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. Becky says:

    Wow! It is all so gorgeous! I especially like that it can be mixed and matched with Mezzanine. Those Gerbera double daisies are my fav by a slim margin!

  2. Melissa says:

    I can’t get enough of the luna moth and the hive prints. Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. Great interview! I love reading about people’s design process, especially when it’s for a series that has to work together.

    My favourite design would have to be the Luna Moth, especially in raspberry! Gorgeous!

  4. Viv says:

    Wow, why haven’t I seen these gorgeous prints before. I really love the Dandelions, but the Hive in raspberry is very cool. Love your work!

  5. Lisa K says:

    It would be SO hard to choose a color way or fabric because I love them ALL, but if I had to, I would of course pick my favorite color “slime” green with the hot pink. And of course anything with dots. I especially love the Double Daisy border print! Thanks for the chance to win.

  6. Katarina Johansson says:

    I’ve seen the collection before and I love the stone combo today just as I did the first time I saw it.:)I especially love the blossoms.Then all double borders are beautiful. Had I been the boss I would have made the stone daisy border grey and black all the way, with the daisy border. That’s because I would like a skirt that way! he he he I love them all!

  7. stitchmama says:

    Beautiful fabrics–I love the dandelion print in all colourways. I can imagine some very lovely skirts for my daughters made out of this fabric. Thanks for offering this draw!

  8. Gayle Allen-Grier says:

    Love, love, love the dandelions and hummingbirds! Any colorway with teal or aqua has my vote. Thanks for this giveaway opportunity.

    Gayle

  9. Gwendolen says:

    dandelions, pink and teal! Love the saturated color and organic lines! Love!

  10. Patty Ojeda says:

    I love the Dandelions! All of them! She did a great job designing this line!

  11. Lindsay says:

    I love the dandelions and the border fabric is cool too!

  12. Holly says:

    LOVE the Daisy Dot in Turquoise and the Dandelions in that chartreuse-y color best, but all of it is so so wonderful. Love Love!
    -Holly

  13. Peter Piche says:

    I am impressed by the nature themes. The bright clear colors of blue and yellow. They are and will be great fabrics to build upon your inspiration. Thank you!

  14. Linda says:

    Oooo, they are all darling, but I think the Dandelions are my absolute favs – in ALL the colorways – followed by the Bees. The Bees background is a perfect fit with the little critters.

    You make the design process sound so easy, but I know it’s not.

    Thanks for bring us such beautiful fabrics, and for the giveaway! 8-)

    Linda

  15. Sally O says:

    I love the Daisy Dot in Turquoise. They are all such beautiful fabrics. Thank you for the opportunity.

  16. Joy says:

    I love her turquoise hummingbirds and dandelions! Thanks for the giveaway…

  17. anne says:

    wow I love them all. Tooo hard to pick a colour, but I do like green and yellow. All of them are beautiful. thank you for sharing.

  18. laurie says:

    OMGosh – thank you so much for sharing this fabric line with us! It’s unbelievable! I love nature – flowers and birds, gardening, etc. This is so nice – I know I’m gushing but it IS really, really pretty! I took a look at the colorways and I think the Young Rasberry is my favorite with the Mustard Yellow a close second. I can definitely see a quilt in the future with this fabric – my daughter would love it too and she is next on my list for quilts! Yummmmmmmm!! :)
    Laurie

  19. Anita says:

    Definitely the dandelions. So delicate…

  20. Kristen says:

    The bees … oh, the Hive prints make me so happy!!!!

  21. Amy says:

    I love the dandelion prints and the mustard colorway, although I love them all!

  22. Jenn Davis says:

    So hard to choose! While I love the teal hummingbirds and stone bees, I think mustard might be fun to try!

    Jenn

  23. Carol says:

    Oh, what fabulous fabrics! I love all the fabs and colorways, but I so love the dots and daisies in the aqua/turquoise colorway. So very pretty.
    Thanks for a great giveaway.

  24. Pattie Crum says:

    I love any print with dandelions and yours are so soft and flowing,beautiful. The aqua is my favorite.

  25. My favorite is the dandelions, in every color. I also love the daisy dot double border in turquoise. These fabrics are gorgeous! Thanks for the fun interview as well!

  26. Eileen says:

    I love to hear about your creative process. I love ‘em all but if I had to pick only one, it would be the mustard colorway.

  27. carol broughton says:

    I absolutely love this collection! Can’t narrow down one favorite, but the dandelions and daisies are lovely. I would love to win the bundle. Thank you for such a generous give-away.

  28. Jennifer says:

    I have to say that I looooooove the organic flow of the Dandelions print. The whole collection is gorgeous, congratulations!

  29. cynthia says:

    the Dandelions are fabulous!!! Love all the sneak peaks Thanks Cynthia

  30. Holly says:

    Love the dandelions!

  31. Andrea V. says:

    Wow. So great! Love the Mustard colorway, and the dandelions are so playful in every color. The Limes are great as well, and the florals – it’s a fabulous collection, and I will look forward to working with it, whether I win some, or buy some, or both! Thanks for the giveaway.

  32. I LOVE the new line. Especially the hive prints. I actually have the yellow one, already, and made this cute zipper pouch: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=39428942

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  33. craftytammie says:

    well, my favorite was hive, then it changed to dandelions, then it changed to daisy dots – i love them all! thanks for the chance to win some!

  34. Annie says:

    Stone and mustard prints are my favorites, but do love them all!

  35. Jaclyn says:

    I love, love, love the stone colorway!
    I love all of Patty’s designs!!

  36. Heidi says:

    Ugh…picking a favorite is hard! I guess stone, but followed *very* closely by the raspberry. Love the hummingbirds, love the dandelions! Can’t wait to get my hands on them!

  37. Jackie H says:

    The Dandelions look so fun and free-spirited – I love it! :)

  38. Vicki says:

    The double border daisies are really cool!

  39. lesley says:

    that stone colorway is beautiful — i’m still enchanted by greys and mustards together

  40. mo says:

    Oh, this is a toughie. I love them all. Especially the hummingbirds. And the perfect dots. And the daisies… But if I could only choose one I would probably choose Hive in mustard. A beautiful, mouthwatering collection!

  41. Angie says:

    Love the raspberry… but the mustard hive is irresistible! Love it all, really!!

  42. Mary Beth says:

    I love the dandelions!

  43. SheilaC says:

    I love them all, but if I have to pick those dandelions are beautiful in all the color ways!

    Looks wonderful!! Thank you for the give away

    SheilaC

  44. simone mayze says:

    Hard to pick. I shall say the mustard.

    Thanks, Simone

  45. Susan Jane says:

    I felt like I was sitting across from Patty with a cup of tea and hearing her describe her process for creating her line of fabrics. Wonderful! I wonder what it’s like to see your ideas and creations combined with the creativity of the people who buy the fabric and make wonderful things!

  46. Katrin says:

    I love the turquoise palette and the stone palette, especially the cute bees!

  47. I love the raspberry colorway with all the pinks and greens!

  48. Janice M. says:

    It’s impossible to choose a favorite since they are all gorgeous. But if I had to I would say the mustard colorway is my favorite. I LOVE the dandelions in every color!

  49. Debra G. says:

    Wonderful article! Thanks so much for sharing.

    My favorite is the raspberry colorway – and the humming bird fabric is absolutely beautiful!

  50. Line says:

    I love this whole line & can’t imagine how someone can design such wonders… I’d love to receive some pink/green fabrics, so I hope I win!
    Thanks for the giveaway!