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Continuing trends, cultured prints, and classic patterns

The fall Market show floor in review

by Rhianna Griffin

Fall Quilt Market in Houston has come and gone for another year. And although it’s been an eventful month since the close of the show, we’ve officially had the time to digest many of the new and ongoing trends eInsider spotted on the show floor (in addition to a fair amount of leftover Halloween candy and Thanksgiving turkey).

So, what new and noteworthy designs and products made an appearance at this year’s fall show? Too many to name, really. But there were certainly a few that caught our eye among the color and chaos. And within that crop of entirely new designs were many representing trends continued from the last edition of Market (and noted here).

New products, familiar fads

Print from Betz White's Stitch collection.
The presence of organic fabrics on the Market floor continues to grow. This show saw new offerings from repeat exhibitors Cloud9 Fabrics (Ed Emberley's Happy Drawing, Alegria by Geninne D. Zlatkis, and Monsterz by Michéle Brummer Everett), Birch Fabrics (Circa 52, Commute, and Mod Basics), Monaluna (Taali), and Daisy Janie (Tilly).

Additionally, Robert Kaufman added several new collections to its greenSTYLE eco-friendly line, including Chick Chick by Mod Green Pod’s Nancy Mims, Modern Whimsy by Laurie Wisbrun, and, even an organic collection featuring Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. Popular green crafter, author, and designer Betz White also introduced her first wholesale quilt fabric collection, titled “Stitch,” as part of the greenSTYLE line. This aptly named collection, White says, was inspired by stitchers and the beautiful handiwork they create.

In fact, the needlework-inspired motifs featured in the collection were perfectly on-trend with several of the other new patterns and designs introduced at Market, including embroidery patterns and needlepoint canvas from Anna Maria Horner and new quilt and project patterns that incorporate embroidery from Cinderberry Stitches (a continuation of a trend we first noted after spring Market).

Print from Valori Wells' Karavan collection.

As on the show floor last spring, eInsider continued to see a full spectrum of fun laminated fabrics for use in sewing and crafting projects, including laminate versions of Amy Butler’s Lark Collection (Rowan) and Sandi Henderson’s Secret Garden (Michael Miller Fabrics).

We also spotted a good number of fashion- and home-dec-weight fabrics geared toward the home and garment sewist. Among these, Karavan, Valori Wells’ new collection for FreeSpirit, is available in cotton, flannel, and a new substrate for the designer—jersey knit. Still, it was actually the collection’s richly hued, Indian-influenced design that really caught eInsider’s eye.

Going global

With its paisley elephants and soft, sari-inspired florals and prints, Well’s eclectic new collection pays homage to the Indian aesthetic without going overboard. The elephants, she explains, started with the birth of her young son. “I silk-screened elephants for his room, and from there, they got stuck in my head, and I turned them into fabric.

Print from Jennifer Sampou's Fiesta collection.

“Design ideas are funny to me,” she continues. “They come about in odd combinations of inspiration. The elephant and my love of adding design to objects and color all came together to create Karavan. Although I have never been to India, I have looked and looked at beautiful photos of the color and design that comes from the country. I believe that, in my journey, there are influences from more than my little community of Sisters, Oregon, but I can’t always pinpoint why my fabric comes together the way it does.”

In addition to Karavan, eInsider was excited to see several vibrant, global-inspired fabric collections on the Market show floor. For her Stockholm collection for Robert Kaufman, designer Robin Zingone captured the clean, simple shapes and lines of modern Scandinavian design, while designer Pat Bravo reinterpreted the same for Art Gallery’s new Modernology collection.

Several designers seemed to have found inspiration for their recent collections south of the border. Alexander Henry celebrated two new Mexican-flavored additions to their Folklorico collections—Barcelona and Zocalo—with a fun, colorful Day-of-the-Dead-themed Market booth. 

And after taking a few-year sabbatical, designer Jennifer Sampou has returned to the fabric scene with her lively new collection for Robert Kaufman, Fiesta. Although inspired by the art, color, and culture of the Central Mexican town in which she and her family currently reside, the Fiesta collection is actually comprised of soft, watercolor-like floral, striped, and geometric designs (as opposed to a more traditional, Mexican aesthetic). 

Classic, clean, contemporary

Ikat print from Dear Stella Design's Heirloom collection

Among the most buzzed-about new exhibitors at this year’s show were two who, though from different ends of the sewing spectrum—one produces fabrics and the other patterns—both represent a modern, yet entirely timeless design style. 

Dear Stella Design (whose parent company is Timeless Treasures) is a new and unique fabric brand created with the intention of offering classic designs with a contemporary spin. Of the new collections introduced at Market, each possesses a clean, modern feel with a feminine flair—a style that should appeal to quilters and sewists of all tastes.

“The idea is that any beautiful design can be used in sewing and quilting—it doesn’t need to be the typical quilting formula,” Dear Stella Director Jamie Arcuri explains. “These designs are largely inspired by interior design and fashion. In our minds, Dear Stella is a great marriage of tradition and trends. The colors and designs aren’t hard to understand. Even if it isn’t your style, the fabrics are beautiful and fresh, and can work in your everyday life.”

Arcuri and an in-house stylist are responsible for developing all of the brand’s designs. “As a team, we decide on the color and design direction for the entire collection,” she says. “In the new textile environment, there are so many new names and personalities. Our goal, at this stage, is to build Dear Stella as a brand, instead of focusing on several different licensed designers and losing the image of what Dear Stella is.”

Another designer with an equally distinct style is Sarai Mitnick of Colette Sewing Patterns, whose debut appearance at Market was the source of some serious elation among the sewists in attendance (particularly those of the garment variety). Mitnick’s designs, while timeless—and, often vintage-inspired—are made wholly modern through unique details and true wearability.

“I look for inspiration from the styles of past decades, but my goal is to make them very wearable for a woman today,” she explains. “What I like about vintage designs are the flattering lines and the femininity. They really complement a woman’s shape, and that’s the aspect I want to bring to my patterns.

Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick.

“At the same time, I try to stay aware of modern trends and what real women love to wear in their day-to-day lives,” she continues. “I want my patterns to be comfortable and versatile. My goal is really to help sewists make beautiful things that really fit into their wardrobes. I like a certain classic simplicity, and I think that’s something a lot of women respond to.”

In addition to her individual patterns, Mitnick was also at Market to promote her new book, The Colette Sewing Handbook, which outlines her “five simple fundamentals” for perfecting any sewing project and includes five patterns to help readers practice these “fundamentals” and start to build a customized wardrobe. And it’s this ability to create something entirely personal and unique that Mitnick attributes to the current popularity of garment sewing.

“I believe that many people are responding to what’s going on in the world today and to consumer culture with a return to the handmade and a renewed interest in ‘old fashioned’ skills,” she says. “There is something joyful and calming about being able to make things for yourself, and being connected to the objects in your life, home, and even on your body.

“I believe that garment sewing is just one piece of that larger trend, and it’s one that I’m very excited to be a part of! It’s not that garment sewing ever went away, but it is wonderful that skills like this are being given new life.” (Naturally, eInsider couldn’t agree more!)

And thus concludes our official post-Market breakdown. Remember—new products and trends seen on the Market floor set the tone for the year to come. So, stock those shelves accordingly!

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