Sunday, June 21, 2009

Amy Butler does it again with style and flair. This book is really well presented, beautifully photographed and illustrated. It has a pocket of patterns in the front with good clear instructions for each project. The book is broken up into chapter themes like personal items, lounge room accessories etc. with easy, medium and more difficult projects (although none of the projects are really difficult just more time consuming and requiring more care preparation) in each chapter. Each project has finite dimensions with specific fabrics, tools and supplies required. Amy Butler patterns take you through the process step by step and if followed to the letter result in success. (A note though, a downfall of her patterns, I have found, has been a lack of explanations about why you are doing a specific step at that stage rather than later - it usually all becomes clear, but for a more experienced sewer who is used to knowing the purpose of doing something so that shortcuts or quickcuts are possible, this is a little frustrating when tackling a pattern for the first time).

process from idea to fabric

The proposal was presented at Spring Quilt Market last year. This is one of the original graphics that I showed to the fabric company reps, designed with Corel. In the next few weeks I’ll be showing you how the design is changed, refined (and improved!) for the printing process.

Work on the line began in earnest in January. The fabric will be shown to shop owners at Quilt Market at Houston this fall and show up in shops after that. Stay tuned as we follow the process from idea to fabric on this blog.

gorgeous fabrics

We all sigh with deep contentment when the door opens on a shop full of gorgeous fabrics. Did you ever wonder how that fabric comes to be?

In the many years that I’ve been quilting I’ve learned a lot about fabric, especially about what makes quilt shop quality different from that of chain or discount stores. But the design process, how the patterns on the fabric move from idea to yardage was a big mystery to me. That is until I was invited to submit a proposal to P&B Textiles for a fabric line.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chairs cushions fabrics Designing

Awhile back, reader Kate sent over a link to this project idea from Cookie Magazine: paint mismatched chairs the same color to make a dining set. I like the 12" of unpainted legs on each piece. Note they carefully chose wood tones that matched each other, or the set might have turned out a little crazy looking. And kudos to Cookie for choosing an excellent paint color.

Bedsheet designing

Look at this room that Sarah put together for her 14-year-old daughter, using my Calliope fabric on some cushions. How lovely!

If you'd like instructions for making some quick throw pillows, here's a tutorial for a simple envelope pillow, the easiest kind there is.

I'm pondering Roman shades lately, after seeing a couple DIY tutorials on the world wide interweb. Maybe our orange room could benefit

More cushions, bags, upholstery fabrics

San Francisco company Swizzlestix produces paper goods and housewares with groovy colors and retro patterns. Looks like they like orange, too! Swizzlestix is offering a special giveaway to How About Orange readers. Just leave a comment here with a way to contact you and the name of your favorite pillow design (click here to see the choices), and one comment will be drawn randomly. The lucky winner will receive the pillow of their choice, free! Contest ends Friday, 3/20/09, at midnight CDT.

Fabric covered magnets

Some friends were over the other day, and I showed them how to whip up some fabric-covered thumbtacks and magnets. (See the tutorial here.) For the magnet version, you'd obviously glue on a magnet instead of a thumbtack. I know that seems readily apparent, but if I don't state it for the record, I am guaranteed to get emails asking about it.

Easter projects you can make

Some last-minute crafts to whip up for Easter:
Baby bunnies pattern download from Larissa Holland's Etsy shop (above)
Origami bunnies from Canon
Easter clip art projects at Martha Stewart
Printable Easter card from Benign Objects
Rabbit embroidery pattern by Helen Dardick
Fabric eggs at Retro Mama
Printable Easter stickers and cards from Living Locurto

Fabric bowls

I have a bit of a bowl fixation lately (at least making paper ones like this and this), so when I came across this reversible fabric model at Imagine Fabric, I was delighted. ('Course it doesn't hurt that it's orange, either.) Make your own with their instructions.

More tutorials for when you're itching to create something handmade:
Picture frame silkscreening (with free templates!) at Martha Stewart, pictured left

cushions, bags, upholstery fabrics

Sprig, Peapod, and Leaflet are printed on 54" wide 7 oz. canvas, perfect for home dec projects like cushions, bags, upholstery, shower curtains, you name it. Herb is printed on a 54" wide mid-weight cotton sheeting, good for linings and projects where you'd like a lighter weight fabric.

How did this collaboration with J. Caroline Designs come about, you ask? Caroline stumbled upon my blog, decided to take a crazy chance, and hired a girl who had never designed fabric before. In other words, we met online and it was a match made in heaven. Countless hysterically funny emails and one face-to-face meeting took place over the course of several months, and here's the result.

Modern Flora Fabrics

The fabric I designed will be shown at a textile trade show in L.A. next week, thanks to some fancy footwork by Caroline of jcaroline creative. With one week to prepare, she managed to slipcover a sofa and do up pillows, a crib set, a lamp, dining chairs, a tablecloth, napkins, totes, and cosmetic bags. Yeah. Just a few things, right? She employs some wonderful ladies who helped pull this off at the speed of light, all culminating in an emergency photo shoot by Brooke Schwab Photography. Brooke took some gorgeous pictures for the booth—you can see more on her blog right here. I'm embarrassed to admit that meanwhile, all I did was stay in Chicago and send pesky emails. Caroline and Brooke, you are both amazing. I'm so lucky to know you.

Designing fabric

I've gotten several emails lately asking if I could talk about how I got into designing fabric. It's not a very complicated story... I was working as a graphic designer (still am) and blogging on the side for fun (still am), when Caroline of jcaroline creative sent me an email. I knew of her online shop, but didn't know her at all. Essentially she said, "I like your blog. Want to design some fabric for me?" Essentially I said, "Sure." Without having a clue how to do it.

I have a degree in Design Communication (FYI for people who have asked) and have been using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop for years, so I imagined it couldn't be that hard. Other people do it, right?

More Ribbon s

J Caroline Creative hired me to design some novelty ribbons for her store. I have to admit my first reaction was: "Uh, okay, but ribbons are stupid and useless." I had visions of teddy bears and ruffles and Precious Moments. But I took a stab at it and tried to think of things that would be cute and funny. Guess what. It was really fun. Here's the result. I still don't know what they're good for, so if you have an idea, please tell me. I'll put the link where you can buy them under each photo.

Unique Fabrics

I'm excited to give you a sneak peek of my new fabric. Look what appeared in my mailbox while I was out of town: table strike-offs from the mill! (That's a fancy term for proofs so you can make sure the screens look good before printing thousands of yards.) You can expect this stuff to be available by the end of September over at JCaroline Creative. All of these are on home decorator-weight canvas again.

This collection is called Amusement Park. There's plenty of orangey goodness for all the orange fans who were denied last time.

My new fabric is now available!

Guess what. As of this morning, my new fabrics are available for purchase. They've just arrived at JCaroline Creative, and they're ready and waiting to come to your house! Better yet, you can get 20% off any Jessica Jones fabric until October 15. Just enter the coupon code ORANGE at checkout to receive the discount (it applies to these new prints and Modern Flora, too.)

This collection is called Amusement Park, available here. (You can read more about the designs over at JCaroline, where I was asked to provide a thought about each print. Challenging, since I don't generally have too many thoughts. Seriously. It's all empty space between my ears when I'm designing fabric.)

New etsy items

Guess what. I've decided to resurrect my etsy shop from the dead. After complaining about how long it takes to list and package and mail stuff, here I go again. I'm planning to stock it with some yummy patterned goodies next week after I get back from Quilt Market. Stay tuned...

It turns out there's going to be a last-minute Jessica Jones booth at the International Quilt Market in Houston in a couple weeks. Caroline Devoy of JCaroline Creative is feverishly upholstering things and printing things and ordering things and sewing things, probably right at this exact minute. She is one amazing woman. Meanwhile, I sit up here in Chicago feeling guilty that I'm not more help.

New ribbon now available

I've made more stupid and useless ribbon! Heh heh. These designs that match my fabric are available right here at JCaroline Creative. Contact them directly if you're interested in wholesale orders. Or see some things to make with ribbon if you need ideas.

I've put some patterned goodies into my newly revived Etsy shop online. Including some lovely totes made by Grandma G (my mom), whom some of you know from the comments on this blog. I have multiples of most things, so I'll add as we go along.

Some ribbons fabrics designing

Some 1-1/2" wide ribbon I designed is now available here at JCaroline Creative. Check out the other lovely ones by Patty Young, too. This was originally going to be part of a fabric pattern, but Caroline snatched it up and made it into ribbon. Alex saw it yesterday and jokingly suggested I make him some suspenders. Yeah, and I'm sure nobody would make fun of him. Right.

New fabric

I just got samples of my expanded Amusement Park fabric collection for Braemore. I love it! It's printed on 54" wide 100% cotton canvas in three colorways, with two reprinted designs and two new ones. All the prints are for sale at JCaroline Creative, and arriving at other home decor fabric retailers around the country (and internationally!) soon.

The Earth colorway is printed on unbleached duck so little cotton flecks show in the background. I don't think I've gotten that excited about beige ever before, but it looks so nice that suddenly I want to make 700 pillows for my living room. Along with a few other projects, so stay tuned.

Fabrics for you

1. I picked out a smooth, 4" wide pine board at Home Depot, and Alex cut it into 9" lengths for me. My job was to hold it steady, and I'm pleased to report I still have all my fingers. Sand the wood corners a bit to make them smooth.

2. Find some decorative paper you want to use on the front, or get a color laser print like I did. Trim your paper so it's 1/4" larger than your wood piece.

3. Paint the sides of your board a coordinating color. I did the back, too, so it would look more finished. I used acrylic paint.

Christmas Fabrics

We have an aluminum tree this year, but weren't sure how to light it. Idea one: use a string of Christmas lights like normal people do on Christmas trees. The problem: the cords only come in dark green or white, and both stick out like a sore thumb on this tree. Idea two: get one of those color wheel things that people used decades ago. The problem: It doesn't light up your tree whatsoever, and the gizmo is, to quote my husband, "a piece of crap."

So we went with idea three: silver metallic spray paint. (We taped the bulbs so they wouldn't be painted, in case they get too hot and burst into flames or something.) The result is awesome. Just one small problem: it's been 3 days and the paint is still sticky. Hmmm. It's perfectly dry on the plug and lightbulb sockets. But the cord is still tacky to the touch. Why??? Maybe by mid-January it will be dry enough to pack up and store for next year, if it hasn't glued itself to the tree permanently by then. But hey, the lights look great and you can't see the cord at all!

Fabrics for Babies

These will be a gift for my brother and sister-in-law, who are having a baby any second. The fun stick-figure houses and stylized tree fabric came from Megumi. She found it somewhere in Tokyo in a dollar bin, and it's so cute I decided to frame it.

Some people near and dear to me are pregnant right now, which has inspired me to look for baby project tutorials:
Fleece hats from Martha Stewart (maybe for some bigger babies)
Booties from Heather Bailey
More booties from Martha
Still more booties from Star Dust Shoes
Ribbon pillows for a kid's room from JCaroline Creative
Onesies decorated using freezer paper stencils from Unwind
Baby kimonos from Martha
Appliqued bibs from JoAnn
Plush bunnies from Wee Wonderfuls
Night lights from Martha

Fabric for babies and kids

These are the results of a recent baby gift-making session. My first time to applique something. Here's how I did it, in case you want to do it, too. But I bet there are lots of really good tutorials out there somewhere if you need step-by-step pictures.
1. I walked up to the cutting counter at Joann fabrics and asked for something that would let me iron one fabric onto another and make it stick there. They stared at me blankly for a moment, then gave me a chunk of Heat 'n' Bond.
2. I kept the Heat 'n' Bond under my bed for 5 months. (This step is optional.)
3. I washed the onesies. And dried them, too.
4. I roughly cut out a small piece of pretty fabric containing the design I wanted, and a smaller-yet piece of HNB that would fit under the design, then ironed the HNB onto the fabric chunk, following the directions that came with it.
5. I cut out the shape I wanted.
6. I pulled off the paper backing, positioned it on my garment, and ironed it on.
7. I zigzagged around the edges with my machine. Done.