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. Kathy Howard says:

    I love them all, but I think my favorite is the turquoise colorway. All the designs are wonderful; I like the dandelions best.

  2. jessigirl says:

    The turqouise colorway is so cool and i love the bees!

  3. Cathy says:

    Love, love, love the raspberry bees! and the dandelion pinks! They don’t speak to me – they SING!!

  4. Melissa McCoy says:

    I love the turquoise colorway. I also really like the Dandelion print and Gerbera Daisy prints in all the colors.

  5. Gypsy says:

    The Luna Moth is stunning – especially in mustard!

  6. Melanie says:

    I love, love, love the turquoise combos. The Blossoms print in turquoise is my favorite with the Humming Birds coming in a close second!

  7. wendy says:

    Oh, the dandelions in grey is my favourite… as well as any of the turquoise prints. Love that colour!!!

  8. Debbie says:

    I love the Flora & Fauna collection! The Turquoise colorway and Luna Moth are my favorites. I enjoyed reading about the design process.

  9. Nydia Kehnle says:

    I love the collection! I love all the colorways and the have print in one of my favorites!

  10. Karen says:

    Aaah the Hummingbirds – and the turquiose paletter – the colours in this range are amazing – I love it.

  11. I just love the collection…I especially like the daisy dots in lime. I just bought a kyoko pattern, and would love to use that for the bottom skirt.

  12. Bonnie says:

    I LOVE the hummingbirds in ANY colour way! So sweet – I have used them in so much already!

  13. Oh the double Daisy border is by far my favorite. I especially love it in the lime green and hot pink. I have the Ta-Dots in those colors already. I think I would have to make some ceramic buttons to coordinate. Super cool Designs!
    Jennifer

  14. Tammy says:

    I love it all, but especially the dandelions!

  15. Cornelia says:

    I love the double daisy in mustard. It makes me want to make a sundress and a picnic quilt and maybe a tablecloth and get it all together and go sit in the sun. But I also love the luna moths in the raspberry…

  16. Adeline Lim says:

    Love dandelions in fuschia and double daisy in mustard!

  17. Arjanne says:

    I love the turquoise fabric.
    I”m a really big fan of the Flora and Fauna collection and already bought the pink and lime version (couldn’t wait hahaha)
    Thanks for the chance!

  18. Erin H. says:

    LOVE it all, but I think the moths are my favorite. The bundle would be such fun!

  19. Sara says:

    Love the “hive” design–the bees are so cute!

  20. Johanna B says:

    love the whole collection…so bright and cheerful! Excited to make a sundress for my little one and can’t wait to get my hands on the mini lil ava pattern!

  21. kelly mae says:

    Oh so pretty…
    I love “ta dot” in all the colorways, and the daisy’s too!

  22. Rosie says:

    I love all of them – but I really like the Turquoise Combo- esp. the hummingbirds. I think those would make some awesome pillows!

  23. Absolutely fantastic prints. They’re so happy. I usually am a fan of turquoise but this time I’d say that the Young Raspberry Combo is my favorite. The different greens of the hummingbird print background plays so well with the raspberry. Congratulations on another great print collection.

  24. MzTallulah says:

    Such an interesting look into Patty’s creative process, and with such homour!

  25. Ange says:

    I love this line, but the blossoms colourways are my favourite.

  26. Mollye says:

    I love Luna Moth–any colorway. The art deco gets me every time.

  27. Julianna says:

    This is all beautiful!

  28. kristin says:

    I love the daisy dots. they look bright and colorful. like you would be smiling just to be around these fabrics.

  29. Stephanie says:

    Can’t decide between the mustard and the raspberry colorways. All the prints are gorgeous.

  30. Alaina says:

    I’m torn between stone, turquoise and raspberry.

  31. Dee says:

    I love the first two pictures of fabric. Fun name.
    Dee

  32. Laura says:

    I am simply in love with the stone colorway, hands down. I am currently working on a project with some bits of the stone colorway blended in with some of my favorite Japanese fabrics, and it’s perfectly amazing. Plus, I just love those white flowers with the red center dots. Fantastic!

  33. Emily says:

    the daisy dots are my favorite. BEAUTIFUL! I love them. THe double border is genius.

  34. Rita says:

    I love the dandelions.

  35. Ellen Ban says:

    My favorie design is the dandelions…I can imagine them blowing in the wind!

  36. phyllis f says:

    love the hot orange and pink birdie damask the best. mustard luna moths follows, but they’re all good!

  37. Sylvia says:

    Oh, the dandelions are so pretty!!

  38. monah says:

    Definitely Mustard combo! Nothing brightens up a dreary winter day like some happy bright colours!

  39. Anna says:

    it is so hard to choose but I love the bee hive in raspberry, I am drawn to it!

  40. Chelsea says:

    I am also a fan of the dandelions, something about them is so cheerful to me! My favorite colorways are the stone and turquoise, I can’t choose between them!

  41. sara says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the organic feel of the dandelions, and adore them in all the colorways!

  42. Shiloah says:

    I love the dandelions and the daisy dots. So beautiful!

  43. Paige Hll says:

    Love the Daisy Dots and I love Patty:)

  44. Beth says:

    LOVE the mustard hummingbirds and hive.

  45. carriegel says:

    The dandelions are my favorite!

  46. Tonya Y says:

    I really like this collection alot. Andalucia was my favorite, but I think Flora and Fauna this is my new favorite. The stone colorway is my favorite.

  47. Debra H says:

    It is a hard decision since the entire line is beautiful!
    My favorite colorwave is the raspberry combo, and Hummingbirds are wonderful. The Dandelions are a close second. Thank you for a wonderful article and an opportunity to win some of this fantastic fabric!

  48. Justine Mullins says:

    My favourite has got to be the double border daisy and daisy dot too!! As soon as I can get my hands on these in the UK I will be making myself and my daughter skirts from them!! As a beginner sewer I have been really inspired by Patty’s fabric and patterns and am an avid reader of her blog – I’ve even made my daughter the Emma top and skirt to wear at mine and her daddies beach wedding in florida this year – it was this that got me hooked!!

  49. Deborah Fernandez says:

    Oooo, the raspberry combo. It makes me happy to look at the beautiful patterns and the rich colors. Great job.
    Debbie

  50. Kristy S. says:

    LOVE the dandelions! Reminiscent of childhood! :)