Ever wonder how a fabric collection comes together? FreeSpirit Fabrics has just released my latest range, Celebrate! They asked me to talk about the design process and inspiration.
You know me right?! I am Kathy Doughty, an American living in Australia and an obsessive quilter since my first stitch. So great is my passion that in 2003 I opened Material Obsession, a patchwork shop that is a treasure trove of dynamic, colorful fabrics curated to create a new mix for all quilters. My motivation is to stimulate the imagination of quilters with quilt designs and techniques that have a familiar idea with a point of difference. Designing fabric for Free Spirit is a natural extension of this approach !
Here is the beginning of Celebrate! Hard for me to believe that a simple drawing like this could end up as a fabric range but it did!
One afternoon I was sketching with a fabric range in mind. Ideas come from everywhere but this day my mind was full of stash treasures that my customers were mixing with contemporary fabrics for applique and Broderie Perse in our classes. At Material Obsession we have always had fabulous teachers. The likes of Sue Cody, Marg George and Brigitte Giblin have always encouraged using a variety of fabric styles to bring to life a personal approach to quilting. I have often watched as the women in the class reveal their special fabric finds and noted that it was often a collection of a variety of remnants that included home dec, upholstery and antique chintz fabrics. I noted that the cherished fabrics often had exotic animals like giraffes and camels…monkeys and elephants.….what if these animals were party favours sitting in a jug instead of flowers???? Celebrate, my latest collection is all about that twist…and maybe a bit of shout!
Party Favours is the feature print. The decorative pots and characters can be cut from the borders and used in a feature block. I like the structure of traditional quilts and am always looking for prints that can hold space with interest in a quilt. It is also possible to isolate the characters for fussy cutting in pieced quilts or into large hexagons. It’s a versatile print that can also be cut beautifully into dynamic directional sashing strips. This particular print would also be darling for curtains in a child’s room!
Once I had my party favors the idea of a party celebration was on fire!
It started with the invited characters that make a gathering interesting. But before the guests arrive we need to decorate so…. Setting the table with a colorful floral table cloth makes for a festive event. In Australia we often plan our parties outside in the garden so we always want good weather! Weather Permitting is a vibrant floral print that hopes for good weather but if it rains, we’ll just put up a pretty umbrella! This is a fun print for cutting large or small. It has enough energy to be used as a palette starter, for alternate blocks or borders.
It is also perfect for a shirt…for that special guy Dave the DJ!
Party Land was a nod to a tropical theme. Palm trees, pineapples (the flavour of the month!) and beach huts are images that bring good times to mind! Again the print has features for random or fussy cutting.
For the last few years party banners have been popular so I thought they would make an interesting graphic print with a variety of lines and patterns. These three prints are an interesting option for block spacers or even applique backgrounds.
To top off any party a bit of fizzy bubbly doesn’t go astray so Bubbles were added in three colours for backgrounds and light. The happy colors and that intense acid yellow make this print right on trend.
When I design a fabric range and am deciding on the colors I am always thinking about my customers and quilting friends. I tend to group them in three categories, which are:
Pretty – for those that like comfortable, low contrast prints that are in a word, pretty. Here we have a nice warm yellow, soft light grey and some nice shades of pink and aqua with a bit of teal for interest!
Traditional – those of you that love reproduction style prints and colors this one is for you to capture a bit of brightness but still blend in with reproduction fabrics.
We have put our heads together and designed several patterns for the range which are available on our website
or this one by Wendy Williams called Pick of the Bunch!
Although quilts are my main focus it was fun to make up these carry all bags using Celebrate!
Party, party, party….we can dream of a party land filled with colorful flowers and treats! This collection considers not only where but how we decorate to celebrate any occasion. Banners, good weather and a sense of irreverence dominate the scene but don’t forget the bubbles!!! I hope you enjoy Celebrate and find your own ideas on how to use it. Be sure to share with me what you do!
It is so much fun to be able to celebrate the release of Celebrate! with all of you now!
If you want to see how we use it follow me:
instagram @matobsgirl, on my blog
Or join me in person as I travel and teach in the USA this July. Check the website for tour date details and lets get together!!!