Designer Tidbits: Parson Gray - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Designer Tidbits: Parson Gray

Travel the world with Parson Gray. World Tour, his latest collection for Free Spirit Fabrics, takes you through exotic lands by interpreting the native architecture and nature. Use these warm colors and graphic prints for rugged and rustic projects that will add a warm, spicy touch to your home. David Butler, the man behind the Parson Gray brand, is here to chat all about the collection, so keep reading for a peek at World Tour.

Q: Where did you find your original inspiration for this collection?
A:Global travel! Mostly architecture for this one, and a little bit of nature inspiration as well. Indonesia, Australia & New Zealand, England, Ireland, Egypt.

Q: What was your “aha” moment in designing this collection?
A:I really wanted it to be a collection of different fabric substrates, so once I decided on the linen with canvas and quilting cotton I realized I’d need different scales and styles for the different fabrics. World Tour came about as I collected my inspirations from photos, and once I did the art it all gelled. I did edit out a few prints that didn’t make sense as I usually do. It never really comes together until the very end when all of the color has been applied. 

Q: What rock and roll song best personifies this collection?
A:Every Picture Tells a Story – Rod Stewart

Q:As a musician and a designer, do you keep your creative energies separate or do they influence each other?
A:They definitely influence each other. I consider my artwork and my music to be heavily linked. I’m every bit as much an album cover and poster designer as I am a song writer. It all has a visual basis in my imagination. I try to tell lyrical stories in my print collections in much the same way as my song writing.

Q:What is your favorite part of the fabric industry?
A:It’s a profoundly nice industry. People really support each other even across companies. Maybe I’m naive, but I really get along with everyone that I’ve come across.

Q:From what aspect of your life do you draw creativity?
A:All of it I think. Inspiration comes to everyone in unique ways. I seek out inspiration, I don’t wait for it to fall out of the sky. I practice creativity in so many things that I do everyday. Except laundry and litter box duty.

Q:What is your design process?
A:I draw. I’m lousy at painting. Amy is a GREAT painter. You can tell by my designs. They are very linear. I work on paper and scan into the computer to create the repeats in Photoshop. I then make color palettes out of paint chips, scan them in and correct them. Then I apply color to my black and white art digitally.

Q:What is the most challenging part of the design process?
A:Timing and editing. I usually find myself a bit under the gun as my schedule is busy. Editing upfront instead of overdoing work and having to scrap things that I’ve worked hard on!

Q:What are your favorite and least favorite colors and why?
A:My favorite colors are blue and green, which is probably pretty obvious. I have no idea why. It’s always been that way and I believe there are deep-seeded psychological reasons why we favor certain colors. I’m not a big red or yellow person. Maybe I was left out in the sun too long as a child?


  1. What a beautiful fabric line. Very fresh and modern. How can I get a pattern for the tote featured in the picture? 🙂 LOVE it.

  2. Love this new line – I have an awful lot of pink fabric for my girls but at last this is something I could do for my long suffering husband x

  3. I just went to and saw that the totes in the picture are actually made from canvas and linen he has in this World Tour line. Super cute. Also found that the larger tote pictured is made from Amy Butler's Spice Market Tote pattern.. if anyone else was interested. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the feature! Beautiful fabrics.