Hello, all! It's Patty Young again! I am here today to tell you about my newest fabric collection, Heaven & Helsinki, in stores now. I often get asked how I design fabric, how I come up with the themes, the ideas, the colors and the imagery. This is a loaded question for sure, but I thought I'd give you guys a little insight into the inner workings of my brain. Fabric design is such an organic process... it's never the same and there is no easy way to turn it into an organized process. Sometimes I come up with a theme first, but sometimes it's just a color palette that drives the design, and sometimes I just have a cool word or city name or concept I want to build a whole collection around... I know, it sounds crazy!
For Heaven & Helsinki, I decided I wanted to make a collection inspired by Mid-Century Modern and Scandinavian design, two styles that often go hand-in-hand. I have always been obsessed with that design aesthetic, having grown up immersed in it, so it seemed quite fitting and fun to do. The name of the collection came first, and it was a play on words, a tongue-in-cheek sort of thing. I've had this name thought out in my head for a long, long time, just waiting to use it on something, heehee.
Then came the research. I always create mood boards for all my collections. Below I share two mood boards that sat next to my desk for weeks, as I drew the designs that made up Heaven & Helsinki. You'll see anything from clothing, to pottery to candy wrappers. I look for everything that embodies the style I am after, whether it's a funky lamp or a milk carton or a vintage rug. Anything goes because you can draw inspiration from just about everything around you.
Then came the colors. I decided I wanted to break up the collection into two main palettes: METRO and RETRO. Metro would be more like a modern-day version of the colors found in Scandinavian design, while Retro would show the original colors from the 50's, 60's and 70's.
Then comes the fun part... DESIGN! I always design in black and white, then insert colors later. Below you'll see my inspiration image for Loves Me Not, followed by my original design in black, and then the finished repeat pattern in full color.
After all designs were completed, I designed the logo, which usually ends up borrowing colors and imagery from the collection.
Then the collection goes to Michael Miller Fabrics, and after review and a few tweaks, it is off to the mill for strike-offs.
Below, see some projects we made with the fabric, once we received sample yardage, several months later. This is by far the BEST part! :)
and here's the best part for YOU! Leave a comment and you could win a yard each of the entire collection Heaven & Helsinki! The randomly chosen winner to be announced Friday 7/13
I think most people assume we've been planning it for months.
Well, not quite.
We've been planning the line for months and that's the most urgent thing you can imagine.
It's "all hands on deck" as the show approaches.
But the booth?
Okay, here's how it works:
1. We consider all the prints we'll have in time for the show and visualize each as a "theme"
(we usually have MANY prints and possible themes)
2. Which theme would be the most fun? Fun is the operative word here. It has to be fun to carry us through all the grueling hours it takes to pull it off. It's a team effort.
3. Once we've crammed our heads with all of the above,
everything we see relates to the BOOTH THEME
and then the most amazing thing happens:
Such was the case when I spotted this elephant in the window of the prop house in our building. I Walked in and said, "How about if I rent that elephant, starch fabric on it and return it to you in perfect condition?" Next thing you know we've got 3 of them in the office and my two sisters on a plane to NY for two days and nights of nonstop starching fabric on elephants.