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March 2014

Interview with Caroline Hulse, the Self-Taught Seamstress

Caroline Hulse is another collaborator for Limited Edition! She defines her style as an ever-evolving mix of classic feminine romance and modern trends, which is present in all prints of her collection, Gleeful.

Caroline is a one of a kind seamstress! She taught herself to sew through watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, and going through scraps of fabrics. Since then, she’s found her passion in sewing and designing.

In the interview below she tells us all about her journey as a designer and the inspiration behind Gleeful!CarolineIG

Q: What's the story and inspiration behind your collection?

A: I consider my style to be an ever-evolving mix of classic feminine romance and modern trends. My collection of fabrics embraces these two themes whole-heartedly. I love designing and sewing my own clothing, so while designing my debut collection of fabric I thought to myself, “How would I wear this?” Each piece of my collection tells a story about a young woman pursuing her dreams. She is bold, yet feminine. She is carefree and romantic. She is modern, yet classic.

Q: What does the AGF Limited Edition concept mean to you, and what mood or point of view have you brought into this project?

A: When the idea of this AGF Limited Edition collaboration came to me, I was thrilled. I love stepping into unchartered waters with ideas and projects. Since this was something SO NEW, something never been done, I didn’t know what to expect. But, my expectations have been exceeded. I’ve learned many new things, met many new people, and discovered creativity inside of me that I did not know existed. Sara, April, and I bring three very different aesthetics to the table. I feel as though I’ve brought a youthful and carefree point of view to this project.

Q: How did your collaboration with AGF come about?

A: I have always loved working with Art Gallery fabrics because they have the best drape and feel of any quilting cotton I’ve ever used. I worked with Pat Bravo and AGF on a couple of projects through my blog and had the privilege of meeting Pat at Sewing Summit, where we were both teachers. After Quilt Market last year, she reached out to me about a new collaboration she was considering. I love Pat, so I immediately jumped on board (I mean, who wouldn’t right?).

Q: How has your experience been working alongside Art Gallery Fabrics on this project?

A: Through this whole process (where I started at ground zero!!) I have been given guidance and help where needed. The whole AGF team has been on board with this project from the beginning, which I think has helped the whole process be smoother.

Q: Describe your creative process when designing fabric. 

A: For this collection I did a lot of window shopping and flipping through magazines. After I gathered a boat load of inspirational photos, color schemes and ideas, I took it to the drawing board. I don’t feel like I am a very good sketcher/drawer, but, I was able to sketch out my ideas to make them a reality. I sketched lots of flowers, geometric designs, dots, etc. and finally landed on eight prints that I fell in love with.

Q: Can you choose your favorite print from the collection and tell us why it's your favorite?

A: Yes, definitely my floral bouquet and stripe print! The design is printed on a navy fabric and has colors like emerald, gold, fuchsia, and aqua in it. I may not be able to spill these beans yet, But the stripe print will also be available on a knit substrate (squeel!) and would be PERFECT as a maxi version of my Out and About Dress!

Q: What's the one thing you can't live without?

A: I could definitely not live without my morning coffee. Or my iPhone…especially Instagram.

Q: What other designers, makers or artists inspire your work?

A: I have always been inspired by Pat Bravo’s work. I have loved seeing the progression of her fabric designs from when she first began until now. I also really admire the design work of Anna Maria Horner and Valori Wells.

Q: How do you stay on top of current design trends?

A: I love browsing through stores like Anthropologie, Madewell, and J.Crew to get a feel or current trends. I also frequently browse Pinterest, read blogs, and magazines. I tend to fall back on classic styles, with pops of modern trends mixed in here and there!

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy you live by?

A: I love this quote by Walt Disney, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Q: What are you up to when you're not sewing or designing?

A: When I’m not sewing or designing (haha, but really, when is that?) I love to spend time with my husband traveling, taking our dog on walks, and spending time outdoors!

Q: Do you have any other upcoming projects lined up for 2014?

A: 2014 is the year that I’m making things happen! In February, I released my first women’s sewing pattern, the Out and About dress, and I have plans to release another pattern (The Tank Dress) in April, and have a couple more patterns in the works. Also attending Quilt Market as a vendor for the first time will be a huge step in my career! This is going to be an amazing, opportunity-filled year!


Thank you for reading and have a great weekend!




Interview with Sara Lawson, the City Living Lover

Happy Friday fabric lovers! :)

Today’s interview is with Sara Lawson, who’s currently living in Chicago, Illinois and is one of the Limited Edition collaborators! Her collection is called Jungle Ave. and it was inspired by city living. You can find many urban dwelling elements throughout her collection, such as subway maps and images of high-rises.

Sara's favorite print from her collection is ‘Elephant Skyline,’ which is the 8th and last print from the below picture. She loves the movement going on and the strong colors. I must say it's my favorite print too! The design really stands out and I love the color combo too. 

Keep reading to learn more about Sara and her super cool Jungle Ave. collection.SaraIG

Q: What's the story and inspiration behind your collection?

A: My collection is called Jungle Ave., and it is inspired by city living. I live in Chicago, and even though it is a metropolitan city, I was curious to explore the softer side of the city. I thought about people living in apartments or in high-rises, and how they could still keep potted plants on their balcony or have small patches of soil to plant vegetables. I combined the floral elements of these ideas with the images of asphalt and riding the subway (here in Chicago, it’s the elevated train, or ‘el’). The images of the elephants come in because I wanted to play with the idea of an ‘urban jungle’; the elephants perfectly marry the floral idea with the grittier images of the city, such as the black polka dot print or the fuchsia text print.

Q: What does the AGF Limited Edition concept mean to you, and what mood or point of view have you brought into this project?

A: AGF Limited Edition is a great way to explain what myself, April Rhodes, and Caroline Hulse bring to the table. Because we are strongest at garments and fashion accessories (like bags), I feel like we bring a unique perspective in with our designs. We each have a strong voice for using fabrics in our sewn items, and I feel like this definitely translates in each of our individual collections. While my line would also work great in a quilt, I hope that shops and sewists will be able to appreciate the strong sense of color and bold prints, which is something that I always look for when deciding on a fabric for my next bag pattern.

Q: How did your collaboration with AGF come about?

A: I’ve been attending Quilt Market for 2 years now, which is a twice-yearly trade show for the quilting and sewing industry. I’m very shy, and even from the beginning, it was a bit daunting to be around all of these sewing celebrities, authors, fabric manufacturers, etc. Even though my main skill is as a bag sewing pattern designer, I would make myself new outfits to wear to each Market, which were kind of my ice-breaker (some people might see a dress I had made on my blog, and then when they saw me in person, they would immediately recognize the dress); I incorporated bold fabrics, and sometimes even used quilt-making as a focal point for the dresses (a Dresden plate, pieced hexagons, etc.). Even though Pat Bravo, as art director of Art Gallery Fabrics, is selling lines of fabric geared toward quilters, I think it is a natural path that Art Gallery Fabrics should also be seen as perfect for garment fabrics, because of the unique softness of the fabrics and the wonderful drape and hand. I think she chose 3 people, myself, April, and Caroline, that would be good representations of this direction.

Q: How has your experience been working alongside Art Gallery Fabrics on this project?

A: This has been the experience of a lifetime for me. I have learned so much working with Pat Bravo and the rest of the Art Gallery Fabrics team, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that my fabric line will be in stores soon! Since color has always been so important to Pat, I feel like I’ve learned new things about pairing color and design in my bags especially. When talking about designs, Pat would always ask me, “What would you make with this fabric?” If I couldn’t visualize at least several things that I would make out of it, I knew it was back to the drawing board. And I’m hoping this is great news for fans of Art Gallery Fabrics, because I can definitely visualize a whole bunch of things that I would make (and am planning to make!) with my fabrics!

Q: Describe your creative process when designing fabric. 

A: Since I was brand new to designing fabric, I listened to all of the great advice that Pat gave me. I brainstormed an umbrella theme for my prints, and at the same time, adapted what she calls a color story, which is a grouping of colors that I would use in every print in the line. Because I was working on an urban jungle theme, I researched and pinned (on Pinterest) lots of images, from quilts to animals to clothing to the runway. I also sketched out a lot of ideas, which I then translated to the computer. Some of my digital designs did not end up working for the line, but it was all part of the process. I completely cleared my schedule for about 6 weeks to work on the designs; they definitely didn’t come to me over night! But the hard work was definitely worth it, and I think Jungle Ave. is definitely a representation of ‘me’.

Q: Can you choose your favorite print from the collection and tell us why it's your favorite?

A: My favorite print is definitely ‘Elephant Skyline’. I have always been a big fan of the ‘focal print’ out of any fabric line, and I think this is definitely the focal from Jungle Ave. There’s just so much organic movement going on, with the hills, elephants, and buildings. Also the colors are so strong. I can see this fabric being used in a million different things, from dresses to bags to little boys’ pajamas to a baby’s cloth diapers.

Q: What's the one thing you can't live without?

A: I cannot live without my sewing machine! I sew for about 4-5 hours a night (well, when I’m not writing a new bag pattern, that is!), and it’s definitely my security blanket. Whatever else is going on, I know that I can sit down at my machine and be taken somewhere else.

Q: What other designers, makers or artists inspire your work?

A: Pat Bravo, of course! She is truly a genius in her field. I am really inspired by all of the designers on the Art Gallery Fabrics roster; I am blessed to call some of them friends, and I’m also big fans of their work. Before I was even approached as becoming a designer as part of AGF Limited Edition, I was already using their fabrics in my bag patterns and in my clothing; some of my best-selling bag patterns use Art Gallery Fabrics on the pattern covers (like my Aeroplane Bag or my Petrillo Bag patterns, using ‘Color Me Retro’ and ‘Carnaby St.’, respectively). Tula Pink is also a huge inspiration to me – I think what she’s designing as far as fabric and quilt patterns is so different from what everyone else is doing, and they are a representation of who she is as a person. Same for Thomas Knauer, he’s designing quilts and fabric that have so much meaning behind them. Also, of course, all the bloggers and designers out there – there is just so much talent out there, it’s insane. I could name at least 100 more inspiring people. There is not one day that goes by that I don’t see something on someone’s blog and think, “Wow, I love this so much” or “Dang, I wish I would have thought of that.”

Q: How do you stay on top of current design trends?

A: I pay attention to what other bloggers are using in their sewing projects, and I keep tabs on all the new fabric collections that are out each season. Following companies and blogs on their social media is also a great way to keep track of what’s going on and what’s hot right now.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy you live by?

A: I don’t mean to sound like a dork, but I’m a huge fan of the show ‘Shark Tank’. I’m so fascinated by the quick-thinking of the shark investors. I think about this quote from Mark Cuban all the time, “"It's not about money or connections — it's the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone... And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time."

I love this quote. I don’t think that anyone can doubt that I’m a hard worker. I truly love what I do, but I’m thinking every day about how I can work harder or what I can do better. There are no evenings or weekends for me – evenings and weekends are when even more work gets done.

Q: What are you up to when you're not sewing or designing?

A: My son is 7 and in first grade, and my daughter’s 5-1/2 and will be starting kindergarten in the fall. Neither of my kids were in preschool, and so until they went to kindergarten they were home with me during the day. My family is my #1 priority (I might be thinking of the next bag pattern in my head, but outwardly I might be doing the dishes or coloring, lol), and we like doing a lot of artsy crafty things together.

Q: Do you have any other upcoming projects lined up for 2014?

A: I have 6 new paper patterns (for bags) coming out end of April/beginning of May. I’ll probably print 6 more in the fall. This year I’m working on my second book (bags of course), and it’s due out in October of 2015. I’m really excited about it. I’m pushing myself even harder to come up with unique designs with lots of special details, while still making them easy and fun to sew. I’m also doing a lot of lectures and all-day bag workshops for quilt guilds and other organizations this year. I really enjoy teaching, and it’s the best feeling to help someone and give them personal attention so they can finish up their bag (even people who have never sewn a bag before!).

Jungle Ave. will be available in shops in June.

It was a pleasure to interview Sara and get to know more about her work!

Thank you for reading!




Interview with April Rhodes, the Dreamer, Crafter, Wife and Mother!

Hi everyone!

When I was introduced to Limited Edition, I knew right away I wanted to interview the collaborating designers and share it here on the blog so that you guys could get to know more about them and their respective collections.

The first designer I had the pleasure to chat with was April Rhodes. This very talented woman that can’t live without a creative outlet, designed the collection Arizona for our Limited Edition project, which is inspired by tribal and Native American prints. 

Get to know April and fall in love with her collection, Arizona: AprilIG

Q: What's the story and inspiration behind your collection?

A: The short story is that I LOVE tribal and Native American prints, combined with simplicity and geometry. I have been surrounded by Native American art from as early as I can remember. My father and grandmother, both artists, drew much of their personal inspiration from this same source. I’ve wanted to use simple tribal prints for garments but found that what I was looking for wasn’t readily available in our industry. So, when AGF asked me to collaborate with them under the Limited Edition concept I knew exactly what I wanted to create for fabric. I took my love of native design and my fantasy of a nomadic, bohemian life in the South West and put that into printed form.

Q: What does the AGF Limited Edition concept mean to you, and what mood or point of view have you brought into this project?

A: The Limited Edition concept is a very freeing idea. AGF has trusted me to express myself through my designs. It’s a dream come true! I hope that I have produced a unique and inspiring collection that excites the modern crafter who wants to sew everything from quilts, to home decor, bags and apparel. The line, as a whole, is very romantic, yet I have tried to offer several gender neutral prints. I definitely bring a modern and edgy point of view.

Q: How did your collaboration with AGF come about?

A: Pat Bravo contacted me with a fun proposal and her call couldn’t have come at a better time. I was on the fence about another project, debating signing a very binding contract with a heavy heart. Pat and I chatted via Skype and I instantly knew that I would politely say “no” to the other idea and “YES” to this amazing opportunity!!!

Q: How has your experience been working alongside Art Gallery Fabrics on this project?

A: Working with AGF has been wonderful! I’ve learned so much from Pat and her team. For example my Adobe Illustrator skills were limited, but while working with Pat I learned to use tools I already had in a brand new way. I have felt encouraged and welcomed and I can’t wait to show my work along side them at Quilt Market this Spring.

Q: Describe your creative process when designing fabric.

A: When designing this line I began by journaling and gathering inspiration. I sketched and wrote quite a bit. I made a secret pin board. I studied my favorite fabrics from other designers and asked myself what it was that I loved about those prints. I studied the shape of objects and looked at all types of things, from pottery, to Native American symbols, quilt patterns, bathroom floor tiles and my children’s toys. I thought a lot about what I would be making from these fabrics and as I designed I was sure to try all my ideas. I edited, added, recolored. It was so fun and minutes quickly turned to hours while I worked on each print!

Q: Can you choose your favorite print from the collection and tell us why it's your favorite?

A: My favorite print would have to be Desert Blanket, because it reminds me of my youngbohemian self who wanted to travel to the South West in a pickup truck with a patterned blanket over the bench seat. A single suitcase and my camera in tow. Ready to ride horses and watch the sunset... I wanted to be a cowgirl and Arizona was my dream destination. In addition to the sentiment, I also think this print is very versatile. It would make a beautiful full skirt or a whole-cloth quilt. It’s perfect for large bags or throw pillows, and it would even be fun to cut up into small patchwork pieces.

Q: What's the one thing you can't live without?

A: A creative outlet! I absolutely must have time for making, sewing, writing, editing, curating... doing. I don’t sit easily and I can’t have idle hands!

Q: What other designers, makers or artists inspire your work?

A: I draw direct inspiration from the un-named artists, and creators of ancient Native American designs. As for modern creative, I am very inspired by Hannah Ferrara of Another Feather, a jewelry artist with an amazing eye for shapes and light, and Ariel Alasko, a woodworker who makes the most incredible patterns with salvaged lumber, her work looks like wooden quilts. I really admire Karyn Valino, owner of The Workroom, for her amazing sense of color and clean simplicity. I adore everything she makes. ... I draw inspiration from all of these women, as well as the many diverse and talented fabric designers: Anna Maria Horner, Leah Duncan, Rashida Coleman Hale, Carolyn Friedlander, Sarah Watson, Amy Butler, I could go on and on... we have such an amazing community of makers!!!

Q: How do you stay on top of current design trends?

A: I love to shop. Even if I’m just browsing, I frequently pop into my favorite local boutiques as well as Anthropologie and others shops like that. I snatch up all the crafty magazines I can get my hands on, especially Mollie Makes! Plus, I also love connecting through Instagram and Pinterest!

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy you live by?

A: "Cherish your visions.Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts. For out of them will grow all delightful conditions, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built."

James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

Q: What are you up to when you're not sewing or designing?

A: Most often you’ll find me cuddling my little girls, or singing and dancing around the house. I enjoy antiquing, home decor DIY and rearranging my furniture. I dabble in photography and I love to read a good mystery. As a family we love to camp and explore our national parks and little historic towns.

Q: Do you have any other upcoming projects lined up for 2014?

A: I plan on traveling to visit some shops in Denver this Spring, then maybe more in the Fall. I hope to teach more classes and women’s workshops. Also, I have a few more patterns in the pipeline.... but mainly I want to make time to sew personal projects, for myself, my girls and our home... and to expand my quilting skills and maybe even finish some of my UFOs!

Hope you enjoyed our chat and thanks for reading!





AGF Limited Edition, Fabrics with Purpose

Hello all!

The wait is over! We’re thrilled with excitement to officially introduce you to Limited Edition! We’re going to tell you what our team of collaborators has been up to and show you some awesome fabrics that will take your breath away.

Some time ago we asked three remarkable designers, April RhodesSara Lawson  and Caroline Hulse, what gap they would like to see filled in the fabric industry regarding contemporary fabrics. they gave us enlightening answers from their individual areas of expertise, and that’s how the concept behind Limited Edition was born.

This project will have, on rotation, a team of designers doing one-time collaborations, each designing fabrics that are beautiful, versatile and effortless to use! 

Limited Edition is here to simplify the sewing process, because we know how challenging sewing can be for beginners. Each line is made of 8 prints in quilting weight, 2 in knit and 1 in voile substrates. 

Each of them is bringing very distinct styles making each collection special and unique; versatility defines Limited Edition’s forte. That's why we love to call it “fabrics with purpose.”

Now let me introduce you to the collections!

Arizona was designed by April Rhodes, her inspiration behind it is tribal and Native American prints combined with geometric shapes. She took her fantasy of a Bohemian life in the South West and put it into printed form.

Meet the ethnic collection Arizona: AprilIG

On the other hand, Jungle Ave. by Sara Lawson, is inspired by city living. She wanted to play the idea of an ‘Urban Jungle,’ and that’s where the image of elephants marry the floral idea with images of the city.

Jungle Ave. modern prints:SaraIG

The third collection of Limited Edition is Gleeful, a mix of feminine romance and contemporary trends. Each piece of Caroline Hulse’s collection tell a story about a young woman pursuing her dreams. She is carefree, romantic, modern, yet classic.

Gleeful feminine fabrics:CarolineIG

Our creative team of designers put this video together to explain what AGF Limited Edition means to them and what point of view they brought into this project. Enjoy!

Limited Edition Collections by Art Gallery Fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics on Vimeo.

Arizona will be available in stores in May; Jungle Ave in June and Gleeful in July.

Thank you so much for reading and we hope you enjoy the news!