Here’s my entry to this week’s limited colour palette Spoonflower design challenge. As a lifelong collector of ephemera and philately, the travel-themed novelty prints of the 1950s featuring stamps and luggage labels have always appealed to me. My aim was to create a design that would call back to those original 1950s prints.
“Bird-o-Rama” is a design I reproduced a few years back from a 1955 Sears catalogue, which I recently decided to extend into a full collection and add a new colourway.
Despite the hype surrounding the wonders of artificial silk, early rayon suffered from an image problem. Manufacturers were often coy in their advertising, frequently avoiding the term “artificial” in favour of euphemisms. It was time to give the new fibre its own identity.
If you love vintage fashions, you probably have a fondness for rayon. Welcome to a new series of posts examining the fashion histories of different fibres and fabrics.
I can't get enough of vintage novelty "printspiration"; my Pinterest boards are full of novelty designs from the 1940s and 50s - atomic-inspired designs, conversational prints and abstracted florals. What's great about this book is that it puts 1950s fashion textile design in context. The introduction explains the social and artistic influences of the post-war era, including the 1951 Festival of Britain and modern innovations in production processes such as the introduction of an automatic screen printing process in 1957.
The book is arranged into five sections: Abstraction; Narrative, Novelty & The Jive; Artistic Licence; Kinetic; Domestic. Images include reproduced print adverts and sample cards from textile manufacturers as well as full-page prints of fabrics themselves. Each chapter provides additional social context for motifs, style and application, along with commentary and designer/manufacturer details and technical specifications for sampled designs.
I was honoured to place fifth in the first Spoonflower weekly design challenge to be announced in 2018 - what a great start to the year, right? I get asked a lot about how I go about designing a pattern, so I thought it might be fun to share the design process from inspiration to concept to final fabric.