Building Plume

A while back I showed y’all the process for the feather print in Plume. That was my way of leaking what I was working on. There are rules you know. You can’t sell the cow before it’s been milked… wait that’s not the metaphor. Anywhoo, it’s out now so all secrecy is behind me and I can starting crafting new secrets.


Drawing drawing drawing, la la lala. After I scan the drawing into Adobe Illustrator I start redrawing the “skeleton” of what the final product will look like. Illustrator is the only program I use. I know that there are a lot of programs that structure your repeats for you and have a lot of fancy tools. I guess I am just an elitist or possibly just stubborn or maybe I can’t move past what I know but this is how I like it. I like to draw every line, every step, do all of the math, much like a psychotic control freak (not that I am one, I have documentation on this).


Filling in the skeleton is the first real glimpse of how the fabric will look. At this point I can determine if one section is beginning to look too heavy or if the spacing is weird (in a bad way as opposed to that quirky awkwardness that is so popular these days). By the time I get to color I’m pretty much sitting on the edge of my seat, now I have to start thinking again but it’s still the home stretch. Hmmmm I’ll put green there and blue there, wait, that’s too heavy and I don’t have any lights in this area blah blah blah… That was a sample of my internal dialog.


Once the pinks are dropped in and the background color is established I can take a little break. Then I come back and realize that it all needs to be tweaked.

This is the original color way. In the end I added some golds and turned up the volume a bit on the whole thing. And this is what you get…


22 Responses to “Building Plume”

  1. I LOVE these behind-the-scenes posts. As in, crazy love. Your sketching is so enviable, and your color sense is just out of this world. Swapping the aqua on the undersides of the petals for the mustardy color? Pure perfection.

    And I’m with you on the whole repeat snobbery thing. It’s like a badge of honor that I know how to do it for my self. And a salve for my OCD to maintain that level of control.

    I wonder…do you use a tablet? Intuos? Cintiq?

  2. Fascinating. I really enjoy seeing your process – I am a fabric design geek, and I’m proud of it!

  3. I have an Intuos. My dad gave it to me a few years ago. It’s old and big and lovely. They make even fancier ones now but I like my old clunker. We understand each other.

  4. It is absolutely lovely.
    And your explanation of the behind the scene work to create fabric design is very interesting.

  5. WOW! Seriously, wow. My jaw is open…

    I played around with simple repeat patterns when learning to silkscreen by hand, but this is amazing!

  6. thanks for sharing!! you know i love to see your process… almost as much as i like to play with your fabric… one day i’ll have your mad illustrator skills.. one day.

  7. Jen, It’s an amazing line…. your process- how ever tedious pays off in your originality. No one does what you do ;)


  8. Looks like a lot of work! But thoroughly appreciate the end products. Absolutely gorgeous fabrics – have already bought the pink and mint green Tailfeathers!

  9. Love to hear your thoughts, Tula:)
    and… as a psychotic control freak… I’m not at all ashamed of preferring illustrator to all the other programs in the world:)
    Love your process!

  10. Amazing! I love how you are so detailed in your sketches, both pencil and illustrator! You are so very talented!

  11. I just did a post on this print and came over here so I could link to your blog! How fun to see you explaining it! This collection makes my heart sing (really, truly). It’s stunning and vibrant and is so soft and nice to sew with. It’s really the best of everything and I can’t wait to see what you’re planning next!

  12. Your work is so beautiful and it is such a treat that you let us all peek in at your process! Love it!

  13. Love it! I scan my stuff in and get out the pen tool on Illustrator as well…but holy geez! I would have no patience to pen tool to this much detail. I Love it!

  14. i love seeing the process. thanks for sharing.

  15. Wow! I had no idea what fabric design was really like. Thanks for the little inside peek. LOVE the design and colors! Can’t wait to get it in our store!

  16. How serendipitous, I just bought a pack of Plume at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt show yesterday and today I find your blog! Meant to be.
    xo, suzy

  17. How wonderful! What a lush design – Thank you for sharing!

  18. LOVE this line! Question…I am making a quilt with this line…2 charm packs and 1 honey bun are required. However, I am having trouble finding a honey bun in this line. Were they produced? If so, do you know where I can find one?
    (just email me if you know)

  19. These are amazing! I admire your patience to create these designs!

  20. You have the talent I wish I had (I tried to get into graphic design but got a NO… haven’t tried again :/) ……. I love reading your internal dialog :) Thank you for showing how you do the pretty pretty things that makes so many of us happy….. = fabrics!!

  21. Hi,Is it still possible to buy this fabric-plume in mint,lime and peony?Etsy has just one-1 Yard cost $20.Why can’t it be reprinted?


    • Hi Isabela,

      This fabric has been out of print for quite some time, about three years or maybe more. It’s not going to be reprinted because I am so super busy making new stuff! The list of reasons why it cannot be reprinted is long and boring so I won’t go into it here. Always look to the future!! Yay!


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