Guest Post/Giveaway: Josephine Kimberling on Glam Garden

Thanks so much to Kim for inviting me back to True Up, to guest blog about my new fabric collection, Glam Garden! Last time I was here Kim interviewed me about my debut fabric collection Hot Blossom, and today I’m going to share with you the inspiration and creative process behind Glam Garden.

For Glam Garden, I started out with a desire to create a very pretty collection full of different types of floral prints. During my day job, I had been busy creating loads of geometrics and textural prints in dark colors. Inside I was itching to create something feminine and pretty! So when I set out to start working on Glam Garden, everything girly just flew out of me! It was quite fun and freeing to experience.

When I start creating prints for a fabric collection, I’ll start creating the ones that I have a strong vision for. Next I’ll work on the supporting prints. These prints are fun and interesting to create because a funny thing happens when I start drawing -– my original ideas start to morph into something different than I had originally planned. This happens because when I put them all next to each other, they may not cohesively pull the collection together, as originally intended.

The first print I designed was the two colored floral. I started out hand drawing it in pencil so I could erase and rework it as I went. Then I scanned my drawing in and drew over it in Illustrator so I could work on the repeat.

Next I designed the all-over multicolored floral. This one came from me doodling away in my sketchbook one day, fitting different shaped and sizes of flowers together.

With the garden floral, I set out to create a three-color print that was hand-drawn and free-flowing. I drew these flowers by hand using a black pen, while referring to my flower photos. Funny, but sometimes I get impatient and don’t want to draw in pencil, and then over my pencil drawing with pen -– so I just go straight for the pen and start drawing away! Somehow the fear of drawing in pen forces me to focus and not mess up. I drew the flowers individually, then scanned them in and worked on the repeat in Photoshop. When I got the repeat completed, the print was really boring with my original concept of a solid ground color, with outlined flowers filled in with white. The transparent look of color came from me playing around with different layer techniques in Photoshop until I found just the right look.

The next print I worked on was the mod transparent geometric floral. I actually designed this one a couple of years ago, but it was laid out much differently. I had always loved it and wanted to rework it to fit it into this collection to add a vintage feel.

For the multicolored wallpaper print, I wanted to create a statement print that was really different and pushed me creatively. I had sketched a couple of ideas out, and for this one I just forced myself to loosen up and play with the new “blob brush” in Illustrator CS4. I haven’t created anything like this before, so it was like a fun puzzle to work on! Because of the process, this print is my favorite out of this collection!

I added in the diamond burst print to add a sense of vintage nostalgia to the collection. Simple prints are the most difficult for me to create actually, because I don’t find them very fun or challenging. I end up spending more time on them then I should because I work on trying to find a way to make them unique and stand on their own.

For the dotted gems print, I was inspired by the jewelry that was out last spring, which used different sized colored gems together to create shapes. I created my own interpretation into a geometric pattern.

The striped medallion floral started as a sketchbook drawing that got reworked once I started drawing it out in Illustrator. I get a lot of response out of this striped medallion-like floral, which has been fun to see! I’ve had the most fun actually using this one to sew with because the medallion stripes are just the right width to use for borders.

So, that wraps up the creation process of each of my Glam Garden fabrics! I thought I would also share with you a little bit about my inspiration behind the photo shoot too!

Once the colorways are chosen, strike-offs are submitted and approved, and sample yardage is developed –- it then arrives on my doorstep to begin creating away! I then pull together sewing patterns that fit my theme, take the technical drawings of those garments into Photoshop, and plop my fabrics into them, until I find a connection between the garment and the fabric.

It’s always flattering to me when people ask where the patterns come from, and when they are surprised that they come from a fabric store! I feel it truly does make a difference when you are intentional about making a garment cohesive by using just the right print.

I then spent about a month sewing every spare minute I could. To be honest, I haven’t really ever sewed according to a pattern until I started creating fabric collections. But since I work in fashion, I was bound and determined to sew garments to be able to tell the whole visual story of my collections.

With the bright colors and girly prints of my Glam Garden fabric collection, I really wanted to create a pretty garden party themed photo shoot! And with the transparency effects in some of the prints, I thought using tissue paper and items that diffused light would be a really pretty concept to tie it all together. To glam-up the collection, I went on a hunt for pretty looking candy – and what kind of party would this be if we didn’t have cupcakes with gorgeous frosting colors??

It took a small village to pull off the photo shoot – from my friend Cheryl helping me sew, to my friend Karin who collaboratively designed the Luscious Bow Tote free pattern download, to Tina Michalik sending me the “Big Zag” quilt she designed for this collection for Robert Kaufman (get the free pattern here), to Danielle Howarth from Dani Bags Boutique offering to sew her Sophia bag in my Glam Garden fabrics, to my husband & family helping with props and friends helping with modeling. It was all of their help that allowed the photo shoot to be successful!

As you can see, it took a lot of time, thought and people to put into each fabric collection from start to finish, which when it’s all complete, is very fulfilling, and I feel like I have been able to say visually all I could about that collection. And what’s even better is handing over the fabric relay baton (so to speak) to the rest of the creative community and seeing what they create!

That wraps up my Glam Garden inspiration and creative process! I hope you enjoy the photos and feel inspired to create your own fabulous creations. It’s always a pleasure to share with all of you. Thanks for having me!

All professional photos by natalie g.| photography.


Robert Kaufman Fabrics is sponsoring this guest blog by generously giving away two fat quarter packs of the Glam Garden fabric collection –- one fat quarter pack for each colorway, Spring & Summer!

To enter, please name your favorite print and colorway from the Glam Garden collection in the comments. You can see all the prints with their colorway info on the Robert Kaufman website. Winners will be drawn randomly next Wednesday, March 31, 2010, around 3pm Central US time. This giveaway is open to readers worldwide.

Thank you so, so much Josephine! Your hard work to share your vision of beauty is evident and I know you’ll inspire many!

To see more of Josephine’s work and get her perspective on the fashion world, follow her blog and become a fan on Facebook.

Disclosure: Robert Kaufman is a sponsor of this website and is providing the prizes for the giveaway.

Congratulations to our winners Sara (comment #128) and Laura Pearce (comment #9)!

Since Robert Kaufman doesn’t assign official names to their prints, once all the entries were in I did a search & replace to change the codes to Josephine’s names for them. That resulted in some grammatical weirdness — sorry about that!


  1. Siew says:

    I don’t know how people can be so clever. From doodles to amazing fabric. Its fun to see how it progresses. I’m torn between the two colourways. But I guess if I had to pick one, it would be Mum Garden (AJG-9927-192) Spring.

  2. Linda says:

    Love the fabrics, especially Bling Blossom (AJG-9926-192) Spring!
    Thanks for sharing,love,Linda

  3. Julia says:

    I love Primp (AJG-9925-192) Spring just gorgeous!

  4. Elyse says:

    I love the Summer colorway. Oh so pretty!

  5. Desi Wilson says:

    I love Summer from Glam Garden.
    Thanks for such a great giveaway.

  6. Miranda says:

    So interesting to read how a fabric design comes about. All these fabrics are yummy, though I like the Spring colorway the best. My favorite is Mum Garden (AJG-9927-192), the multicolor floral. Thanks for such a neat giveaway.

  7. Deanna says:

    My fav is the diamond grid Diamond Sparkle (AJG-9930-193) in the ‘Summer’ colorway (the one featured in the post).

    It is very hard to find great fabrics of this type!

  8. clarissa says:

    this was so interesting! i am such a “process” person and seeing how you created these patterns is amazing.

    my favorite pattern is Bling Blossom (AJG-9926-192) Spring

    thank you so much!!

  9. Sarah Hayden says:

    My favourite pattern is the three-color print in the spring colourway! The whole collection has a great 70′s vibe while staying modern and fresh at the same time… Thank you True Up and Robert Kaufman for the giveaway.

  10. Holly says:

    Great line of fabric! Congratulations Josephine. My very favourite is Gem Glitz (AJG-9929-192) Spring.

  11. Charlotte M says:

    These will be perfect for my summer projects! I love Garden Party (AJG-9932-193) Summer the best- it makes me feel nostalgic in a way.

  12. Shannon Lowe says:

    The Summer collection just screams my name!!!!
    Thanks for sharing this fun post!

  13. Marcia W. says:

    I love both collections yet this print spring colorway fabric was my favorite. Bling Blossom (AJG-9926-192) Spring
    Please enter me in the Glam giveaway. mlwright29 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  14. Kelly B. says:

    Love them both, but the Summer collection with the orange and teal is the best!

  15. Peggy Somers says:

    Orange is my new black. Love the AJG-9926-123 Summer! This will be a summer to remember!

  16. Jolene says:

    My favorite is the dotted gem print in Summer.

  17. Terina Medina says:

    Honestly, I really loved them all. What a wonderful line..but if I must pick a favorite I’d have to say Diamond Sparkle (AJG-9930-192) Spring. Absolutely lovely. :)

  18. epban says:

    What a beautiful collection! My favorite is Dotted Gems and I love the summer colorway. Can’t wait to see the collection in person. Thanks for the chance to win them.

  19. Patsy says:

    Great guest blog and fabulous fabrics. MY favorite is the Geometric Flowers -AJG-9926 in the Summer colorway. Hope I’m the lucky one this time.

  20. I adore this fabric line in the Spring color way. Those brights just pop out at me, and scream to be used! Modern Lace, Pink & Yellow (AJG-9931-110) Hot Pink is my favorite print, which is funny, because I normally HATE pink with a passion.

  21. Liz Fairley says:

    AJG-9931-10 Pink has to be one of my many favourites. just discovered your sites. Love em love em love em!!! i am too jealous of your job, designing fabrics that just make you want to sew! Thanks for inspirational work

  22. I love Bling Blossom (AJG-9926-193) Summer! It makes me think of changing medium.

  23. Cathy A says:

    I love the bright pink and orange design garden floral. It’s really interesting to read how you created the design, too!

  24. I like “Garden Floral” in the Spring colorway. The whole line is just amazing, however! Fascinating article, I loved seeing the steps you took to design the line!

  25. My favorite print from the Glam Garden collection is Gem Glitz (AJG-9929-193) Summer. What a gorgeous line!

  26. Corrine says:

    My favorite print is the multi-colored wallpaper print. The whole line is fun and beautiful.

  27. Lee Leng says:

    Spring Bling Blossom (AJG-9926-192), but both colourway is delicious !

  28. Heidi says:

    Summer! Favorite print = striped medallion floral Flower Chain (AJG-9928-193).

    Fantastic collection!

  29. Kirsten says:

    I absolutely love the summer colorway. my fave print is the Gem Glitz (AJG-9929-193) Summer. What beautiful stuff!

  30. Merry Needle says:

    I love all the prints, the combinations you can create are amazing. But the most favorite one is multicolored floral Mum Garden (AJG-9927-193) Summer

  31. carmel says:

    i love the summer color way
    and i like this one: Garden Party (AJG-9932-193) Summer

  32. Fern says:

    I love all the fabrics in the summer colourway, I can’t pick my favourite! Such beautiful bright, happy fabrics, wonderful work Josephine!

  33. Rosemary says:

    Wow! What a hard choice. I definitely lean to the Spring palette and there were several I like. If I had to pick one it would be Garden Party (AJG-9932-192) Spring because it seems a bit less structured. Just lovely. Can’t wait to see it IRL.

  34. I love the mod transparent geometric floral but it’s hard to pick a colorway for it – they’re both beautiful. But…I’d want the dotted gems to coordinate and I think I like them a tiny bit better in the spring.

  35. Erin says:

    Hard to choose, but I like the cooler spring colorway. Favorite print would have to be Gem Glitz (AJG-9929-192) Spring. It’s lovely collection!

  36. Mama Spark says:

    I love both lines but if I was pressed to choose I would choose the Spring one. I really love the AJG 9923192 print! Thanks for the chance to enter your giveaway!! Great fabric and LOVE this blog!!

  37. Amy says:

    I love this designer! I hadn’t seen her work before until now. It is really amazing and perfect for the warm weather that is (hopefully) coming soon. While I like them all, I think the dotted gem print is super cute and would make a lovely tunic.

  38. Deb says:

    I thought I would like the spring colorway better, but when I saw the pink/green in the summer, I like that one a lot! It’s Garden Party (AJG-9932-193). Thanks for the giveaway.

  39. Bet says:

    Always been a big fan of Josephine and her beautiful work! I truly love all of the patterns and colors, especially mixed together, but I must say I like the Summer color palette slightly more. My favorite pattern is a tie between Primp (AJG-9925-193) (Summer) and Garden Party (AJG-9932-193) (Summer)…I just can’t decide!!!

  40. erin says:

    Such a hard decision to choose between the spring and the summer! :) I’m going to have to go with Garden Party (AJG-9932-193) Summer, but honestly I love the whole line!

  41. Nancy says:

    I love this one Gem Glitz (AJG-9929-193) Summer
    They are all gorgeous

  42. Kris says:

    LOVE IT!!!! (In my best sing-song voice…)
    My fave is the Spring Collection, but everything is just beautiful. Good work, and thanks for showing us a little of the design process!

  43. Patty says:

    Lovely fabric. My favorite is orange & blue AJG9929193

  44. Jennifer M. says:

    My absolute favorite print? Has to be: Bling Blossom (AJG-9926-193). FAB-U-LOUS!! (in the summer colorway because I am a sucker for the orange and blue)

  45. Erica says:

    I love these prints, so colourful and cheerful! Please let me win… my favorite is the summer collection, all-over multicolored floral!

  46. Madeline S says:

    I absolutely love this collection. My favorite is the all-over floral print shown above in the spring colorway. Thank you for sharing your creative process!

  47. Kathi says:

    What a tough choice!! I am a sucker for pink and green, so I finally settled upon Modern Lace, Green & Pink (AJG-9931-192) Spring.

  48. Heather says:

    I’m loving the striped medallion in summer, although it was really hard to choose, I’d use any of the prints in either color way for so many projects.

  49. Angie H. says:

    I love this new line…I loved her last one. The Spring color story is my favorite. I honestly cannot pick a fabric, they are all so pretty. Oh, the bags I could make with this!!!

  50. Bonnie says:

    Primp (AJG-9925-193) Summer
    This is beautiful fabric! I love the brightness of it. It makes me very excited for summer and very sunny weather!