Earlier this week I was reading the fabulous True Up blog and saw that fabric designer Lizzy House had released a new e-book called ‘How to Enter the World of Textile Design: For the Quilting Industry’ ($25 US). I nearly choked on my baked potato (yes, reading blogs while eating lunch – again!). This is exactly the kind of book I’ve been looking for. In January I made a plan to start designing fabrics this year, and while I’m still at the beginning stages, I know that eventually I’ll be trying to design a fabric line that gets taken up by a manufacturer.
I immediately sent myself a reminder email to buy the e-book as soon as I got home… but after about 10 minutes of trying to do work and still thinking about the book, I decided to buy it right away. Transaction went well, download not so great, thanks to my work computer not having enough memory for anything bigger than 10MB (the e-book is about 275MB, so it takes a while to download and needs a lot of space free). Extremely frustrated by the piddly amount of memory on my work computer, I emailed Lizzy herself to see whether I could still download it onto a different computer (my own, much more trusty laptop – yeah, the one with six keys that don’t work but which still has never caused me a minute’s trouble with available memory). Lizzy replied very quickly and assured me that she’d guide me through downloading the e-book at home if I couldn’t do it with the link I’d saved. As it happened, the link did work and I managed to download the e-book right away when I got home (after what seemed like an interminable afternoon waiting to get home) – but thanks, Lizzy, for being so willing to help!
The book was everything I’d hoped it would be. First of all, it looks beautiful – some great photos, lovely colour combinations and nice design – but of course, the content is what’s most important and it really was exactly what it said in the title. Lizzy gives an account of her own experiences breaking into the textile design market, and then some very clear guidelines about how to put together a fabric collection. ‘Anatomy of a collection’ was the most useful section for me personally, because I haven’t gotten as far as getting ready to present a collection (another really useful section), but I know that as I continue experimenting with design, I’ll have those points in mind so I know what to work towards. I was pleased to see that a lot of things I’ve noticed about fabric collections but never really taken the time to analyze fully (especially in the Colour section) were confirmed for me in the e-book – it’s as if Lizzy has written them all down and made very clear. My only small niggle was a few typos/correctable mistakes.
All in all, though, it’s a winner. I was so engrossed in my reading that I nearly finished the book in one evening – until I was told very sternly, for about the fifth time, to go to bed!
I’d highly recommend this e-book to anyone who’s interested in knowing how the quilting industry works, and who is planning on submitting their designs to manufacturers. There’s no design instruction – it’s assumed that you’ve already gotten familiar with that part yourself, which is clear and obvious from the title. There are plenty of great books about design. This one’s about the industry, and I’m really glad that someone wrote it, because I don’t think this information is readily available.
I’m really looking forward to referring to Lizzy’s book over and over again. I’ll certainly be looking at fabric collections with a new eye from now on. Especially the 200 metres’ worth of fabrics we’ll be using for the V&A’s Patchwork Social, which I’m in the middle of planning right now! (YES! I figure that since Sue Prichard has mentioned it in her blog, I’m allowed to talk about it on mine now… sometimes I think I have the best job in the world. More about the Patchwork Social in a future post.)