I have always loved fabrics, from studying textiles at the age of 15, through to developing my previous business Patchwork Rose, where I made bespoke textile products and sold fabrics from a high street shop in Bedale. It was always a dream of mine to one day design my own fabric, although not something that I ever thought would happen.
Then earlier this year I though, why not?! As with everything I have done in business, I started learning from scratch, doing lots of research, watching you tube tutorials on the design process, participating in webcasts from other designers. Google, google, and more google!
I understood I would need to create a pattern or swatch, which would then be repeated across the fabric, but wasn't sure of the best way to go about translating what was in my head into digital format. I knew I wanted something quite simple and relevant to my brand identity - something that was a blend between country cottage and scandi minimalism. Initially I started designing straight on the computer, creating vector motifs in Adobe Illustrator which I could then change into different colours, layouts and repeat patterns. However the finished result just looked a bit too smooth and modern, it didn't feel like me. So I went back to the drawing board, very literally, and started sketching out motifs with a pencil.
I was careful not to over draw the motifs, I wasn't looking for perfect edges or entirely symetrical shapes, the whole point was that the end result would look hand drawn. Once I had the basics down, I overlaid them with a fine liner pen and scanned them into my photo editing software. From here I could covert them into vector graphics, but with nice hand drawn edges and natural shapes.
Rather than dive straight into the world of fabric by the metre, I decided to have my fabrics made up into cushions, which I could then sell as finished products at events this year. This way I would be able to gauge my customer's reaction to the designs, colours and fabric type, before having rolls and rolls of fabric printed.
I launched the new range at Living North LIVE in York and was overwhelmed by the lovely comments - and even better, sales of my designs! It is such a wonderful feeling when people like something that you have created enough to purchase it for their own home. That must sound silly as its obviously why I am in business, but it is still humbling, and the phrase you have seen online about independent businesses doing a little happy dance everytime you make a purchase is 100% true!
So fabric by the metre is definitely something I am interested in doing next - what do you think? Please do comment below if its something you might like to see.