Designer Tidbits: Kate Spain - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Designer Tidbits: Kate Spain

You are free to daydream. With the Daydream collection, Kate Spain is giving us a peek inside her bright and vibrant sketchbook. Let your imagination run free with these happy, imaginative prints! Kate is here to give you a closer look at the Daydream collection for Moda Fabrics, so keep reading and start daydreaming.

Q: Tell us a little about the Daydream collection. What were you inspired by?
A:Sometimes a story evolves from one line to the next and I guess I was conceptually picking up from where I left off with my Sunnyside collection. When the storm blows off, the squalls silence, the sun returns and I’m reminded of how much it makes you appreciate the vibrancy of colors all around. And sometimes when you witness that first hand, maybe on a late afternoon stroll, when you least expect to, you feel the fabric and magic of dreams gently breaking through. So what started off as an idea turned into a journey through my sketchbook…over hills and across valleys of my imagination (one of the patterns is called Hills and Valleys). I was also inspired by Mexican embroidered Otomi patterns that have a dreamy and colorful quality to them.

Q: What is your design process when beginning a new collection?
A:My process is not a set formula. I wish it were so simple! Each collection, despite my best efforts to continually improve my techniques and evolve, takes many hours in which I create lots of drawings (and more erasing than drawing, I assure you) and paintings, shuttling from color to color stories to try to create some visual harmony and rhythm. I then refine the line into what you see in the final line. I wrestle with it a lot until something starts to emerge that helps me see what it wants to be. Some lines flow easier than others, but not one has been easy. I am fortunate to have received very helpful input from Cheryl Freydberg along the way. She is a wonderful editor and has a critical eye that I value so much.

Q: What design trends are you currently exploring?
A:In addition to the Radiant Orchid Pantone trend, I’m also excited by the general trend toward seeing the hand at work in creating the art that’s starting to appear in the market. It’s refreshing to see noncomputer- generated things like shibori and hand-carved woodblock prints taking center stage. I’m also following the Indigo trend very closely — I love this moody and luxurious color and have been incorporating it into my pillow and rug collections for Surya. Very inspiring! But more than anything, I always look at Nature, the trend du jour whose days will not end.

Q:What projects do you hope to see made with Daydream?
A:The colors in Daydream are full-spectrum happy so I’d love to see projects that bring a bright burst of color into someone’s space. A quilt is one great way to do that. Like the new Daydream Project Sheet by Moda, which really shows off the bright, bursting prints. So are pillows, maybe with appliqué or some embroidered embellishments that complement the Otomi-themed pattern called Arcadia.

Q:How do you describe your style and how has it evolved over the years?
A:In the most general sense, I’d say my style revolves around bold hand-drawn patterns inspired from Nature’s forms rendered in bright, harmonious colors. In terms of evolving from say my first line since, I’ve been making make more coherent lines that sync happily across each pattern and colorway into quilts. It’s probably because I’ve begun quilting in the time I’ve been designing for Moda. While I love creating each pattern to have its own unique appeal, I’ve tried to be better at seeing how scale and value are essential in composing a beautiful eye-catching quilt. So for me, it’s about balancing these two elements and I try for that with each collection.

Q:What is your biggest sewing faux pas to date?
A:When I was making my Daydream quilt for last fall’s Quilt Market, I forgot to triple check which ways the rows were supposed go and accidentally sewed two 79” seams the wrong direction! Another faux pas is not finding time to sew more. The more I sew, then surely the more mistakes I’ll make — and more discoveries too.


  1. I love that there there are designers than resonate with ourselves. Kate was one of the first designers I recognized when I began noticing fabric lines several years ago. Her colors and patterns never disappoint. I look forward to every line and I try to incorporate something of hers in every quilt I make.

  2. My biggest faux pas to date usually entail running out of fabric before I'm finished with quilt. This then ensures that I have to change my plans.

    I suppose I should explain that I live in Poland. Fabric here is hard to come by. Usually I bring my fabric over in my suitcase after we visit the states but sometimes I just haven't planned well, or wish I had a bit more.

    It forces me to be creative, while at the same time frustrating me. Usually I am forced to turn my lack of planning (or cutting wrong and thus using up valuable fabric that can't be replaced easily) into a change of plans.

  3. As usual, I love this newest collection by Kate. I love each line more than the last and I can't wait to get my hands on this one too.