I have been keeping a secret for almost two years and now, finally, I can spill it!
So, for those who aren’t familiar with Free Spirit Fabrics, it’s a quilting fabric company owned by Coats (as in Coats & Clark thread).
And, you might be wondering, how I got connected with a quilting fabric company. I’m not a quilter.
Well, to make a long story short, one of my readers has a sister who started a fabric company – Free Spirit Fabrics. When they would get together for vacations, my blog reader would tell her sister all about Miss Mustard Seed. Fast forward to a couple of years ago and her sister (who retired, but she was working as a creative consultant) reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in designing a fabric line.
I felt a mix of elation and fear. I have long-loved textiles and designing my own fabrics seemed like a dream. I could see it all in my head. But, the fear was stoked by the fact that I had never, ever designed textiles before (or even anything similar, like papers, stationary, etc.). We talked on the phone about all of that and later had the chance to meet in person. I shared some rough ideas and color palettes and received some direction on designing fabric.
While I was intimidated, I felt like I was ready to tackle this new project.
It was a long, on-the-fly learning process and I had to design and redesign and redesign again as I worked on learning and creating a design work flow. There were times I was so frustrated with myself! How does one learn to design fabric (short of attending design school for four years)? I was actually running Google searches trying to figure out what software I should use to create digital designs and repeats.
In the beginning, I was hand-drawing everything and using a copier to print multiples of a design that I would spread out over my studio floor to make a pattern. It was ridiculous. I’ll share more about my design process in another post, but I did get some things figured out and I started designing digitally. And, I have to say, I would absolutely not be able to do this without my assistant, Heidi. She was able to take my ideas and put them into larger repeats and multiple color ways. She is amazing and I have told her she can never “grow up” and get a real job. (In actuality, she is grown up and manages several real jobs!)
The result of all of the work and learning is a finished fabric collection that hit in the retailer quilt market in January 2018. It will be available in stores this spring.
And, just to show the collection “in action”, these are some pretty things made with the fabrics by Susan Dunn of Dunn by Designs.
Aren’t these fabrics happy? I just love how everything came together and I’m so glad I can now share it with you!
You can see the Bunnies Birds & Blooms look book HERE and the promo video below…
As I said, I will share a lot more about the design process, as well as what I’ve learned, in future posts. I have already taken what I’ve learned and am working on a second collection!
When I was editing the collection promo video, I actually smiled and thought to myself, this business just keeps on surprising me…