We are headed to Pittsburgh this week, but before we go we’d like to blast the news about one of Moda’s newest designers on the block! Kaari Meng of French General is releasing her first line of textiles with Moda Fabrics. Definitely an incredible match, and we can’t wait to see Rouenneries! We’ll be sure to send along pics, but first, a little on Kaari!
French General first opened in our barn along the Hudson River in 1997, the year my daughter Sofia was born. I was interested in staying home more and the idea of a barn filled with treasures we collected every summer while visiting France sounded like the perfect solution. We stocked the shelves with old textiles, ribbon and notions; we opened once a month and served lemonade and French biscuits. Soon, we had a loyal following and decided to move our rural home collection down to New York City, where we opened in an old blacksmith shop on Crosby Street, just around the corner from the classic French restaurant, Balthazar.
After a couple of years of owning a shop in Soho, we decided to pack it up, once again, and head out West to California – where I am originally from. French General found it’s new home in an old Spanish bungalow right in the middle of Hollywood. We continued to stock old hemp sheets, florals and tickings from France, as well as a working notion room where we taught craft classes with vintage materials. To mix things up a bit, we began writing craft books covering home style, jewelry making, sewing, entertaining and early craft techniques.
After our sewing book Home Sewn was published in 2008, people were very interested in using some of the same fabric we had used in our designs. The textiles we had used were antique and in limited supply – not to mention found in the flea markets of France!
Then one day, a knock on the front door and in walked Moda. Cheryl, the Moda design director, Lissa, the Moda marketing director, and Joanna Figuroa, from Fig Tree Quilts, came to visit to see what all the buzz was about. Within minutes, we knew we wanted to work together and design a line of fabrics that was inspired by 18th century French textiles. Since French General has always been all about the red, we all agreed that the first collection had to have lots of shades of old red as well as the natural tea stain and oyster grey colors.
Our first collection, Rouenneries, will be presented at the International Quilt Market this week in Pittsburgh and available in all good quilting shops across the world in the fall. It’s a wonderful collection of antique floral prints mixed with bold ticking stripes and polka dots – very rural looking but contemporary enough for our modern lives. I hope you enjoy sewing with our first collection and continue to craft with vintage materials – they add a bit of old world to all of our designs.