Guest Post/Giveaway: Patty Young on Flora & Fauna

This winter was a flurry of activity for fabric designers; it saw the releases of dozens of new collections, including Patty Young‘s Flora & Fauna for Michael Miller Fabrics. We invited Patty to stop by the True Up, um, “virtual offices” (have a seat on the virtual couch! There’s room for virtually everybody!) to share a little bit about her latest fabric line. Stay tuned for a special Flora & Fauna giveaway at the close of the post!

Well, thanks a bunch to the True Up girls for inviting me back into their cozy little corner of the world to talk about none other than my favorite topic … fabric! I think I’ll just make myself comfortable on this Eames chair in the corner and, OH WOW, you gals got me an Iced Grande Peppermint Mocha? You really shouldn’t have, but thanks!!! How did you know that was my favorite?

So, last time I came over we chatted about Mezzanine and I mentioned how my next collection (Flora & Fauna) was so different from the last two and a bit out of my comfort zone. It’s funny for me to think about it in those terms now that it’s out and about because, believe it or not, I’m quite comfortable with it now, haha.

I fall more in love with Flora & Fauna every time I look at it and I always wonder why I have such a strong bond with it, even more than with my prior two collections. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore Andalucia and Mezzanine. The whole experience has been a dream come true, really. But when I look at my F&F bolts all lined up on my shelves and arranged in order by colorway, I get filled with an intense joy that I cannot begin to describe. I think it may be because of the variety of colors within this collection. I never had that before… and also because it pretty much got printed exactly like I turned it in. Anyone who designs fabric will tell you that it is really a crazy process in which you don’t really know what will come back from the mill until you actually have those strike-offs in hand. There are always some color-variances and entire colorways or designs may be dropped for one reason or the other.

With Flora & Fauna, I was utterly surprised that exactly what I originally pitched is what came back from the mill. We didn’t have to adjust any colors or fix any elements of the collection. Nothing got dropped or re-colored or re-pitched. Plus, I purposely pitched some lime greens and pinks that were an exact match to the greens and pinks in Mezzanine so sewists out there could mix & match the two collections and by golly… they ARE a perfect match!! (I was a tad worried about that one! haha)

Birdie Damask — Andalucia

So, you wanted to hear about the inspiration and process that led up to Flora & Fauna? Well, like I’ve said so many times before, I really just wanted to do something different. My first two collections, Andalucia and Mezzanine, were architecturally and travel-inspired. They both have a very structured, graphic & linear quality to the designs. So I wanted to step away from this look and try something else. I also wanted to draw animals, since the closest I ever came to it before was the lovebirds in Birdie Damask.

Luna Moth in Mustard

The first design I drew up was the Luna Moths. I thoroughly researched this beautiful creature online and downloaded tons of photos of it. I decided I wanted to stylize the shape and make it sort of Art Deco-ish (blame a recent trip to South Beach, Miami). I got to drawing on Adobe Illustrator with my Wacom tablet. I drew the left side of the moth, tweaked it a little, then grouped it and mirrored it. I couldn’t believe what I saw! It was just like I envisioned it in my mind. Next it was just a matter of adding color and a background texture and VOILA!

Hive in Raspberry

The next creature I drew was the bees. Boy, did I have fun with this one! They were just a pleasure to play with.+ Once I drew the honeycomb shapes for the bee hive it was a matter of sprinkling and grouping them here and there to form a visually pleasing arrangement.

I stepped back from my designs at that point and I realized that even though I had two animals, I still had a very “structured” feel to the collection. Both of those designs had geometric backgrounds… the moths had skinny stripes and the bees had hexagons. Ahhhh… I needed to force myself to break away from that mindframe and draw something totally organic and free-flowing!

That’s when the Dandelions came into existence. I forced myself not to use any guides or lines and just drew some freestyle shapes with my Wacom stylus. The whole process was so freeing. It was like being a kid again… no boundaries or rules! I just kept drawing and drawing, then I would throw in some dots here and there. I must’ve drawn hundreds of Dandies! I chose the ones I liked best, pitched the rest, and a design was born.

Hummingbirds came next. More free-flowing, organic drawing from my part… and so much fun!

The Blossoms were plucked right out of the Hummingbird print to have a life of their own. And they do! Seriously one of my favorites of the collection.

I printed everything out and taped it to my studio wall. My hubby, Jon, walked in, took one look at it and said… “you need another floral.” It’s funny how you can be so immersed in something and so close to it that you cannot see something as obvious as that. I frantically started pacing around the house, looking, grasping for anything, any source of inspiration. All of a sudden I spotted these huge fake Gerbera daisies I had bought at IKEA recently and that was IT! Back to the drawing board.

Daisy Dot in turquoise

When I started drawing the Daisy Dot design, I was seriously squealing like a little kid. I couldn’t believe this wasn’t already part of the collection. It was like it came out of me with a fury because I had almost left it out. The Daisies had to be! They are so happy and colorful they make me smile every time.

I can’t take credit for the Double Border Daisy. That was Kathy Miller’s idea as soon as she saw the Daisy Dots, and I am so glad she suggested it because they are so super cool! I have made quilts, pillows, dresses and even a skirt for myself with it. And now, I love looking online to see what other people are making with it. I adore that print.

So, how about that little peek into my crazy world? Hope you enjoyed it and thanks so much again for having me. I always enjoy visiting with the True Up gals. :)

– patty

Thanks for the peek, Patty! And now, as promised: Leave a comment naming your favorite colorway or your favorite designs from Flora & Fauna and Patty will send one winner a 1/2 yd. bundle with five different prints. Comments will close and a winner will be chosen randomly next Friday, February 5, at 2pm Central U.S. time.

409 Comments

  1. Esperanza says:

    WOW, I am the first?! The fabrics are gorgeous!
    I especially love the Daisy Dot in Turqouise, because it has everything I love, Turquoise color and dots!
    Thank you for the opportunity.

  2. Christine says:

    Those really are beautiful. You must have had such fun creating them! I love the bees and blossoms in stone and the luna moths in mustard, but the whole collection is fantastic. .

  3. Christy K. says:

    Great colours! My favourite is the bees on the hive by far. I love bees!

  4. kathy says:

    oh, i almost bought a fat quarter pack of this the other day, but at the last minute put it back (it was right before my birthday;)) i love the raspberry colorway and the dandelions and hummingbirds are my favorites! thanks for the chance to win :)
    singinsweet2002(at)yahoo(dot)com

  5. Laurel says:

    I LOVE the bees. I’ve been drooling over the black/grey/yellow bees print. I also love the hummingbirds. Thank you so much for doing a giveaway!

  6. the stone and mustard colorways are my fave… but really I like them all!

  7. Alisa says:

    I love the Dandelions in all the colourways.

  8. Modern June says:

    I just ordered 30 yards of this line, I am so thrilled!!!

  9. Naomi says:

    I love the stone, turquoise, and lime colorways!

  10. floribunda says:

    I think the Hive in raspberry is my favorite, but I also love the dandelions!

  11. grace says:

    mustard!!! mustard luna moth and mustard blossoms. love the yellow. Beautiful fabric.

  12. Melissa says:

    I love the Hive in all the colors. Beautiful.

  13. Erin says:

    I love the raspberry colorway. Rockin’.

  14. Bridget says:

    I really love the dandelions. They are so whimsical!

  15. I LOVE the double border daisy…I love a border print, but it’s even better with the reverse coloring of the dots…LOVE IT!

  16. Kirsten says:

    I love the dandelions. the turquoise colorway is my fave by far. Also, the HIVE is fabulous. What a great print. I love this line.

  17. ~Michelle~ says:

    I love the colors of F&F, and especially love the bees – they are cutesy, but not childish. :)

  18. Katie B says:

    Such a great line! I love those bees.

  19. Debra says:

    I love her line. All of it. My favorite colorway is the Turquoise.

  20. DianeY says:

    I would give a different answer to my favorite colorway every day! I love them all so much. Today, my answer will be the raspberry/lime! (Last week it was stone & that’s what I purchased!)

  21. Allison S. says:

    Oh, please, please…pick me! I’ve been drooling over these fabrics since before they came out. I especially love the turquoise luna moths and (all) the bees. Thanks for the opportunty!!

  22. Kelli says:

    i love the raspberry and lime combo… hummingbirds are awesome!!

  23. Signe says:

    I love the dandelion fabric. It makes me think of summer right in the middle of this snow storm we’re having here in Copenhagen (Denmark)

  24. beth lehman says:

    I really love those dandelions – whimsical idea, but they look so sophisticated. Those raspberry colors are calling to me…

  25. Shannon says:

    I love the bees on the pink background and the VIBRANT colors of the entire collection. I’m a gerbera daisy fan, so the daisies are my favorite print. I LOVE the apron looking pattern in the top of the post.

  26. liz says:

    The flower prints are lovely but the dandelions in all their colour ways are my favourite… now if only I had girls!

  27. Eleanor says:

    Ooh, I love designer guest posts! It’s so fun to hear what the designers were thinking when they create new lines. As for “Flora and Fauna” I love every bit of it, but if I had to pick a favorite, I think I’d go with the mustard colorway. It’s so bold!

  28. abby o says:

    Oh my. I’m going to have to go with the dots with the double daisy border. When I saw those polka dots I was in love, but when I saw the border…!! WOW! LOVE that. I think my favorite colorway is the yellows and blacks, but they just all look so good stacked up together!

  29. mommymae says:

    it’s so hard to pick my favorite, but i love the bright pinks in the raspberry combo. love those bees!

  30. Kim S. says:

    It was hard to choose! I love the blues and the hummingbirds and dandelions.

  31. Ramona says:

    I am madly in love with the mustard colorway, I LOOOOOVE the dandilion print

  32. yahaira says:

    I’m in love with those bees so bad that I even have the gelskin for my iphone that matches it!

  33. Cherie says:

    I love the stone colorways. The dandelions and bees are so creative!

  34. Rhonda says:

    Love Raspberry and Lime! Or any of the dots!

  35. Lisabee says:

    I love the bees! The luna moths are also pretty awesome.

    My favorite colorway is the stone palette, but I also am admiring the turquoise.

  36. Jan says:

    I love the dandelions and the stone colorway really does it for me.

  37. carmel says:

    mustard hive is my favorite!
    thanks!

  38. Valerie says:

    I’m blown away by the dandelions! How fresh and clever! And I’m really smitten with HIVE … so I’d like to combine the two and make something for my breakfast table. Napkins? Runner? Hmmmmm …

  39. The dandelions. In every color. Although if I had to pick only one, limey green.

  40. Christina says:

    I love the dandelions!

  41. wendy says:

    Dandelions all day long!!! I have some in stone and a bit in turquoise but I long for the burgundy/pink and the pink/orange.

  42. jane says:

    It’s so hard to choose! I love the luna moths, dandelions and hummingbirds. If you make me choose I’d have to go with hummingbirds in mustard.

  43. Meg says:

    The raspberry is DEFINITELY my favorite colorway; I just love the dandelion prints (especially in Stone) so much!

  44. Megan L says:

    I think the Stone Combo is probably my favorite.

  45. Liz says:

    Thanks for doing the write-up! The more I see this collection, the more I love it. I simply MUST get those dandelions. I think the raspberry is my favorite, but overall I love all of those bright, jewel colors.

  46. Sequana says:

    Oh, no trouble…….Dandies, Dandies, Dandies!

  47. Julia says:

    I love each and every colorway in the dandilion pritnt, but honestly the whole line is gorgeous. Love it!

  48. sarah says:

    Gollleeeee….I just love those dandelions!

  49. Deb says:

    I love the raspberry hive and the dots in turquoise.

  50. Fascinating read on how this collection was created. I LOVE the dandelions as it reminds me of my girls blowing them all over the place. The bees are very cool. Our homeschool is called Beehive Academy so I’m drawn to all things with bees. I really love the turquoise colorway. It’s just plain HAPPY!