The best thing about creating the HOME Button Lover’s Club box was working with a very dear friend. Created to include in the HOME box, the Home Sewn mini quilt shows off the rich colors and playful florals of the brand new Home Grown fabrics—designed by Nancy Halvorsen. We’ve been working with Nancy since 1997, making buttons to match the delightful images she’s drawn to fill over 60 books and patterns. And quilters know that Nancy also uses her own fabric, printed by Benartex, to make those images come alive. Fabric and patterns make Nancy’s designs special, but each fabric line also inspires other projects–including our new mini quilt. The HOME box gave us the perfect reason to create with the lovely blues, aquas and greens, and add splashes of whimsical floral prints. We named our mini quilt Home Sewn in honor of the Home Grown fabrics.
We asked Nancy Halvorsen, artist and designer behind Art to Heart, and our friend, to tell you a little bit about how she creates a fabric line. Here are her words:
I’m excited to do a guest post for Just Another Button Company’s blog! I have been using their beautiful and creative buttons to embellish my projects for over 20 years! I love how buttons add a dimensional texture, fun detail and color to my projects. Texture and color are so important to me in making my projects beautiful and interesting. (Where else can I get a fun “dog nose” button or a button that fits exactly with my theme and color?)
When I am designing a fabric line, I always consider the colors and the textures that will be created with the different fabrics. I know I want some large, bold prints, some smaller prints and some pieces I call “rest” pieces that don’t draw too much attention to themselves. If all of the fabric is busy with color and pattern, I lose the details in my appliqué designs and attention will be drawn away from the elements I want to showcase. I also use some stripes or plaids to add that texture I love and am always looking for.
When I start designing a fabric line, I have in mind what theme I want to use in my pattern book. If it’s going to be a block of the month with a block to represent each month of the year, I know I will need a variety of colors, for spring flowers, summer flags, fall pumpkins, Christmas Santas and holly. I choose colors that will coordinate and compliment each other in the line. If the fabric line is just for Christmas, I still like to use some “non” Christmas colors to add variety and to make the other colors “pop”. I try to design fabric that can be used almost anytime, so you can use your fabric stash in all sorts of ways.
When I design fabric and when I design my quilt projects, I start out by hand sketching my ideas on paper. When I have a pretty good idea of the layout and the design, I scan my sketch into the computer and re-draw it. On my computer I love how easy it is to move the elements around and resize them until I can get them just right.
After the design is done, I add the colors, shading and details on my computer. I start making each of the fabric designs in the different color-ways I want to complete the line. Using the computer to do this makes it easy for me to give the fabric company all of the color chips I have used for each design. Color chips are like the row of colored dots you see on the selvage of a fabric.
When the fabric designs are complete, I use my computer to “fill in” my project designs with the fabric designs before I ever have the actual fabric in hand. I have to send the fabric designs to the fabric company long before I have my quilts designed, so it is very helpful to have the fabric designs on my computer.
I love designing the fabrics and quilts I want for my own home and to share with my family and friends. I’m so grateful for all of the support and kindness I receive from the wonderful people in the quilt world. Happy sewing!