Designer Tidbits: Darlene Zimmerman - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Designer Tidbits: Darlene Zimmerman

Move over 1930s; bright, bold 40s prints are taking over! Darlene Zimmerman‘s Betty Dear collection for Robert Kaufman is an homage to the new colors and designs of the 40s. Darlene is here on the blog to share more about Betty Dear, so keep reading for a closer look!

Q: Tell us a little about the Betty Dear collection. What were you inspired by?
A:The typical 1930s era prints are small and cute. By the 40s the designs have changed. In the dresses and fabric from that era you will see the larger bolder designs. Also some new colors — navy, lime green, lipstick red, bright yellow and oranges. Right now in the industry, using large scale prints and bold colors are popular, so it’s natural to look back to the past when similar prints were in vogue.

Q: What is your design process when beginning a new collection?
A:I start with an idea, a concept, or a theme for the collection. That provides a starting point for inspiration, and the fabrics and colors I choose all tie into that theme. For instance, I was thinking of those 40s housedresses that women wore at that time period. It’s interesting to note how popular the dress has become again!

Q: What design trends are you currently exploring?
A:Next year I have a collection of turn-of-the-century fabric coming out. They are the classic indigo blue prints, white shirting prints, mourning grays and Turkey reds from that time period. This lets me explore not only the traditional patterns from that time period, but also allows me to create “classic” quilts in the blue/white or red/white color schemes.

Q:What projects do you hope to see made with Betty Dear?
A:Fun, funky patterns. Something a bit more modern like my new FREE pattern, Gypsy Dance. It’s bright, modern and really easy to make. You could also make retro dresses, aprons, pillows and other home decor items as well as quilts.

Q:What projects have you made using Betty Dear?
A:I have made some bright, fun projects for Modern Quilts Unlimited magazine Fall 2013. The photos here are teasers! I was exploring more modern ways to use some traditional shapes and patterns.

Q:How do you describe your style?
A:I’m constantly changing what I work on, but even though I think I’m doing “modern” quilts, my quilts always look pretty traditional. I love to try new color combinations, new techniques, and try and find easier ways to re-create the traditional patterns with a modern flair. Ask yourself “What would happen if you changed the color scheme, the setting, the border treatments, etc.?” and let your creativity shine!


  1. Such a great line! It's a great way to blend vintage and contemporary quilting. I love seeing the tiny prints that are just right for smaller projects or little pieces.

  2. What pretty fabric perfect for so many different projects! Very interesting article. Do you have a feed link to your site?