Putting together a fabric collection

American Prairie is my first proper attempt at a fabric collection and it came about because of a course I took in January, The Make It In Design ‘Winter School’ 2018.  The course is a fun, month long course to get the creative juices flowing at the beginning of the year. You receive two briefs and share your ideas and designs online with other people on the course. So, it’s lots of fun and very encouraging.

One of the briefs was American Prairie and I instantly connected with it. Not least because my main source of inspiration is nature and in particular wild flowers. I also fell in love with this brief because the colour palette that they offered was to die for. I have to admit I struggle with colour palettes and over think them so to be given one that I instantly liked was a huge help.

American Prairie Colour Palette.

American Prairie Colour Palette.

I’ve taken many online courses to learn how to make patterns. I particularly love Bonnie Christine and Elizabeth Olwen, both of whose online courses on Creative Live and Skillshare have been utterly invaluable. I followed their processes for creating the collection…..

The Hero Pattern.

First the ‘Hero Pattern’. The one that has all the elements in it and all the colours. The show stopper if you like. This is American Prairie…

American Prairie  © Kate Lancaster

American Prairie © Kate Lancaster

American Prairie  wallpaper ©Kate Lancaster

American Prairie wallpaper ©Kate Lancaster

This design is, essentially, the main narrative of the collection, a prairie full of American wild flowers. It was a long time coming though. It’s hard to translate what is in your head to the page. I want people to feel as though they’re walking through the prairie with a warm breeze gently blowing through the plants. I think I've managed to achieve this. Earlier versions were chaotic and messy and didn't feel very calm at all!

This is going to be available in both large scale for wallpaper & curtains and a smaller scale for other products.

Other 'stand alone' designs within the collection.

You need more than one strong design in a collection so I opted for three more designs to sit alongside the hero pattern. 

After working hard on the hero patten I wanted to produce a design that was more subtle so I chose the yarrow as a motif and simply placed it in a repeat pattern against some choice colours from the palette. Yarrow on Pink, Yarrow on Olive and Yarrow on Rust, below. Again these will be available in two scales. 

Yarrow  (Pink) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow (Pink) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow  (Olive) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow (Olive) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow  (Rust) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow (Rust) ©Kate Lancaster

Being satisfied with my two designs so far I felt like there was space for something in-between the hero pattern, American Prairie and more subtle Yarrow. So I came up with Prairie Dream.

Prairie Dream  ©Kate Lancaster

Prairie Dream ©Kate Lancaster

Three strong designs would have been enough for this collection but I couldn't resist playing around with this cluster of flowers. This cluster is a study on the tiny flowers of the yarrow plant. There were very many attempts at this.  First it looked too restrained, then too busy. I was tearing my hair out. Days later I just sat down and relaxed and played around with it until I felt it worked. Being relaxed and 'in the zone' really does work when designing.

Yarrow Clusters (Rust) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow Clusters (Rust) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow Clusters (Olive) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow Clusters (Olive) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow Clusters (Brown) ©Kate Lancaster

Yarrow Clusters (Brown) ©Kate Lancaster

The Co-Ordinates

And now for the bit I really enjoy - the co-ordinates. These are designs that can act as a lining, or a trim. They support the main patterns and don’t distract the eye from them. I love geometric designs and these are perfect for co-ordinates.

Feather Like (White on Peach) ©Kate Lancaster

Feather Like (White on Peach) ©Kate Lancaster

Feather Like (Rust on Pink) ©Kate Lancaster

Feather Like (Rust on Pink) ©Kate Lancaster

I also fancied something more 'free falling' so played around with these cute little motifs..

Freefall (Peach) ©Kate Lancaster

Freefall (Peach) ©Kate Lancaster

And a tightly packed floral repeat to finish it off! 

Tiny little flowers (Pink) ©Kate Lancaster

Tiny little flowers (Pink) ©Kate Lancaster

So! Samples are being produced at the moment and these designs will soon be available to buy as fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap from spoonflower.com.  

Thanks for reading x