Here is a little bit of the story behind the inspiration for Gingham Girls, my very first fabric collection for Riley Blake Designs.
Quilt Market- the semi-annual trade show for the sewing and fabric industry – just wrapped up in Houston this weekend. I was sad to miss, but excited that a part of me was there to represent. My first fabric collection, Gingham Girls, produced by Penny Rose/Riley Blake Design fabrics, was shown to shop owners and fabric buyers for the first time. Since the cat is out of the bag I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the inspiration behind my collection.
Growing up, my mom made a lot of the clothes my sisters and I wore – just as her mother had done for her. She especially loved to dress us in matching clothes (that’s me with the buck-teeth cheese grin on the right). And since funds were tight, the most common fabric she used was good old gingham. Not only did we have gingham clothes, we had gingham curtains, doll clothes, bed quilts, and doll quilts.
About the time I was born (mid 1970’s) my mom also made her first patchwork quilt in red, white, and navy blue. I’m guessing she made it around the time of the US Bicentennial (1976) when patriotic colors were very popular.
Quilting cottons were not widely available so she did the best she could finding calicoes and prints on polyester blends to go with her stash of gingham. I love that it’s a simple tied, patchwork quilt, but has stood the test of time – and held up remarkably well!
Fortunately fabric options have come a long way since then, but this collection is an homage to that decade, my childhood, and my mom’s first quilt. Little did she know what she was starting…
We grew-up using that quilt a lot – and since it was patriotic looking, we always used it to sit on for fire-work watching. As a result, it fondly became known as the 4th of July quilt. And here it is, still in action this past summer with the daughters of those original Gingham Girls still using it.
Here’s a little more inspiration from my late 70’s childhood. With a name like Amy you have to know I was a child of the 70’s. There was always at least one other Amy, if not 4 in every one of my school classes. (I did think it was pretty cool though, that the president had a daughter with my same name.)
So this is not the mod-version of the 70’s, but the Holly Hobbie, Little House on the Prairie, My Friend Mandy, Raggedy Ann, Gingham Paper Dolls version of my childhood. Does any of this sound familiar? What else reminds you of that era?
In doing research for this collection I also found this image on Pinterest and it SO perfectly encapsulated the period and the look I was going for – especially the addition of gold – so perfect for this era. (Anyone else have a kitchen with Harvest Gold appliances?) You can see more of my inspiration in this Gingham Girls mood board in Pinterest – and perhaps take a walk down memory lane.
And so, without further ado, here is the first official internet sneak peak of the storyboard for this Gingham Girls, including all the prints that will make up this collection. The line is also designed to coordinate perfectly with other Riley Blake basics like their Swiss Dot (my favorite!) and solids. (Update – sadly, these fabrics – printed in 2017 – are out of print.)
The most fun though: this line will also include woven ginghams! They feel so much more authentic to me. 🙂 The prints are also designed to play well with denims and chambrays. You could even make a denim leisure suit – pants + vest – and wear it with a gingham shirt. 😉
Gingham Girls won’t be available in stores until April 2017, but it is available for shop owners to order now. When the time gets closer I’ll be sharing pictures of the actual fabric itself as well as brand new quilt patterns that will go with it! Thanks to all for the kind words of encouragement and support. mwah!
And if you want to hear more about how Gingham Girls came to be, plus a bunch of other quilty chit-chat, I just did a fun interview with Stephanie of Modern Sewciety. You can hear the full podcast here. Stephanie has lots of fun, in-depth interviews with lots of interesting people in the sewing and quilting world. You can find them all here.