Sarah Aspinall has been a working artist and Illustrator for many years and was recent asked to design a fabric based on her children’s book, “Penguins Love Colors.” Designing fabric was a new and challenging medium. “The the thought of children around the world being swaddled in my penguin quilts was too exciting to pass up,” she admits. Here she explains the numerous things she learned while designing her first fabric.
Know Who You're Designing For.
The fabric business focuses on three major categories: home, apparel, and quilting. Within these industries, especially home and apparel, are even more specific areas such as bedding, rugs, intimates and knitwear. It's important to research the constraints and design requirements of a certain type of textile collection.
Avoid the Pinterest Wormhole.
We're very lucky to live in an age where we have so much information at our fingertips. However, sometimes the magic of the internet can also work against us.
Always have a stable of resources you can reference in a pinch.
Every designer has their favorites but here are a few of my favorite go-to’s for learning about, making and selling fabric designs.
Pick timeless themes.
It's not always necessary to reinvent the wheel. Classics are classics for a reason. A good geometric pattern or floral print is never out of fashion -- just find your own way of reinterpreting the theme. What can you bring to the table that gives a fresh perspective, a unique spin, a translation of your very own sense of style?
Put. The. Bone. Down.
If something isn’t working, don’t drive yourself crazy and keep gnawing on it like a dog with a bone. Walk away, hide it in a drawer, forget about it for a few days, weeks -- months, even. For ages I was trying to crack a collection based on the theme "Home Grown." I had too many ideas and none of them were cohesive -- they were far too complicated. After wrestling with it for weeks I finally decided to give the designs a rest and focus on some other projects. Later, I was looking through some illustrations I’d made a year earlier and the solution came to me. I would focus on chickens, vegetables and baby chicks! To keep it interesting and fresh, I chose a slightly unusual color palette of dirty lavender, fluffy duck yellow and cucumber green.