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. Marnie Peck says:

    Oh, it is so hard to pick. I would have to say I love the Daisy Dot in turquoise. But then I love them all. Thanks for the chance! Marnie

  2. Helen says:

    I absolutely LOVE the Dandelions in raspberry!!! So pretty!

  3. ariane says:

    I love the dandelion print.

  4. Corey says:

    Woohoo! I love a fabric giveaway! I already have most of the red/aqua fabrics so those are my definite favorite. But, I have had to hold myself back from picking up some of the black/gray/pink fabrics–they are so pretty! I also love all of the dandelions–I think my favorite print from the collection. =) Thanks so much!!

  5. Love the turquoise colorway. Closely followed by raspberry. It’s so hard to choose. My fave print are the dandelions. Thanks for the chance to win.

  6. Jamie says:

    I know you hear this all the time but seriously…it is so hard to choose a favorite colorway! I have a natural attraction to turquoise but the lime and the grey and all the others are just as great! The bees are fun and the dandelions are whimsical and playful. I have two boys and no girls so I appreciate that there are a couple of prints that I can use for them (bees and moths). Great job once again Patty!

  7. steph c says:

    I love them all, but my fav is the stone double border daisy.

  8. Jenny G. says:

    Hive has to be my favorite, followed by the dandelions.

  9. leslie says:

    mustard, mustard, mustard!! it is my new favorite colorway. i succombed to hive immediately as i “tried” to draw something similar this summer while in my backyard…hahaha…needless to say, it didn’t work out. lucky for me however, you did! i love them all patty and would be happy with anything! thanks for the opportunity!

  10. Brieanne says:

    OH MY!! I love all these fabrics! I can’t wait to get some, My favorite is the hive print for sure, in all colorways(though rasp is a front runner..) defintly need isobel with lime hives, turq daisy dots and hummingbirds, and nina with stone blossoms, black ta dot and sap dandelion!

  11. Pat Hogan says:

    These are the freshest colors I have seen in a long time. Great for quilts, adult & children clothing.

  12. Laura Romine says:

    Love all the fabrics!!!! They are very cheerful to see in the winter season. I really like the pink daisy dot with the green background. Endless possibilities!!! thank-you for sharing.

  13. Gigi says:

    I love all the colors but in particular, am drawn to the lime and raspberry! I have a set of fat quarters of them but would love to have more! Thanks!

  14. gina Snyder says:

    Absolutely love the turq hummingbirds and the little red blossoms!!!

    Hugs,
    Gina

  15. Sonja says:

    Oh my gosh! I’ve been drooling over this new line for a few weeks now! I’m in love with the Hummingbird Quilt! My favourite fabrics are the dandilions and the bees! Oh, the luna moth is pretty kewl too!! As always, I’ve got my fingers crossed! Thanks!

  16. Patti says:

    I’m loving the double border daisies. So bright and colorful. Great job!

  17. Lindsay Ramon says:

    You have chosen so many beautiful color combinations! I love Hummingbird in Lime, but I have adored turquoise with red for a very long time. So my favorite is Hummingbird in Turquoise.
    Great job, Mrs. Young, and thanks for the opportunity to win!

  18. Debbie says:

    I’m a HUGE Patty fan. Love, love, love her fabrics. I so wish I could win the dandelion series!

  19. Nancy in Many LA says:

    I LOVE the raspberry combo – such delicious fabrics!

  20. Kristin says:

    I am a huge fan of grey so I love the prints in the stone color, however the turquoise is my favorite color way! Thanks, great interview.

  21. Kate says:

    I really love the luna moths (especially in mustard), bees and dandelions. Mustard and stone colorways are my favorites for now.

  22. kate C. says:

    I love the dandelions – especially in the raspberry and pink-ish colors. I don’t really know what a ‘colorway’ is? Anyone want to enlighten me?

  23. Shannon says:

    Turquoise Humming Birds are my FAVE!!!! Can’t get enough of them!

  24. Laura says:

    The stone colorway has to be my fav, but that said, this whole line is INCREDIBLE!! Love it all!

  25. Ellie says:

    I’m a pink and green girl, so I love the Raspberry!

  26. Carrie Chilton says:

    tough decision but i love the raspberry and lime. great combo of colors.

  27. Tammy P says:

    I love all Pattys lines, her colors are amazing and the prints make me smile!! they are so versatile for clothing, quilting, housestuff, any way love the new Flora and Fauna the turquoise is gorgeous and Well I love them all =)

  28. aimee says:

    I love turquoised and stone. I really love ‘em all but those are at the top.

  29. Tanya says:

    I love this collection… especially the bee print. My favorites is the mustard colorway—followed closely by stone.

  30. Angel says:

    The raspberry/lime is delicious but I could easily change my mind to the another colorway tomorrow! Such a lovely collection!

  31. Tricia says:

    My favourite is the Daisy Dot in the stone collections, but I really like anything with the lime too. It is just so hard to decide. Everything is beautiful.

  32. Julie says:

    Any of the green tones, I love lime! I adore the daisy dot and dandelions.

  33. Christi says:

    I love all of these fabrics! Its hard to choose but the Stone colorway is probably my favorite. With Double Border Daisy, Humming Birds, and Dandelion being my favorite prints. Love them all though, they’re so fresh looking.

  34. nanann says:

    I SO love these fabrics! Without a doubt I have to go and buy myself some of the dandelions! LOVE. And I keep changing my mind on my favorite colorway, but for right now it is the stone.

  35. Andrea says:

    I love all of them, but I think the turquoise and the pinks are my favorites. I love Patty’s stuff!

  36. Tiffani says:

    I’d have to say the turqouise, as it is my daughter’s favorite color at the moment.

  37. Jeanne White says:

    Love the turquoise palette!

  38. Christine says:

    I love the turquoise colorway!

  39. inkie mummy says:

    I’m totally in love with all the dandelion prints but my favourite colour way is the lime greens and allllll of the stone colour way. So very yummy!

  40. I love love love the stone and mustard colorways!! Gorg!

    llanghans@yahoo.com

  41. Linnea says:

    I am loving this new line! But if I must pick favourites I would have to say the hives and luna moths are the ones that catch my attention the most…especially in the mustard and gray colorways.

  42. Shiela says:

    I love the Turquoise Palette! I love your prints and the fun way you combine them. I am so excited about her patterns as well.

  43. Leslie Howard says:

    I like the dandelions. They have nice movement and are a great symbol for the beauty of everyday that people overlook.

  44. Melissa says:

    It was so hard to choose. I liked them all, but if I must , I will choose the Luna Moths. SOOO beautiful. Reminds me of summer eves. Next I would choose the bees.
    Thank you for sharing these lovely fabrics.

  45. Aubrey says:

    I adore the turquoise and red colorway. I just made my niece a dress with the hummingbird, bees and flower fabric and it turned out yummy!!

  46. Stefanie says:

    I love daisies! They are such a happy flower! I love them so much that I had them at my wedding.

    However…those Hummingbirds are really speaking to me!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  47. Lauri says:

    I like the Turquoise Combos the best. Very summery!

  48. Tracy says:

    It is a tough decision – I love the hummingbirds in turquoise (especially paired with the blossoms) but I know my girls would love love those dandelions!

  49. Michelle says:

    I love the pinks, blues, blacks, and greens and the big daisies!

  50. so we added chickens says:

    I have been pondering this one since you posted this interview. The whole line is fabulous and I especially love the humming birds and dandelions. As to color ways, I have to say Turquoise and Stone are my favorite colorways.
    Thank you!