Designing Wildflowers and Honey
1.20.2016

 

Wildflowers and Honey Collection by Country Essentials for Connecting Threads.

Wildflowers and Honey Collection by Country Essentials for Connecting Threads.

Have you ever wondered about reproduction fabric? What makes it a “reproduction” fabric? What are the copyright laws on reproducing fabric? How does one reproduce a vintage fabric?

Reproduction fabric collections are BIG in the world of quilting. Reproducing vintage fabric is so prevelant, you could walk into any fabric store and find something in a collection that is a “reproduction”, even if it is not labeled as such. Fabric design has always been this way. Why reinvent the perfect calico rosebud fabric when there already is one?

It is legal to reproduce a copyrighted fabric design as long as the original is used for inspiration rather than directly copied. If the design is changed by 35%, it is considered to be a new work. How that 35% is determined is a bit of a grey area, but examples might include changing the background color, adding a swirl, removing a flower, and so on.

If no copyright exists, it is legal to copy the design entirely. Of course, many old fabric designs, including most calicoes, were never copyrighted to begin with. Others have had their copyright expire and therefore considered to be in the public domain, free to copy.

Scanned images of the original vintage swatches that inspired the Wildflowers & Honey fabric collection.

Scanned images of the original vintage swatches that inspired the Wildflowers & Honey fabric collection.

All of the reproduction fabric collections produced by Connecting Threads are inspired by public domain swatches, collected from various sources including antique shops, garage sales, the basement of a friend, ebay, anywhere! There are entire businesses built around collecting and selling vintage and antique fabric swatches for reproduction and design inspiration.

Winthur's stash of vintage fabric swatches kept at her desk here at CT- this is just a portion of it!

Winthur’s stash of vintage fabric swatches kept at her desk here at CT for design inspiration- this is just a portion of it!

I started to develop Wildflowers and Honey as a reproduction collection with a country vibe. You can see from the original Cheater Cloth from this collection that it was very different!

Cheater cloth I initially designed for this collection with various coordinate fabrics, colored up in more homey, country hues.

Cheater cloth I initially designed for this collection with various coordinate fabrics, colored up in more homey, country hues.

Then, as I wrote about in my last blog post about designing Pen & Inked, I traveled to London. I was visiting London to meet my newborn baby nephew and help my sister be a mom for the first time, so I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time for sightseeing or shopping. However, one place I KNEW I just had to visit was Liberty of London’s Haberdashery (a.k.a fabric and notions department). This venerable London establishment has been producing some of the worlds finest fabric since the 1890’s, more than a century! The Liberty aesthetic is synonymous with one of my favorite periods of design, the Arts and Crafts movement.

Liberty Department Store

Liberty Department Store

Assorted Liberty Printed fabric designs from their infamous Tana Lawn Collection.

Assorted Liberty Printed fabric designs from their infamous Tana Lawn Collection.

Upon returning to the office, and without even telling anyone (sorry, Teri!), I recolored the entire collection to reflect the Liberty aesthetic. I had to. I just had to. I was a woman possessed by Liberty, the store, not the noun. Although I guess there was a bit of liberty taking there, too  🙂

Wildflowers and Honey in it's fresh new hues!  Ahhhhh.... I could breathe again.

Wildflowers and Honey in it’s fresh new hues! Ahhhhh…. I could breathe again.

As a happy ending to my story, the collection in it’s new coloration was well received. I just had to redesign the cheater cloth. I went with a Half Square Triangle pattern because I thought it was reminiscent of the collection- a classic, standby design that looks fresh and modern in bright hues.

quilt and photo courtesy of Squares and Triangles blog

Quilt and photo courtesy of Squares and Triangles blog

Quilt and photo courtesy of Red Pepper Quilts.

Quilt and photo courtesy of Red Pepper Quilts blog

I really want to make whole cloth duvet covers for my daughters out of this cheater cloth, and embroider along the stitch lines.  I would use the new Chambray Denim from our Quilter’s Candy Basic collection for the other side. (If you wanted to make a bigger, pieced duvet or quilt from this collection, I developed the Chambray Denim as a 104″ wide backing fabric.)

 

And there you go, another reproduction fabric collection down in the books.

I hope you enjoy sewing with it.

Thanks for reading!

-Winthur

Wildflowers and Honey Cheater Cloth

Wildflowers and Honey Cheater Cloth


4 comments

  1. Becky Schultz - January 20, 2016

    Super fun fabric and project ideas to go along with that fabric. Also, interesting info on “reproduction” fabric guidelines.

    Reply
  2. Elizabeth McDonald - January 20, 2016

    Fascinating – I enjoyed reading this post! I wish you had given a date for your inspirational jumping-off-point fabric; You said Arts & Crafts and that makes me think of the Arts & Crafts movement in the 1920’s and the wonderful bungalows built then. Am I correct?

    Reply
  3. Ann - January 21, 2016

    Thanks for sharing the background on this collection and your sources of inspiration. Another great collection! I will be adding these fabrics to a 1930s doll quilt I plan to hand piece soon.

    Reply
  4. Kathleen - January 21, 2016

    Interesting read. Definitely a lot of time and thought goes into designing a collection.

    Reply

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