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. Lee says:

    Love all the collections but would love to get hold of the grey/raspberry colorway of the Flora and Fauna range !

  2. Shannon says:

    Great post. I love reading the story behind a collection of fabric. And this is a really lovely collection. My favorite print is Hive in Mustard, closely followed by Luna Moth in Turquoise.

  3. Doina says:

    Beautiful fabrics! I love the Dandelions in all the colourways!

  4. Barb says:

    What a beautiful fabric! It is a toss up between the “hive” print and the “dandelions.”

  5. Stine says:

    That was a great interview! SO informative…I loved hearing about the design process and how Patty planned it to coordinate with Mezzanine. The Turquoise colorway is definitely my favorite.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Wow. Lovely. I am going to have to have some luna moth in mustard.

  7. HotFudge says:

    What a wonderful interview. It is almost impossible to choose one particular favourite, but if pressed I would have to go with Birdie Damask — Andalucia. It’s absolutely stunning.

  8. Kira says:

    I LOVE the bees!!! I really like everything though. Raspberry is definitely my favorite colorway.. shortly followed by lime. So fun to hear about the design process.

  9. J says:

    Dandelions in any colourway :) Gorgeous fabric. Great post- thanks :)

  10. Nikki says:

    An absolutely spectacular collection! If I had to choose just one favorite then it would have to be the mustard colour way with the luna moth! I want a covered headboard made with this fabric :)

  11. Simone says:

    I realy adore the pattern and fabrics from Patty, sadly I hardly get them

    I really like the shades of grey in every design ;)

    Simone

  12. It’s a hard choice, the colors are all so wonderful, but I love the daisy dots border fabric, especially the lime and pink colorway. I love these bright fabrics, very festive, great for spring and summer!!

  13. Cara says:

    Dandelions. No, bees. No, double border daisy. Oh good grief, I love it all!

  14. Eliane T. says:

    What a lovely collection! My favorite design is the Humming Birds in turquoise.
    Thanks a lot for the chance.

  15. Anne Thompson says:

    ooh – this collection is as gorgeous as the others!! I love the green and pink, to go with the mezzanine fabric I already have.

  16. Tom says:

    I just love all of it. The aquas and red, the lime greens, the stone colorway! Too hard to chose just one!

  17. Mystica says:

    The aquas, the lime greens are my personal favourites though everything is really, really gorgeous. The hive design is fabulous.

  18. Tara Douglas says:

    Love the turquoise colorway!

  19. Valerie says:

    What FAB fabrics! I can’t pick a FAV! :)

  20. Jenny says:

    I love the stone colorway…and that hive in raspberry just cannot be beat! Thanks for a chance.

  21. Kimberly says:

    Do I have to pick just one? :) It is a tie between the turquoise and raspberry! Not sure I can decide!

  22. Brina Rohloff says:

    oh i can think of so many cool things to do with those double daisy borders! im thinking pillow cases, skirts, quilt backing…thanks for a chance at some of this fantastic fabric line!

  23. Georgia says:

    I was *just* looking at this collection and thinking that I loved the mustard colorway the best. It’s such a fun collection!

  24. ChrisDavis says:

    Stone would be my favorite, but I love this fabric line. I want the hive and the dandelions in all the colorways!

  25. Cathy says:

    I love the mustard colorway.

  26. Gene Black says:

    I have to say that the Turquoise colorway is my favorite and my two favorites of what I have seen are the Daisy Dots and the Luna Moths. Both of them excite my creativity.

    pick me!!!!

  27. Barb says:

    I would decorate my entire house with the raspberry and lime collection if I thought I could get away with it. Maybe my house full of men wouldn’t object if I threw in some turquoise.

    I can imagine myself purchasing the hummingbirds in every color way.

  28. Angela says:

    Wow, those are striking. I love the mustard colorway – it’s unusual it makes other brights really pop.

  29. pieceLove says:

    I like the Mustard Blossoms best.

  30. This was such a wonder look into Patty Young’s designing world. Thank you so much True Up for bringing it to us.
    My favorite is the Hive in Raspberry. I think my soon to be new granddaughter will have a little dress out of that print!

  31. paula says:

    What a wonderful interview – I loved reading about Patty Young’s inspiration and how she arrives at her designs….I love this new line. My favorite colorway is Stone – although I adore the Mustard as well. Thanks for a chance to win!

  32. Olelé says:

    Double Border Daisy and Hummingbirds! They’re gorgeous!
    Thanks for this great giveaway! :)

  33. Sherry says:

    I love the hummingbirds because they are wonderfully graphic and the dandelions because they would pair with almost anything. And honestly, they colourways are fabulous – I can’t choose a favorite, perhaps Stone or Mustard only because my stash is seriously short of both of these :)

  34. Rhian says:

    The bees, hummingbirds and dandelions are great. Turquoise is definately my colour, I don’t usually like mustard, but the moths on mustard are my favourite in that design. So decisive;-)!

  35. John says:

    Awesome! I just blogged last night about how much I love this line, and now I come across your giveaway. It’s fate! I really love the “stone” colorway — very original, and not too feminine. Great for “manquilters” like myself! I also love the dandelions. I sure do hope I win your giveaway! Thanks for hosting.

  36. Anne Marie says:

    I love the Dandelions in the raspberry and mustard colorways. I love the bees and the hummingbirds in all the colorways also. What can I say, I love them all!

  37. Erin says:

    I really really love the Hummingbirds in any colorway, but turquoise and white are favorites. My favorite colorways are the turquoise and lime/moss, but I haven’t found a TaDot that I don’t like.

  38. alli b says:

    i love the pink fabric with pineapples…there should be more pineapple fabrics in existence!!

  39. Mary says:

    Hive in raspberry is great! I also saw it in green, which really grabbed my attention!

  40. Sasha says:

    I love hive in lime. The raspberry colorway is my favorite, but I also love the contrast of stone.

  41. Margaret says:

    Turquoise! But it’s hard to choose.

  42. Ellen says:

    I love the dandelions and the daisies on dots. All the colors are fantastic!

  43. Allie says:

    I love the dandelion prints…but at the same time they ALL soo beautiful. Thanks for the opportunity to when some fabric!

  44. Cassandra says:

    I’m a HUGE insect fan and I LOVE this set!!!! I would be honored to win. Thanks for the chance to!!

  45. A beautiful line. My faves are the hummingbirds in white and the hive in stone. Thanks.

  46. Michela says:

    oh! The hive pattern is the most!!

  47. Lori Porten says:

    I love the fabric used in the kitchen items made by sew4home. I would love to make some of those items. I think they used mostly the stone color way with maybe some raspberry and lime thrown in! LOVE IT!!

  48. Carolyn says:

    The black daisy dots is so cute. I love the way the Doll Kimono looks and would love to make the Kimono pattern for my daughter (girl sized), in that. Too cute! Thanks for the chance to win!

  49. VickiB says:

    I am in love with the Raspberry colorway. It just looks delicious! Thanks for the opportunity to win some of this gorgeous fabric.

  50. Laurie says:

    Hi-
    I ADORE this line! My favorite is probably the honeycomb with the bees- adorable!