How do you start a sewing project?

Do you know what item you want to make and try to find the fabric or do you find the fabric and then decide what you want to create? I think most of us do a little bit of both.

It is often assumed that a fashion or soft furnishing collection starts with the designers, in fact it usually starts with the textile companies. They create the fabric ranges, deciding on colours, patterns, textures etc.

The designers have little or no input into this part of the creative process. The first time designers see what they will have available to work with is when they visit the textile trade shows to view the fabric on offer for the next season. Creating a collection is limited by the fabric available as only the top fashion companies can afford to request special requirements from textile companies.

Textile designers work a season ahead of the fashion designer who in turn works at least a season ahead of the current collections.

The textile companies and designers create the ‘mood board’ suggesting colour schemes and silhouettes for us to work with each season. Like the designers we are limited by the fabric available but there is actually a lot on offer, find your local fabric shop or browse online. Don’t always look in the obvious places, some retailers like Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley sell fabric as well as finished items.