Q: Where did you find your original inspiration for Cruiser Blvd?
A: Cruiser Blvd originally grew out of the “Child’s Play with Kate and Nate” design collection I debuted in 2009. As I said back then, the collection was inspired by memories of “the sweet and simple time when one is beginning to play, explore, and learn. When a bug is the most amazing toy, ever! When a kitten gives in to the pressure of becoming a ‘baby doll.’
Kate and Nate became two halves of a fabric collection I did for Northcott in 2010. The “Nate” part of that line showed many different boyhood activities, including a few images of Nate in a pedal car and some street signs. Last year, Riley Blake Designs asked me to develop Nate into a full collection of its own, and Cruiser Blvd was born
A: Although it features slightly older kids, I recently saw the movie “Moonrise Kingdom” and I felt it captures a similar feeling of innocence about childhood that I was attempting to convey with the Kate and Nate characters.
Q: Tell me about your sewing machine(s). What kinds do you have and how many?
A: I have two retro sewing machines. The first is just like my mom’s machine from my childhood that I learned to sew on, a machine I love because it’s full of memories. But I also love it because it’s just so tiny and so darn cute. It is the Singer Featherweight, circa 1970. My Featherweight came from a thrift store a few years ago. I was delighted when I found it for $12.98 complete with storage case, attachments and instruction book.
The other machine, an aqua-colored Japanese-made “Fleetwood” from the 1950s, was a gift from my dear husband right after my daughter was born. He found it in a sewing machine shop and realized it was both sturdy and stylish, and he apparently thought I would be sewing a lot for a new baby girl!
Fast forward twenty years, and that baby girl now out-sews me. In fact, she and I used one of my fabrics to sew matching dresses last summer. Both old machines worked beautifully and will probably still be working when the next generation comes along.
A: Since I actually don’t sew much myself, I’d have to say I appreciate the creativity of people who buy my fabric designs and come up with things that brighten their lives.
Q: From what aspect of your life do you draw creativity?
A: Charles Schulz, the Peanuts creator, used to say, “Don’t ask me where I get my ideas” because he could not answer it. Like a lot of artists, I’d have to say that a better question would be: What aspect of my life don’t I draw creativity from?!
A: The “mini-cars” patterns are probably my favorite because I tend to prefer small prints (available in blue, yellow and green).
Q: What is the most challenging part of the design process?
A: For me, the biggest challenge is limiting myself to a particular theme in each collection. Riley-Blake has made a very comprehensive collection out of Cruiser Blvd, with something for everybody, but I can imagine a dozen more collections for both Nate and Kate!
A: Soft pink, moss green, and eggshell blue are my “primary colors.” I think color is one of those things that just hits you on an emotional level and there really is no logical “why” to it. In general, my original designs have very little of the primary and secondary colors found in the classic 8-stick crayon box. However, designers have to recognize there are a range of tastes in the marketplace and meet those needs.