Prairie has just hit the shelves of the Homemakery and I asked Rebecca if she would answer a few of my questions about her collection with Dashwood and where she found the inspiration for her beautiful designs. I hope you enjoy the insight into Rebeccas world!
For those of us new to fabric design can you explain how your fabric collection with Dashwood Studios came about and how you go about designing a range of fabrics?
Before I actually start designing I’ll do some research on the theme, colours and trends related to the design I want to create. With Prairie, although I was initially just designing for my own portfolio, rather than a specific client project, I knew I wanted to create a collection for fabric and specifically for quilting fabric. I also knew that I really wanted to explore the theme of lace and the patterns found within vintage lace, crochet and doilies so I began researching and collecting images for inspiration. I’m a bit addicted to Pinterest and love building moodboards on there so I created a secret Prairie board which I began pinning to and which I could make public once the collection was finished.
I usually begin any design by doing some sketches in pencil and then once I’m happy with what I’ve drawn I’ll go over it with black ink pen and scan these into the computer. I’ll then use these drawings to build and colour my design on the computer.
Once the Prairie collection was finished I submitted it to Dashwood Studio in the hope that they would like it and want to use it as one of their fabric collections. I’d followed them from when they first started and loved the their fabrics so as you can imagine I was really excited when I got the email saying they loved the collection and wanted to talk to me about it!
Prairie is your first range of fabrics, did designing a fabric range present any new challenges from your typical surface design work?
I was already used to designing in collections and not just individual designs but this is the first time I’ve designed a collection for quilting fabric and I think it’s the biggest collection of designs I’ve created so far – 8 in total. As quilting fabrics are typically used altogether, or in groups of a few different designs, I think the biggest challenge was to try and keep each design unique but so that they all still sat well together and had the same style and feel to them.
I think it’s really important to consider balance across the whole collection and that goes for the colours you use and in what amounts, the scale of designs and the type of design, so whether it’s a floral or geometric and whether the design is directional or scattered and more of an all-over layout. David at Dashwood Studio was great though and although the collection was almost there when I submitted it, he really helped with the final tweaks, like colourway changes on a couple of the designs and adjustment of scale. He has lots of experience in the industry and I’ve learnt a lot from the process which has been great.
We love the pretty designs and colour palette for Prairie where did you draw inspiration for it?
Thank you! I’m so pleased they’re getting such a good response. As the designs are very delicate and organic I wanted to have a colour palette that reflected this but at the same time wasn’t too soft so the designs didn’t stand out, which is why I included the coral and mustard which I feel really pop against the soft blue and greys. I like the way the white outlines also help highlight some of the flowers and motifs too.
If you had to pick one fabric from the collection that is your favourite which would it be and why?
Oh this is so hard! I do love them all but if I had to pick one, it would probably be the Scattered Flowers design (the more organic flowers and leaves on the blue background). I don’t know why exactly but I think it’s the detail in the individual motifs and flowers and the way they feel like they’re dancing around the fabric!
You obviously have a very creative job, do you have a favourite craft you enjoy doing in your spare time?
As I love my work and enjoy what I do so much it does often tend to blend into my spare time and the difference between the two becomes quite blurred at times! I love to draw and it’s something I’ve really got into more over the last year or so. A lot of the drawing I do is for my design work but I can still lose myself in it and really enjoy it. I keep saying I’d love to have a go at printmaking but I just haven’t got round to it yet.
I have been known to sew quite a lot too because I used to have my own range of handmade cushions, bags and home accessories that featured my own fabrics and that I sold at tradeshows but since I’ve been concentrating just on the surface pattern side of my business I’ve not really sewn much at all. It will be nice to get the sewing machine out again though and just be able to sew for pleasure without the added pressure of making them as products to sell!
Now that your Prairie fabrics are finally available to play with what are you planning on making with them?
Well I have a list! However, I will need to enlist the help of my Mum as I’ve never attempted dress making before and she used to make clothes for me when I was little. I’d like to make a pretty summer dress for my little niece out of one of the fabrics and I’d also love to have a go at making the 1930’s style blouse that they made on the Great British Sewing Bee the other week! I’m really enjoying this series.
I also want to make some new roman blinds for my house but I’m not sure I’ll get away with using my own fabrics everywhere so I might have to settle on just making one to go in my studio!
A huge thank you to Rebecca for taking the time to answer a few of our questions and give us an insight into her world, if you would like to see more of Rebecca’s work you can find her on her website, blog, twitter, facebook and pinterest!