Stand Alone

I do a bunch of Stand Alone fabrics which in the industry sometimes has difficulty when there is a coordinated sentiment from our clientele.  I feel a need to discuss and certainly in no way apologize for the way I design.  Believe me I love when things come together and things all coordinate but its not what I'm called to do.  I try and try to make it all match but sometimes the blue in one fabric has no meaning for me in another and I am not at peace.  For awhile I thought oh you are just making it up because you don't have the skill to make it all work together but that's not true.  If I could do one fabric and introduce it in a million stand alone color ways I would but they don't make for great quilts I'm afraid.   Sometimes I look at the quilts of our ancestors mostly patchwork made from all different categories of fabric and I am moved to tears nothing matches and could be construed as irreverent but they  are so innocent and ill conceived that in their naive way they are beautiful. I go on ebay just to look at the mismatched patchworks!!..I love and respect all my designer friends who have the gift to make it all work together.  There is such a huge resource of talent and certainly something for everyone.  But if for any reason the greens don't go together understand its my intention and in their irregularity for whatever reason is my brilliance appearing insane. I think Sis Boom fabrics all work together in their islandy appeal and if you like them they will all work for you. just needed to talk out  loud!  Thanks for listening.


63 Responses to “Stand Alone”

  1. mo says:

    Well said. It is hard to copmpromise one thing just so it will work back to something else. I think there is a lot of good energy that comes from something that has a little something unexpected to it. Like greens that don’t entirely match.

  2. Kathryn says:

    This makes complete sense to me and I thank you for saying it! I love your fabrics, all of them!

  3. Melissa P says:

    We need more innocence and naivete in our creative efforts. Too many perfectly matched quilts are a lot like a room full of perfectly identical personalities–boring. Thanks for mixing it up and adding some excitement!

  4. Rosemary says:

    It’s lovely.

  5. Rosy Lady says:

    I love your fabrics and have never particularly been a fan of everything matching perfectly, too boring! Besides, you have to be true to yourself. That’s what makes you YOU. We like you and your designs just as they are.

  6. erika says:

    I do not know many artists that are happy when forced to compromise. Designing a fabric collection that will coordinate with last season’s collection may make sense monetarily for the business but it is not always the most artful and not what everyone needs or wants. And after a while I think it is too redundant… I like your fabrics and the fact that when I use them they stand out. on.their.own.
    Oh, and I told my husband I want one of those things for my embroidery machine (still too tired to think of the gadget’s name) so I can download those gorgeous patterns from SWAK.

  7. Teresa says:

    You’ve gotta do what feels right to you. Artist types don’t fit well in a box.
    I did something terrible last night. I let my 10yo loose on your Sis Boom site. Another fabric addict is born. There are quilts swirling in her head, and pillows, and Christmas presents…
    Is it weird to give a little girl fabric for her birthday?

  8. Tabitha O. says:

    The world all matchy matchy makes for a boring place my lady. I ADORE old patchwork quilts as every patch tells a story, every stitch, the quirkier the better!
    Keep being unique ’cause that is what draws me personally to the passion that you have for your art.
    Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us fabric lovers!

  9. ccn says:

    you needn’t explain. each fabric is like a child and it’s simply fun when they “play nice” together in perfect combination. Keep ’em coming!

  10. I LOVE NOT matchy-matchy!!! I LOVE asymmetry!!! I LOVE putting something in a quilt that “doesn’t” belong…just to make you look…twice!!! Keep doing what you’re doing!!! It WORKS. ; )

  11. Aunt Spicy says:

    I am in the middle of a quilt for a friends daughter…a lot of 4.5 squares. I am using fabrics from each of your designs (I think) and another designer. It is turning out beautifully, I think the lack of matchy-matchy is what makes it so fun! Who cares if the greens are not the exact shade, they complement each other in their design. A choir does not sing just one note, a garden does not have just one color of flower, the sky is not just one shade…and your designs are stunning just as you design them!

  12. Firefly Hill says:

    Jennifer…I love all of your fabrics and I think they blend beautifully together. Matchy is boring…

  13. Cathy says:

    I made a little project with scraps of your fabrics from different lines. I was astonished when I took a step back and they all went together beautifully. It wasn’t something I planned at all and that’s when I got it….don’t match!!!! So I know what you are saying here! Please continue to be the brilliant and creative artist that you are Jennifer! I live and breath through the gorgeous designs and colors of your fabrics!!!!

  14. Thanks to all of you and I wanted to say to Cathy you almost made me cry!!! but your link didn’t work!!

  15. Allie says:

    Jennifer. You are a BRILLIANT artist. Your sense of color and balance is amazing. Look at nature, and how mismatched and bright the colors are – and there is nothing more beautiful! Your fabrics tend to transport me right to the tropics and I could surround myself with them and be at peace.
    I would be disappointed if your fabrics were like everyone else’s. I love being able to spot a Sis Boom from a block away. I love what you do and I want you to keep on doing it!

  16. *Staci * says:

    Well said Jennifer,
    As long as you have this blog I’ll listen. 🙂 I am with everyone else here and am in love with your fabrics. I enjoy mixing several different fabric lines together to make a patchwork project. It is more interesting I think than using coordinating prints in my opinion. Those colors that don’t quite blend with the others pop out and entertain my eyes/imagination. 🙂

  17. Oh, I sooooooo agree with you. Some quilts are way too matchy-matchy for my taste and when a line of fabrics coordinates a little too well, the quilt can look flat and uninteresting — no sparkle. I deliberately add some fabrics that are a little brighter or a little more dull, a little lighter or darker, a different shade, tone, tint, etc. to add interest and life to the quilt. A craft store near where I live carries only fabric lines arranged together, and it is so boring to shop there. One line is only dull, muted tones, another is only brights in one particular pink, one specific green, plus white and/or black, etc. So uninteresting and such a snooze-fest to me. I have to admit that I do love certain designers — you being one of them — and some do a better job than others of including a RANGE in a line, but some manufacturers seem to be trying to take the fun and creativity out of quilting. And quite profitably, I imagine, as long as there are quilters content to purchase fabric lines and kits and patterns and churn out the same quilts as everyone else. NOT that I’m against kits per se — I have done two kits because I feel in love with the quilts and used them as learning tools to try to learn more about color and design and fabric combining — and they may feel a need for many, but the real JOY (to me) comes from creating and designing myself with the gorgeous fabrics available. I took a fitness class once where the mantra we were all supposed to adhere to was, “I am an athlete.” So, even though none of us were professionals, we could still be athletes. And with quilting, it is my chance to believe, “I am an artist.” Thanks for providing inspiration and tools for my creativity.

  18. Terriaw says:

    I love how all your fabrics work together, but don’t necessarily matchy match. And they work with the solids out there too. I am inspired with so many ideas of things to create when I play with your fabrics, from clothes to quilts to bags to housewares. Don’t stop being YOU and doing what you’re doing because you rock!

  19. Kathi says:

    Well, I love your fabrics. I guess that means I like the islandy appeal!!!!! (I also really like the word “islandy”!!)
    LOVE the colors above. Would make such a great summer top!

  20. cathyb says:

    Oh Jennifer – this is what makes you an artist. When you say “blue in one fabric has no meaning for me in another and I am not at peace” – I so know what you are getting at – sometimes I shop and shop for just the right thing and my husband will say well that’s the right color or that’s the right pattern or that matches well and I think – yeah but it’s just not hitting me in the right place = it just has no meaning for me. We get it!!

  21. cathyb says:

    Hi Jennifer – somehow I deleted my first post. Listen – I so know what you mean. When you say “blue in one fabric has no meaning for me” – sometimes people say to me, well that matches, or that’s the right blue or a good match and I think – yeah but it just doesn’t move me – we so get it Jennifer!

  22. Ellena says:

    Your fabrics are so lovely, no complaints from me, sometimes people are astonished when I show them my plans and fabrics and they say No No, but when the project or quilt, bag is done, they love it. Go figger!

  23. Miss Jennifer-
    I am SO with you here! And you are right, you shouldn’t ever feel the need to apologize for what you feel inspired to do. I do the same thing-sometimes the “matching” color just isn’t right for a certain print and it needs to be changed. The entire point of licensed design is to enjoy one persons view on a project and you are that person for your well loved designs. Keep up the beautiful work!

  24. Alison says:

    I remember being in a class where we were asked whether it was better to design for ourselves, as artists (I wish!) or cater to the market – assuming this was a business and we had to make it viable.
    It made for a great debate as we all, as “mature women” could see both sides of the equation. Some had very strong feelings one way or the other, and I don’t think there was a clear right or wrong answer. I think you have to balance it – some for market forces, but remain true to yourself as an artist or designer. Just keep doing what you are doing though – it’s all great! Alison

  25. Kristie says:

    Your fabrics and designs are just beautiful! They are YOU, and that’s what makes them just right. My four daughters and I are constantly amazed at the beauty of your work….we LOVE what you do! Please don’t change your style…if you did your fabrics wouldn’t be so perfect as they are now!
    Thank you for being YOU, Jennifer!!

  26. I hear ya sister! And you know I get you….
    The beauty of Sis Boom is that you can throw together any Sis Boom and it works because all of it screams SIS BOOM! You color sense is unmatched and you eye for color is like no other! You are a genuis. Love you!

  27. LuAnn Smith says:

    I salvage a lot of those old quilts in my work and I am always amazed at their beauty! So, of course, I agree with you. Oddly enough, I’ve been working with fabrics from each of your lines this week. Even some ole’ girlfriend pieces and I was amazed at how well they all work together. I’m making a Birthday banner and little gift bags for my daughter (I’ll add the pics to flickr ASAP). I personally can’t stand for things to match too much. You should see my furniture! LOL
    One thing I’ve learned for sure in this life is that you have to be true to yourself. I’m the happiest I’ve been in ages because I’ve gone back to the one thing that has always brought me joy and that’s working with older adults. Sounds like you’ve been knocked off balance a bit by something. Wish, we were closer so we could get together and sip a bit of wine. Hang in there.

  28. CoCoJ126 says:

    Stay true to you and your nagging inner non-matchy matchy! I love it! We love it!
    Jennifer…keep rockin! Your work is awesome!

  29. You are a fabulous designer, and never need to apologize!! I recently finished my BIG stripey quilt with mostly your fabrics, from all the different lines you make, and it is fabulous!!! I love your islandy look , so fresh!!!

  30. “Dare to be Different”! It’s what I am deeply in love with in Sis Boom fabrics! ALL of them my favorites!!!

  31. Carla says:

    Thank you for remaining true to yourself and your work. Also, thank you for donating those fabrics to V. for the charity quilt. I get to participate! Very excited about it. :o) Beautiful fabrics….

  32. Gail Sciortino says:

    I LOVE everything you design. I’m currently working on a braid quilt with your fabrics.
    I also am teaching my 30yr. old neighbor to sew, and I send her links for your patterns.
    I’m just starting a blog, and am married to an italian, so could you link my blog so peeps can read me?
    Gael T. aka

  33. Nancy Geaney says:

    Seeee! Told ya!You have an audience.

  34. Monique says:

    You know I love to mix it up! Your fabrics end up being in almost everything I do, which says a lot about their versatility. I don’t necessarily like making something from the same line of fabrics. It is the color variety, I think, that makes a quilt. You want to look at each fabric when they are different rather than gloss over it!! Don’t apologize, be who you are- we all love you!!

  35. Allie says:

    I love the way you design. I think it shows more creativity on your part, and for those making things with those fabrics I think it supports creative choices. I appreciate hearing your thoughts.

  36. MichelleRenee says:

    When I started sewing, I was so grateful for the lines of coordinating fabrics (kind of like Garanimals). I just don’t do that much any more. I find you get a much more sophisticated look by mixing and matching. Sometimes the wilder the combination, the better. Anyway, just keep making the gorgeous fiber you do and I’ll keep collecting it. (And sometimes hiding it from my husband.)

  37. Jen says:

    I want you to know that I love your fabric because it is unlike anything else out there. Your eclectic and eccentric designs speak to me more than anything else. I love that they may match but may not be exact. I always pair different fabrics and not always because they coordinate exactly. So you keep up the good work, your creative genius within is most inspiring. No other fabric or designer brings joy to my heart like you. 🙂

  38. Laurie says:

    I’m so tired I could cry……need to get to bed after a long day, but just have to take the time to give you a big hug and let you know that you are more than brilliant! Keep up your gorgeous works of art and beauty. You are a pioneer and we love you! Thank you for making the beautiful fabrics you share with us all.
    You make perfect sense!
    PS…..don’t tell all your secrets! 😉

  39. Beata Basik says:

    Yay! for the uncoordinated look and stand alone fabric… two of my favourite things!… Thanks for writing this post — it spoke right to my heart! Fabric collections are great in many ways but they also have a way of curbing one’s creative expression…

  40. Franchelle says:

    Jennifer, All your fabrics are beautiful. No need to fret. You are a wonderful Designer. Keep up the great work!

  41. Carla says:

    It makes sense for you to do “Stand Alone” fabrics because you are truly one of a kind!!! I’m so glad you don’t limit yourself to matchy-matchy!

  42. Bridget says:

    I love love all your fabrics and combine all the different collections – love how they go together. You are by far my favorite designer out there. Quick question – I would love to make it to one of your fabulous weekend shop shows. Where would I fly into? Someday I will make that trip – hoping Christmas this year, keeping fingers crossed.

  43. Jenny Fish says:

    I will give you a quilter’s perspective. I think your fabrics are divine and make for beautiful quilts. When I see your fabrics I get it, totally. It is your artistic expression. It’s almost like there needs to be an reeducation, or for some newbies and education, for the buyers in the quilt market. The buyers being quilters. Now everybody has their own taste, and that should be respected, but there is such a lack of confidence in pulling fabrics together to make a quilt out there. Having some lines all coordinate is nice and easy, but having to take a fabric or 2 you love and figure out what to add to it to make the quilt ‘work’ is just divine! The whole hunt for the ‘right’ fabrics, trial and error sewing is a wonderful process. It exercises a person’s creativity. And not everything in a quilt has to exactly matched. Often a quilter will add an element of surprise which can take an ordinary quilt and make it fabulous. Please stay true to your creative self, your fabrics are wonderful to work with.

  44. Timi says:

    This is the exact reason I LOVE your designs. Please never ever change!

  45. Melina says:

    Oh, Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer-it is WHO you are-don’t our comments speak for themselves? Just look at the people who have responded to this post alone-we so LOOOOOVVVEEEE your fabric-my two daughters, teen and preteen, are Sis Boom addicts as well. We don’t care how you come up with your designs, we are your faithful fans who love you as you are, and appreciate the creative genius behind your work-and yes, we understand it is alot of work. We pore over every post, and Sandi’s, and Anna’s, because we want to have it, and use it, and you inspire that creativity each and every day-in all of us-your blogs are the first place we go when we need to start something-it’s like we have to see where you would come from, and go from there. I so know I am not alone-your fabrics, and now patterns, well, I would assume their sales speak for all of us, if you can’t hear our words of thankfulness-we are SO glad you design and come up with the cool things you do!!! Thanks a million times over!!! Please continue to think outside the box. Your designs are a reflection of the beautiful person you are!!! Go Jennifer !!!!!!!

  46. Andrea says:

    I love is matching things! Your fabrics are beautiful so don’t worry sweet pea! You just keep creating!xo Andrea

  47. Andrea says:

    I wanted to edit my comment to ~ I love mis matching things! xo

  48. Cheryl says:

    I think that your fabrics are all lovely! It has to work for you, I think that we all understand, whether we’re in the business or not. We love what you do!

  49. Oh, you KNOW I totally agree with you. I have done quite a few quilts in the “sets” that different designers come out with, and though I love the designs they turn out…I like to MIX it Up more!! That’s why pretty soon, there are going to be much less “matchiness” in the upcoming quilts out of the Blue Nickel around here!!
    (and I am looking forward to the next one I am up to to for you too!) :):)

  50. Bravo, well said, Jennifer. We love your stuff. Couldn’t be more beautiful!
    Susan Maw & Sally Bell
    Maw-Bell Designs

  51. Mary Coleman says:

    Thanks for donating the fabric for the Sis Boom Pow Bumble quilt
    Mary C.

  52. Kim D. says:

    Some people just don’t have an eye for color, they need all the fabric to coordinate. For the rest of us, we love to mix it up. Please don’t apologize. Go with your instincts and create whatever inspires you. I’m sure we’ll love it.

  53. Kelly Coyne says:

    Jennifer, don’t go changing! My business (maggie delaney) is a platform for people to design childrens’ skirts and dresses. We love having your fabrics in the mix! They are truly spectacular in their vibrancy and personality. You would be amazed at some of the beautiful items our customers have put together with your fabrics . . . they may not all be “matchy,” but they are extraordinary!

  54. Carolyn-allsewnup says:

    A big THANK YOU for the gorgeous fabrics we are about to receive for the “Sis Boom Pow” gather. I hope we can do you proud!

  55. Great post!
    Funny, just the other day I was going through a book called Women of Grace and Charm. It’s a tribute to the gals that served in WWII.
    The book is full of great quilts…and great stories.
    Things didn’t match perfectly. They were just happy to have fabric!
    As an artist, especially in a world full of such conflict my feelings are to be true to what is in your heart.
    creativity is a gift and should be treated as such.
    your designs are like a vacation on cloth…they make me think of a warm breeze, my toes in the sand and the scent of jasmine in the air. That’s a gift!!

  56. angie.a says:

    Jennifer, you ARE brilliant!!! I love the way you think and the way you design…makes perfect sense to ME. I actually don’t “get” the 20+ fabric lines that are all matchy matchy. Ho hum. I usually end up thinking…what a waste of space, I could have so many other great fabrics to choose from if they would just concentrate on doing the GOOD ones and leaving the coordinates alone.

  57. Rafael's mum says:

    I love your fabrics, both stand alone and coordinating. Funnily enough most of your fabrics go well together anyway because they are all designed by you and so “you” if you know what I mean.. so they do go together even if it is not in a conventional sense.
    And anyway… I used to have this conversation with my mum getting dressed as a teenage girl.. According to her the twinset on top had to have the exact same shade as there was in the skirt or, failing that, in the woolly panties (does that date me?? lol!) and certainly not a slightly different shade… She was horrified when I put aqua woollies together with emerald green and baby blues… and didn’t it look wonderful!!
    What goes and doesn’t go is only a matter of taste and what sells unfortunately the taste of the majority.. I for one have fallen in love with your fabrics and would say just go on what your are doing. It is wonderful!!

  58. Jenean says:

    Jennifer, I just wanted to say how much I love you, your fabrics, your honesty, your openness and this wonderful blog! I have often wished I had your ability to combine different types of prints and colors in such a beautiful way to create a collection. I absolutely love what you do!! Jenean

  59. Molly says:

    It is so great to hear this from a designer. I don’t really see the beauty or the point in creating something from one line of fabric anyways. The “crafter” may as well just buy something perfectly matchy-matchy from a store.

  60. April says:

    I’m in love with that fabric, and I’m not so into coordinating all of my fabris in one colour… and I think you need to keep that chin up and have faith in yourself, things do work out and when you have a gift like you do, you need to keep your heart in it.
    Good luck with it all. And a gift for me in the future will be some of that fabric, I love it!

  61. j. caroline says:

    It’s frustrating isn’t it? I know there are a heck of a lot of quilters out there, but there are a lot of people making handbags, children’s clothes, home accessories and other items that don’t need 12 coordinating pieces– they do just fine with one or two. But ultimately, they have to be good prints with good colors or no one would want them anyway. So stick with your philosophy. My mother used to quote a decorator who said “Amateurs match, professionals blend.”

  62. But, that is why I like your fabrics so much! It is because they aren’t all matchy and they stand out from the rest of the fabric! I’ll never forget when I first saw your fabric in Country Living Magazine. I still have that magazine and I still love to look at the layout!

Leave a Reply