Behind the Scenes with Sarah Maxwell of Designs by Sarah J

We took a few minutes with Sarah as she discussed her design process and REVVED UP RETRO...

"Don't most quilters dream of designing fabric? You see an interesting tile design and wonder how it would look interpreted in fabric. Or, you work on a quilt design and think about how it would be better if you just had a print that included certain colors. After years of designing quilts for magazines and for Marcus Fabrics to support other designers' lines, the long-awaited conversation finally happened. And, it was better than I could have imagined. Instead of worrying whether my ideas fit a historical era or specified niche, I had the opportunity to just pause and think about what elements draw me into a project.

The first element is always color. Sometimes, I get so distracted with experimenting with color combinations that I fall behind on the actual sewing. While some people struggle with matching colors and prints or planning a quilt from scratch, I LOVE experimenting and trying different combinations, always in search of the perfect outcome.

After spending years working with reproduction palettes, I knew it was time to embrace more updated colors--colors that would appeal to my twenty-something daughters, colors that would work for clothing, for home decor, for today's lifestyles.

The next element is hard to verbalize, but the closest word I can come up with is interest. While solids may be all the rage, I embrace prints--prints that have more than one thing going on, whether it be multiple colors, different effects when the print is cut apart & used, or just a riot of color.

Finally, it's the sense of whether I see myself loving a print enough to develop a connection with it, to want to work with it through the whole evolution of a project--from selecting the fabrics, to refining a pattern, to actually making a project. Good projects take time, so I'll be living with these fabrics and colors for a while--are they going to keep me excited during the creative process...and beyond?

All of these elements have come together in REVVED UP RETRO. With a subtle nod to the past (because I'll never forget all the years spent working with reproductions) and a strong nod to the present and future, this line is a modern take on a retro theme.

Each of the prints in this collection has a name--a fun take on word play. And behind each name is a little story. If you've ever spent time "people watching" and imagining the stories going on beneath everyone's surface persona, you know that each print has a story to tell. I hope you'll love Revved Up Retro as much as I do and you'll create your own stories with these fabrics!

Sarah J. Maxwell
Designs by Sarah J

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