partly because that’s a whole lot of file but also because around that point Jpgs start to get a little erm… let’s say temperamental*!

However we know that you may have files that are larger than this and that’s OK with us!

So here’s what to do first.

Check what dpi your file is, we recommend between 150-300dpi so if you’re way up at 300dpi (or above!) don’t be afraid to lower this a little. The only fabric we would recommend it necessary to keep the 300dpi is Silk Satin.

Otherwise we have tested and there is no visible difference to the quality of your print. Trust us, Solii spent quite a bit of time testing this, she’s a bit funny about print quality!

Does your file need to be that large? It’s a placement print and Instead of making your file 4m long you can brake this up into 2 x2m sections for instance always do this, it make files much easier to manage at both ends of the process.

Still to big?

OK first, save your file as a flattened** Tiff instead. This might seem even bigger but go with it***.

Within your File Name make sure you add your Name, Fabric type, and Length to be printed, this means we can file it properly when we get it and know it’s yours. (You might think calling it ‘BeFab File 1’ works for you but it’s not so good at our end, we get a few of those!)

Make sure your file is orientated the right way, the height represents the length of your fabric and the width is the printable width.

Then use either or the DropBox ‘Share, Sent Link’ function to get the files to us.

Log in to Your BeFab and place your order through the website using our mock file, this is literally to give you the ability to get passed the upload part and tell us what you want to order. Then add a wee note along with the link to your file in the notes section of your order and then complete your order, where you will get the usual conformation email.

That simple!

We look forward to seeing your massiiieeve design files.

The really technical stuff!

*        Jpegs supports a maximum image size of 65,535×65,535 pixels so any larger than this (which happens to fall around the 50mb mark) and the file is not usable by us as whilst you will be able to see and open the file in the computer it was saved in, it can’t be opened in any other Photoshop due to ‘parsing issues’.

**     If you flatten the layers in your tiff this will keep the file size down, making it faster to save, upload and print, so worth doing.

***   Tiffs have a much higher maximum image size so are very rarely affected by this same parsing issue Jpegs have.

That’s all folks, it’s not exactly sexy reading but it’s useful. As ever any questions just drop us an email to and we’ll be happy to help. 

Meet the Designer – Mimi Hammill

What is your greatest achievement so far , what are you particularly proud?

I think that my greatest achievement is to have been named one of the 2015 Print & Pattern Make It In Design scholars. Make It In Design is an online school and community run by Rachael Taylor and Beth Kempton. Their Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design courses are hugely respected and something I’d been longing to study, but funds never permitted. I applied for the 2015 scholarship (sponsored by the amazing Print & Pattern blog) along with tonnes of designers from almost 30 countries around the world. So I was over the moon to win. To have that vote of confidence from designers that I respect so highly was a real turning point. And access to the Make It In Design classroom for the duration of 2015 has taken my business to a whole new level.

How would you describe your work?

I really love geometric patterns. And while I always try to incorporate hand-drawn or photographic textural elements in to my patterns, my true love is crisp, perfect, flawless vectors. Often I’ll settle on a mixture of both. Colours? I struggle with purples and maroons; the last two Pantone Colours of the Year (Radiant Orchid and Marsala) made me groan. But I really persevered with them in a collection of florals this Autumn. I’ll try anything but almost always settle on brights; the more lurid the better. My favourites at the moment are chartreuse and fuschia…together.

Describe your work space?

My children call it “Mum’s Playroom”. It’s all white, with a comfy sofa and two sections of String System shelving that incorporates a computer desk and a fold-away drawing table. All of my favourite books and objects line the shelves – and they’re mostly favourites because of their bright colours. When I’m sitting at my desk I have the computer, the radio, my knitting, loose leaf A4 paper, a couple of Johanna Basford colouring books, loads of felt tip pens, and all my fabric samples within arms reach. Lovely pictures line the walls and there’s a corner specifically for scented candles. It’s the perfect little space.

When do you work best, are you up with the lark or a night owl?

My most productive time is the golden hour after the children have eaten dinner, while they’re having bathtime with Dad. I always get so much done during that hour.

What do you do to overcome designers block?

I tidy up. I can not think straight in the traditional clichéd creative chaos. When my playroom is immaculate and everything is in its place, that’s when I can open my imagination.

Where did your love for design originally develop from?

In 2010 I was lucky enough to end up doing a rather belated gap year (or two) because my husband got a great job opportunity in Singapore. I kept myself out of trouble by doing some random evening and weekend classes at a couple of wonderful art schools there. At about the same time I saw a blog post about various print-on-demand services for t-shirts, greetings cards, etc. I was mystified as to how regular everyday people were making such slick digital patterns. Eventually I discovered that Adobe Illustrator was the thing I needed to learn. So I took every online class I could afford by Alma Loveland. I’ve played with Illustrator almost every day since, and it’s starting to pay off. In terms of influences I’m a total sucker for sharp vectors, so I adore work by people like Malika Favre, Camille Walala, Tom Pigeon and Kitty McCall. But, I guess I’m quite contrary, because my all-time design fangirl crushes are on fellow northern Scots with defiantly hand-drawn styles Karen Mabon and Johanna Basford (both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting this year, to my great joy!).

Your home is on fire, assuming your family, pets & computer/phone are safe, what is the one thing you save from the blaze?

I have a stack of calendars, in order, covering the last 10 years. Every play date, dancing show and dental appointment my children have ever been to is in there. My favourites are Miffy (2008), Studio Ghibli (2010) and Rob Ryan (2015). 2016 is going to be a Moomins On The Riviera calendar! Luckily they live in the same drawer as my wedding gown, so I guess I’d grab it at the same time. It’s a cream Jenny Packham dress covered in sequinned butterflies, and more than a decade later is still the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

In terms of procrastination, what are you doing, when you should be doing something else?

Reading. Some of the best books don’t take much more than a day, a day during which NOTHING else gets done. Have you read Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami? That was done with inside a single weekend. I recommend it. 

Food & drink: We like our food!

It’s been a long week, what’s in your glass (or mug) on a Friday night?

During the darkest and coldest time of year my favourite thing to drink is a shot of Noilly Prat and a shot of Disaronno poured over a glass full of ice. Sounds dubious, but the combination is a great deal more than the sum of its parts. It’s very festive. 

You have clients coming round, do you bake or buy in the treats to go with your tea/coffee, what are they and why?

Once upon a time I’d probably have baked. But these days I’m more likely just to get a box of Tunnocks teacakes in.

Music: What’s on your Studio Playlist?

Inheritance Track: A track that you inherited from your parents or significant person in your childhood and who did you inherit it from?

We always had Edith Piaf on in the car, and my brother and I would warble away in faux French to Je ne regrette rien. I absolutely never do that any more. Really. Never…

Emotional Track: The track that calms you down or gets you through when you’re just having one of those days.

A movie soundtrack. Cinema Paradiso or The English Patient are old favourites.

Physical Track: The track that gets you up dancing or tapping your feet without fail.

Pump up the jam. Thankfully my kids like it too.

Album: What’s your album of the moment, who’s on repeat for you right now?

Tsuji Ayano’s Koisuno Megane. I could (and have) listened to it on repeat all day.

Advice: A few pearls of wisdom here.

What is the best advice, you’ve ever been given?

Two gems that I have scrawled into many notebooks: “Be Brave”, and, “You are your own secret weapon”. Both from Rachael Taylor.

If you were starting out again now, what advice would you give your younger self?

I’m not sure I’ve been in this game long enough to have left the “starting out” phase yet. But I would certainly be more cautious about wasting time on those design competitions that are barely disguised spec work. They’re a total stitch up and certain organisations (who shall remain nameless) should be ashamed of themselves.

We like to hear about new and up and coming designer and artists, can you recommend someone new (or new to you) a ‘one to watch’ that you think is doing great/interesting/admirable things, that we should know about, and why do you like their work?

I was selling at the Barbican Christmas Market this past Christmas, and I loved the work of fellow traders Kim Sera and Tamago Buddies. Not new perhaps, but certainly new to me. Seriously gorgeous stuff by seriously lovely people.

And lastly, whose words inspire you, a quote to live life by?

Lily James as Cinderella: Have courage and be kind!

If you want to find out more about Mimi Hammill you can find her in all these lovely places too:

Website : Blog Twitter : Instagram : Pinterest 

Creative Recipes – Susan Castillo’s French Macaron

SCastillo_Macarons (1 of 1)Next up is another one of our Printed and Co. Designers, The lovely Susan Castillo, who when we asked if when they have visitors to their studios do they bake or buy in the treats to go with your tea/coffee?

“I bake! Any opportunity. Its my stress release, for some reason baking makes me feel calmer.

My go to receipe I would probably say French Macrons. I spent a great deal of time, late nights and countless batches trying to get these bad boys right. I think I encountered everything that could go wrong with them. However I finally think I’ve got them sussed so I do get a bit of satisfaction when I serve them up”

As it is Zoe’s Birthday and her favourite baking treat is french macarons we thought we would post this recipe today! So Happy Birthday Zoe! and thank you to Susan for such a brilliant recipe.


125g/4½oz icing sugar

125g/4½oz ground almonds

90g/3½oz free-range egg whites

2 tbsp water

110g/4oz caster sugar

food colouring (optional)

SCastillo_Macarons (5 of 1)-2


1.Preheat the oven to 170/C/325F/Gas 3 and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

2.Put the icing sugar, ground almonds and 40g/1½oz egg whites together in a large bowl and mix to a paste.

3.Put the water and caster sugar in a small pan and heat gently to melt the sugar, then turn up the heat and boil until the mixture starts to go syrupy and thickens – I don’t use a thermometer but if you prefer to use one, it should read 115C/239F at this stage.

4.Whisk the remaining 50g/2oz egg whites in a small bowl until medium-stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl, then pour in the sugar syrup, whisking until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny. For coloured macaroons, add a few drops of food colouring. Tip this meringue mixture into the almond paste mixture and stir gently until the becomes stiff and shiny again.

5.Spoon into the piping bag. Pipe a little mixture under each corner of the baking paper to stop it sliding around. With the bag held vertically, pipe 4cm/1½in flat circles onto the lined tray, about 2cm/¾in apart, twisting the bag after each one. The mixture should be quite loose to give a smooth finish. The piping will leave a small ‘tip’ on each circle so, when they’re all piped, give the tray 2–3 slams on a flat surface to flatten them.

6.Leave to stand for 30 minutes to form a skin then bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes with the door slightly ajar until firm. Remove from the oven, lift the paper off the baking tray and leave the macaroons to cool on the paper.

7.Add a filling of your choice, and sandwich together. May I suggest a salted caramel, lemon curd or even nutella? YUM!

SCastillo_Macarons (3 of 1)

Behind The Scenes of BeFab

Hello! I’m Zoe and 7 weeks ago I joined a group of 10 others on the 8 week BBC Make it Digital Course, where I am just about to complete my placement at The BeFab Be Creative Studios

After the first 4 weeks of the course, We then started at our Placements, where we would spend 3 weeks creating and producing a social media plan, I had chosen to go to BeFab Be Creative with the Lovely Solii and Zoe.

I’d met Solii at the Hill Street Launch for the BBC course pilot and when looking into BeFab more thoroughly I realised they were a company that I would love to do my placement at.

So I’ve asked a couple of questions whilst Ive been here about the business  that I think you’ll find the answers to very interesting;

Do you like owning your own business? 

S: Yes, because it’s all on us. We’re responsible for everything that leaves this studio, which can be stressful too but it means we know that everything that goes out represents us and our clients to the best of our abilities  that’s really important to both of us.  Not having to work for someone else I love too, as it gives me so much flexability to live my life at my own pace as well as running the business as we like to, in that we do still often work silly number if hours and dont really take holidays like people with ‘proper jobs’ but we also get to bunk off early to meet a friend who’s in town for the day or take a long weekend to head to the highlands without having to ask anyone’s permission, as long as the printing is done of course! 


How far do you feel your business has come since you opened in April 2013?

S: Massively far! The Learning curve has been unbelievable, but I’d like to think we’ve kept true to what we set out to achive, a good quality, friendly service for small designer makers.

Z: We had no clue how much we didn’t know till we came across it all but we’ve come far in a sense that we have built up the business from scratch and built our client base ourself from the help of the community and with all the stresses along the way we’ve done well.

When you started the process if you could have jumped forward a year and seen what processes you had to go through to get where you were a year ago, would you have started BeFab?

Z: We had a stressful process starting BeFab and what we thought would take 6 weeks took six months, as I said we had no clue how much we didn’t know until we came across it all, its such a small, closed industry and when something goes wrong or you dont know the answere to a question when some of the machinary we have is one of only a handful in the world, there is no googling option and on some occasions our suppliers didn’t even know! So there was a lot of problem solving on our part with a lot of help from the technical support teams including the ever trusty mechanics across the road and friends of the family (turns out we know quite a few engineers, useful!) too, so Yes I think we would have but if we had all the knowledge of the road ahead we would have done different research. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!


Its been a fun 3 weeks at BeFab and there are definite things being part of the atmosphere that you might not get from meeting the ladies/ reading there website that I’m going to give you a lovely insight into!

  • The Machines have names AND personalities!

There is a lot of lovely pieces of machinery at BeFab that all have to work together to get your order out to you ASAP and sometimes they aren’t always co-opertive, almost like they know there is 12 meters worth of designs on twill silk and 5 meters worth of designs on english linen that need to be steamed at different temperatures at different times and Roberto the Temperamental Italian (Steamer) decides he wants a little un-scheduled maintenance, it doesnt happen often but it can be rather frustrating, though you as a client will never know this (until now!) because that’s our problem not yours… and is why that 10 day lead time is really important sometimes.

  • So we have;
    • Bertha the Printer – she really does look like Bertha from the cartoon
    • Roberto the Temperamental Italian Steamer (he wont work before his coffee in the morning!)
    • Gin the Washer and Tonic the Tumble dryer (named by you lovely lot on social media!)

Oh and they often say thank you and goodnight to Bertha after a long day at the studio, well she’s an important part of the team you know!

  • Its like Santa’s Grotto in here at Christmas!

It’s mental!

All you lovely clients send in your beautiful designs to be printed and then BeFab takes it from there! There is the printing, steaming, washing, tumble drying, ironing and then finally the packaging. The process takes a long time and Solii and Zoe work so hard to make sure its with you as soon as possible! (even though Solii has a pet hate for ironing! but it has to be done!)


  •  BeFab Be Creative is a small family manufacturer in the UK and…

They’re not alone! There are so many lovely independent UK businesses and manufacturers and even though we are a small business,the community is huge and we all have to work hand in hand! Which we do because we care about one another! SO next time you’re thinking on purchasing a gift for someone or a purchase for you’re home, please support local business and look closer to home


Solii with Adam and Nina from Kalopsia

And Lastly…

  •  Solii and Zoe care so much about you and your designs

Trying not to sound too much like a walking cliche, however after working here for the last 3 weeks its obvious, the two lovely ladies here at BeFab and Printed and Co. care so much about what you create, They are genuinely interested in what you are designing and why. They also will do anything in their power to help you as much as they can! I think this is because they understand what its like to be a designer or a student in the design world and they totally empathise, which is very refreshing!


I’ve enjoyed my 3 weeks here and I really hope that the social media work I’ve been doing will be beneficial to Solii, Zoe and the company.

All the love and best,

Zoe McRae (Intern not Sister)


Creative Recipes – Niki Fulton’s Earl Grey & Pear Cake

Some of our Printed and Co designers have let you into their lives with our Meet the Maker Question posts and like we said in the questions over there,  We like our food! and as most of our Printed and Co. designers are not only creative on the design front but seem to love baking too so we thought we’d start an new section on our blog called “Creative Recipes”


First up is the lovely Niki Fulton from Unified Space, who when we asked the Meet the Maker Question –  when you have visitors to the studios do you bake or buy in the treats to go with your tea/coffee? she said;

“I love cooking as much as I love designing. My most popular sweet bites are beetroot & chocolate cake (gooey & moist, earthy darkness to it), Earl Grey & pear cake (almost like eating your favourite perfume), star anise tortas (recipe from my chum Kellie at Food to Glow) and I’m a rather partial to almond shortbread from a recipe my Mother-in-Law gave me from a Mr.Chow in Canada from the 1940’s.”

As this a very festive baking idea why not rustle one up this christmas season when you have some time to spare!

So without further ado!, Here is Niki’s Earl Grey & Pear Cake recipe  (a small tweak from a recipe she found from the National Trust Historical Cake Recipes)

for the cake mixture,
150 g dried pears roughly chopped & soaked overnight in 120 ml of strong cold Earl Grey tea
120 g butter – left out to soften (or sunflower spread if wanting to make it dairy free DF)
120 g soft dark brown sugar
2 organic free range eggs
150 g Self raising flour – (or gluten free GF self raising flour – I use Doves Farm)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
5 star anise blitzed to powder in coffee grinder (optional)
for the icing,
110 g sieved icing sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp hot water
1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 F / GM 4. Grease & line a 1lb loaf tin
2. Cream together the butter & the sugar till light & fluffy and beat in the eggs (don’t panic, curled & lumpy is fine at this stage)
3. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, ground ginger & blitzed star anise. Fold into the cake mixture. Mix in the pears and the cold tea and turn into the loaf tin (if batter is too sticky & stiff just add a few drops of water to the cake mixture). Turn into the loaf tin.
4. Bake for 45 minutes. If necessary, cover with foil to prevent it from over browning. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Mix the hot water with the icing sugar and ground ginger (adjust amount of ginger to your taste) and drip over the top of the cake and then leave to set.
Enjoy with a freshly brewed cup of Earl grey.
We also love the blatant product placement in these photos too Niki! You can catch the Pear Drops Tan Fabric on and the Pear Mug as well as other lovely products on Niki’s Etsy

If you want to find out more about Niki you can find her in all these lovely places too as well as checking out her “Meet The Maker” Blogpost :

Website Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest Etsy