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. holly says:

    Wow! I think that my favorites are the dandelions and also the birdie damask. funny, i love the birdies in the pictured colorway, and i love the more springy shades of the dandelion, especially the light greens.

  2. Love the Luna Moths – I am especialy attracted to Art Deco designs (having been to South Beach several years ago). The black/mustard is very striking. I am a quilt designer and would love to use some of this look in a new design (I am published in many of the magazines).

    Great work!

  3. Rxm0m says:

    I fell in love with this collection the first time I saw it. It is hard to chose a favorite colorway because they are all so yummy! I think I like the stone colorway best because it can be both fun and sophisticated at the same time.

  4. katie says:

    There are all so beautiful it is hard to pick, but the double border daisy in turquoise it my favorite.

  5. Emily says:

    I love the mustard luna moths and all of the humming birds. The collection is just beautiful!

  6. Natasha Heimberg says:

    I just love the green and the stone colorways.
    Cant wait to get to use them.

    ~Natasha

  7. hilary says:

    for me it’s a three-way tie – lime, turquoise and stone. I love the bright appeal of turquoise and lime, but the stark contrast of stone & other colors on it is lovely as well. Thanks for the great interview & giveaway!

  8. Jennifer says:

    How fun reading about your process. The joy you felt in creating the line really comes through.
    I love the Luna Moths in Mustard and Turquoise, and the Dandelions in Mustard…too difficult to pick just one!

  9. Natasha says:

    I love the turquoise colourway but also the raspberry insects. Such a great line!

  10. Liv says:

    Ooh…such gorgeous prints and colors! I really love the Luna Moths, they remind me of my Nana’s quilts!

  11. Laurie says:

    They are all beautiful but I love the stone colorway the best. I have been wanting to buy them but no extra money right now so I am keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for a great giveaway.

  12. Jen says:

    It’s a hard choice but I have to say that I like the turquoise colourway best. The raspberry/lime is a very close second, though!

  13. Sandra Davidson says:

    I love all of the colours but the stone colorway caught my eye because we are having a quilt challange at our quild and I got a bag with paint colors in black and gray and so I have to do a project with these colors in it so stone will be perfect. I haven’t come up with project yet any suggestions would be welcomed. Thanks for the beautiful fabrics

  14. Megan says:

    I love love love the hives!

  15. Melissa P says:

    Fantastic colors and delightful designs! I love the turquoise colorway. And that border print! Wow!

  16. Malin Odenslätt says:

    It’s a tough call between the turquoise and raspberry colorway, but the pinks and limes would look great in my livingroom. :)

  17. Angelina says:

    I LOVE the Dandies, Ta-Dot, & Hive so much!!! I am thinking I’m going to have to try to get those patterns in all the colorways. Hopefully I’ll win some to start my collection! ;-)

  18. Aniza says:

    Dandelions definitely! Just love them

  19. Charity says:

    Here is a beautiful skirt I made using the flora and fauna fabrics. SOOO sweet. I call it “the Bees Knee”

    http://www.twirliciousco.bigcartel.com/product/easter-spring-2010-the-bees-knees-twirl-skirt-sizes-6m-to-12y

  20. Tong says:

    Love the Stone colour way!! But they are all very very dreamy!!

  21. HopeTN says:

    What a great insight into the design process. It’s a toss-up for me between turquoise and stone, but I think stone is my favourite colourway. All of them are gorgeous.

  22. mab says:

    I had already seen the dandelion prints elsewhere and really liked them. I hadn’t seen the double border before — it’s fabulous! I’m itching to get my hands on these prints!

    Thanks for the chance to enter!

  23. Grace says:

    OOh all so lovely..I especially love the humming birds and dandelion in raspberry!

  24. Susana says:

    I love them all, and how well they mix up. I would buy yards of each, if I had my druthers. But Turquoise is my favorite (also, the one that would play nice with my stash). I am very taken with the hummingbirds as a feature print, and love, love the dots and the blossoms, and their scale for quilting. Thanks for another great giveaway!

  25. amber says:

    I have been in love with the f&f collection since patty first put up sneak peeks on her blog! I thought I couldn’t choose a favorite colorway, but then I ended up buying a combination of raspberry and stone and am even more in love. My daughter (4) loves that raspberry luna moth print best, but I think I’m love the hummingbird in lime best. :)

  26. Spruill Harder says:

    I love, love, love Hummingbirds in lime!

  27. Jackie says:

    dandelion in raspberry, yum yum

  28. Sherri says:

    I love all of the Flora and Fauna…especially the hummingbirds…we had a dear friend who loved them and so they’ll always remind me of her! I love all the colorways too…but raspberry is my fav!

  29. I love the dandelions best!

  30. Katherine says:

    I love Hive in Raspberry! Beautiful.

  31. yolanda says:

    I adore the dandelions! My favorite colorways are the mustard and turquoise together-delicious!

  32. Liliana M says:

    I LOVE the blues! I don’t why I’m drawn to this color but I just love it!!!

  33. Jennifer says:

    I have some of all of Patty’s fabrics, so far….except for Flora & Fauna. I’m hoping to buy some this month, though. I’m just completely in love with it! Crazy about the juxtaposition of the dark greys with the mustardy golds and bright greens and pinks. It’s simply stunning. I’d have to say the luna moth in mustard is my most favorite print from this collection. Those moths are just beautiful!

  34. Shelly Angell says:

    I think that Patty Young is brilliant and oh so inspiring. All of the collections are awesome, I do love the dandelions, the colorways are gorgeous….I would love it all! =)

  35. Mauri says:

    It’s so hard to pick a favorite! I love the turquoise colorway, especially the dandelions. But I also love the stone dot and daisy fabric. I would love to make some dresses or skirts for my girls with some of the daisy border fabrics. They are all so beautiful!

  36. Angie H. says:

    I too have some of your fabrics and just love how they do ccordinate. I get so many comliments when I make bags from them…just lovely!

  37. Flavia M.-W. says:

    Hi!
    I love the Dandelion! Not joking, I have a huge Dandelion as a wall tatoo in my badroom! I will have to get some of the fabric soon!

  38. My favorite is the Daisy Dot in Turquoise. So fun!

  39. Jen says:

    Hmm… I really like the mustard or turquoise colorway … which to choose – probably mustard, but they are all nice.

  40. Debbie Samuelson says:

    Okay – so I don’t do girl things, all boys in our family, and I’m not a girlie girl type of girl, I work in a mechanics garage, so when I saw the stone combos of these prints, I was like wow, hey pink isn’t too bad a color!!! I LOVE the Stone Daisy Dot and the Black and Stone blossoms. For someone who doesn’t really show any flowers or girly things around her house (usually blues and green), I really NEED to make myself a rag quilt of of those fabrics!! Love them!

  41. Bren says:

    I LOVE the dandelions!! They are so whimsical and fun!!

  42. Gwyneth says:

    I love, Love, LOVE hummingbirds in mustard!

  43. mjb says:

    Ooh that luna moth and hive are great, but so are the dandelions!

  44. Amanda Harris says:

    I am a fan of the dandelions and YOU Patty! You rock!

  45. Tabitha says:

    I’m in love with the aqua colorway – especially the hummingbirds. I also really like the double daisy border and can’t wait to make something with them!

  46. Mickey says:

    My fav. is the Daisy Double Border in stone! I love all the possibilities this one offers! The colors in the new line are fantastic.!

  47. Heather says:

    I love the lime green dots and the pink daisies! Adorable! Plus even better they are made by such a sweet gal! ;)

  48. SillyMama says:

    I love the whole line – saw it at my local quilt store. My fav would be the turquoise.

  49. Ginger says:

    My favorite is the Luna Moth, but I LOVE the whole collection. Thanks!

  50. Jaymi D says:

    I think I love the dandelions today! but I love them all and another will be my favorite tomorrow! Thanks so much for the opportunity I am so excited!