Welcome back to another edition of Designer Tidbits. Our special guest of the day is Denyse Schmidt, talking about her Hadley
collection for Free Spirit Fabrics
. As a former graphic designer, Denyse reinterprets tradition to create modern designs that are vintage-inspired and fresh, and Hadley
is no exception. Read on to learn more about her new collection and her inspirations.
us a little about the Hadley collection. What were you inspired by?
A: Like almost all my fabric collections for FreeSpirit, Hadley is inspired by the
special towns and places of my native New England. Hadley is a town along the
Connecticut River that has roots dating back to the Puritans. It was, and still
is to some degree, pastoral and unspoiled. The campus of Mount Holyoke College
is nearby. My mother spent some of her undergraduate education there (cut short
by illness), so it has some resonance with me personally, besides the area in
general being near where I grew up. Mount Holyoke is part of the “Seven
Sisters” roster of what were historically women’s colleges, all founded in the
mid- to late- 1800’s (including Radcliffe, Smith, Bryn Mawr, Vassar, Barnard
and Wellesley). They attracted brainy, beautiful, independent, and assured
women (like my mom). I starting finding AWESOME vintage photos of “Seven
Sisters” college life, and these helped the idea and designs gel. I also found
some fun contemporary fashion images that resonated with the vintage styles –
that parallel is so much what my style is about – both vintage and new side-by-side, and timeless as a result.
is your design process when beginning a new collection?
A: I always
start with the patterns: pulling scraps and bits from my extensive vintage
collection, finding new relationships and overlap, creating a new collection
from random and miscellaneous patterns and ideas that draws on vintage prints
but that feels new and now. Once I have an assemblage of print fragments, I
draw the patterns in Adobe Illustrator. In this stage, things will morph in
scale, design elements, or complexity. The goal is to create a cohesive group
of prints that aren't necessarily matchy-matchy. I do tend to rely on certain themes in my designs – a plaid, small calico-type prints, all-over florals or
geometrics, and directional designs. I feel this creates a solid group without
too much overlap but which can be mixed and matched to create anything from
quilts to apparel to home accessories. The color comes last, and though I
usually have some idea of where I want it to go, it’s essentially a trial and
error process. I’m very visual so I need to see the various combinations and
look at everything together. The direction and “right” colorways emerge through
the process of seeing and looking, and sooner or later it all comes together!
would you describe your style?
but with a contemporary mindset.
projects do you hope to see made with Hadley?
ladylike dresses for afternoon tea (for women and girls of all ages) would be
so fun, or the vintage collegiate look of peter pan collar blouses and an
a-line skirt. Hats! Back-to-school projects including fabric book covers and
totes would be lovely.
being a quilt designer, I think Hadley is perfect for all types of quilts –
especially scrap-type quilts. There are more low-volume prints in Hadley than I
typically include, which lends that all-over, softer look in a quilt. The
pre-cut bundles come with several coordinating solids from my Modern SolidsCollection, which makes it a snap to add some contrast or pop to any project
you are making.
I designed a
quilt pattern called In This Corner that uses all the Hadley prints and solids
included in the fat quarter bundle (one bundle will make up to a king-size
quilt)! You can see some really clever and fun quilts that members of the
Southern CT Modern Quilt Guild are creating with Hadley as part of our Hadley
Challenge, on their blog or on my Facebook page.
Labels: Designer Interview, Designer Tidbits, Fat Quarter Shop Fun