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. Lisa P. says:

    My favorite colorway is Raspberry Combo and while all the designs are great, I especially love Hive and the Humming Birds. Great interview!

  2. Jolene says:

    The stone colorway is my favorite, although this whole collection is stunning.

  3. Emmi says:

    I love all of those fabrics but the best one is Double Border Daisy :) I love yellow!

  4. Sarah says:

    I’m lovin’ the Dandelions! Your colors are always bright and peppy! Hope I win!

  5. Renee says:

    That’s tough…but if I have to pick favorites it would be the Raspberry group and a tie for the Hummingbirds and the Bees.

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this collection!

  6. Patty says:

    I love the greens, all if them. But my favorite is the gerber daisy print.

  7. Denise says:

    I love the turquoise colorway!

  8. Chris Lawlor says:

    I love them all… but especially the daisy dot in turquoise.

  9. Amanda says:

    I love the raspberry palette! But the bees are my favorite design. The whole collection is very bright and cheerful!

  10. Jennifer says:

    I love the new line!

    And although I am always partial to polka dots I really like the lime blossoms pattern

  11. Erica says:

    I love the raspberry colours, with the green! A perfect match for my chair that needs an extra pillow (or two)

  12. Nicki C K (Nicole Kirk) says:

    Oh gosh, I just love Patty! I love her patterns, her fabric and her lovely personality!! Her fabric lines just keep getting better and better, I truly love them all! I haven’t purchased any F&F yet, only because my budget will not allow it at this time but I would LOVE to have any of it (of course!) The turquoise & red combos are my absolute favorite! But I also love the Raspberry & lime colors together. All of it is just gorgeous! Thank you for the chance to win!

  13. Allie says:

    I am in love with all the Dandelions! I guess my favorite colorway would be the turquoise, but it is sure hard to choose.

  14. Elana E says:

    I adore the raspberry and lime green. I have such visions of outfits to make for my twins girls. Those are their favorite colors too!

  15. Kristin says:

    My favorite is definitely Hive!

  16. Jennifer O. says:

    I totally love Young Stone colorway! I love to sew up some of my dresses with these!

  17. Laura Myers says:

    The daisy borders are BRILLIANT! I have one daughter who loves polka-dots and one who loves flowers. They are both getting new spring dresses in their fav colors with elements that they adore. You are so talented!

  18. Mel says:

    I love the dandelions in any colour. I think that print would make such cute spring skirts. Thanks for the chance!

  19. Meghan says:

    I love the luna moths and the dandelions, stone colorway since grays are sorely underrepresented!!

  20. Amanda says:

    The dandelions are my fave. I like knowing that they are hand drawn too. It makes me like them even more! The all make me happy though!

  21. I LOVE the dandelions! All the colors too!

  22. Johanna says:

    I love the turquoise colorway. It is so refreshing!

  23. What a delightful interview and peek into the creative process. I adore all of these colorways, but the raspberry and stone are probably my favorites. I love the dandelion prints in every colorway, and the moth in the stone made me gasp. Love all three of the ta-dots in the stone colorway, too. Ahhh… if I were a dog, I would roll in this whole collection; it’s yummy!

  24. Kelly says:

    I love, love, love the daisy dot. But hive is a very close second. All of the colors are so fun and exciting it’s hard to pick.

  25. Wow. Thank you for the opportunity!
    I particularly love Dandelion and Blossom which is strange because generally I am not a flower pattern person. These I adore. Im loving the Raspberry and the Stone Colorways in all patterns! I live in a hot climate (Brisbane Australia) and having grown up in a cold climate (Melbourne Australia) I find that summer can overtake me sometimes. I always lean towards the cooler palletes like the stone for that reason. But I do love the Raspberry too – so bright and happy.

  26. Marlene says:

    Lime green is my favorite color and I really love the bees and the dandelion prints – very colorful collection! – Marlene

  27. I LOVE the Double Boarder Daisies in mustard with the turquoise daisies…but really, I LOVE every bit of this line! Absolutely LOVELY!

  28. Freda Messick says:

    I love the entire collection. My daughter is getting ready to go from a crib to a big girl bed and I think her room with have to be decorated with this collection.

  29. Sondra says:

    Turquoise is my favorite colorway overall, but I do love each and every color! Picking a favorite print is harder. I love the hummingbirds, dandelions and of course the dots! I love polka dots! I haven’t seen these print in person yet, but hopefully I’ll get the chance real soon ;)

  30. Rebecca says:

    I just love the Daisy Dots and Double Daisy border fabrics, and I love them the best in the grey/black/pink color combo. :)

  31. Sarah E. says:

    I LOVE the turquoise combo–especially the blossoms and dots! and daisy dot… okay, all of it! :)

  32. Chancy says:

    I love the designs Luna Moth, Hive, Hummingbirds, Dandelion, and Ta Dot. So gorgeous. And I love the Mustard and Raspberry colorways.

  33. catherine s. says:

    I’m loving Hive in Raspberry – hot pink is the IT color this spring, ya know. Very nice!!!

  34. Amanda Calloway says:

    Turquoise Dots for me!! I have a thing for dots and I am ok saying it. Though my husband keeps saying you like dots don’t you and I guess saying it aloud makes it ok!!! Love your fabric! Keep it coming! Amanda Calloway callowayamanda@hotmail.com

  35. Jodie says:

    I love the dandelion print in all the colourways, although raspberry is my favorite. I would love to win because these fabrics are $30/metre here in Australia which is way out of my price range.

  36. Cheryl G. says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Daisy Dot…because I love Gerber Daisies. My Favorite color is the Hive in Rasberry. But the Luna Moth in Mustard is the most unique!! Really I love it all!

  37. Eden says:

    Ahh, all so pretty! I’m glad that everything on the production end worked out well for you….
    My favorite Dandolion Fuschia/pink…..so hard to pick

  38. It’s so hard to choose a favorite. I love the dandelions (but then, I seem to have a “thing” for dandelions – at least on fabric) and I really love the double border daisies. I keep thinking I’m going to make myself a skirt with that but I can never decide which color!

  39. Megan O. says:

    I have such a hard time choosing…always love the fabric she does for Michael Miller..I’m a bit obsessed. If forced to choose I think overall I love the stone colorway best and I absolutely adore the Hummingbird fabric (any of it)!

  40. Jiaying says:

    Wow, thanks for the insight into the designer’s creative process. Very cool. I love the hummingbird and dandelions.

  41. emma says:

    I love all of it, but the stone colourway is probably my favourite – and those turquoise dots!

  42. They are all gorgeous fabrics but my favourites are the ones from the turquoise colourway.

  43. Jan Richards says:

    I love both the stone and turquoise colorways. Hard to
    choose a favorite.

  44. Whitney M. says:

    I love the bees! I also love all of the colors. They are very striking and inspiring.

  45. D'Anne Major says:

    Oh my I have to choose one….I love them all. Maybe I love the dandelions the best, or maybe the daisy dots in teal. Okay I can’t decide I love the entire collection!!

  46. Nicole G says:

    My favourite colourway is the Mustard. I bought some dandelion already, but really want to get some hummingbirds and bees!! This is one of my absolutely favourite lines that has come out recently. Thanks so much Patty!

  47. Wow that was so fun to read. I couldn’t imagine the collection without the daisies either! It’s an amazing print!!! It’s hard to pick a favorite colorway, but I would say that the mustard would be a fun bundle to play with because I have noticed that blues and yellows are what my stash seriously lacks. I’d love to make a cheery quilt out of a “mustard bundle”. Thanks for the giveaway and for sharing a little of your design process with us!

  48. Lenka says:

    Love it all :)
    (raspberry colorway)

  49. amy says:

    Love the collection. While they are all gorgeous, I am more inspired by dandelion colorway and most specifically the reds and greens. Beautiful!

  50. Tina T says:

    Love! Hummingbirds and bees! I absolutely love the whole collection, but this morning I’m feeling the turquoise and stone color ways. Gorgeous!