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Fresh Florals

What gives the floral print such enduring appeal?

Posted in: Creativity & Mindset • March 31, 2015

There is a certain type of person who I call a "plant person." A plant person feels most alive and whole when surrounded by trees and flowers; she delights in discovering and recalling plant names, the way a bird-watcher catalogs birds; she loves to play in the dirt; and she wants to be surrounded by fresh flowers. I am, as you may have guessed, a plant person.

If there is one month that is particularly intoxicating for a plant person, it's April. Where I live, new flowers bloom every day. Each walk through my neighborhood brings new discoveries. One day, the Crocus show up. Next, I start to see daffodils. Then it's cherry blossoms, Muscari, tulips, and peonies.

What's so captivating about these flowers isn't just their beauty, but the way in which they mark time. In the fall, I spend a rainy afternoon of muddy drudgery planting bulbs in the parking strip in front of my home. In winter, the leaves begin to push their way up. Finally, in spring, the tulips bloom into a stunning carpet of color before they fade away again. When I see those magical blooms, it's a reminder that this is my chance to enjoy the display before another year goes by. Flowers don't live forever, and neither do we.

Perhaps that's why flowers have always been such a popular subject for artists. Capturing a flower is really capturing a moment. They are intensely beautiful but their lives are brief and fleeting. We want to find a way to make them last.

Floral textiles are just one way we do that. Whether it's a delicate rosebud pattern on a 1930s feed sack dress, a bright and abstract modernist leaf print on a 1950s skirt, or a lush peony printed on a Japanese silk kimono, the use of floral motifs in clothing design transcends time and culture. Maybe all humans are really plant people beneath it all.

The Bristol skirt features a single front pocket and easy pull-on style.

The Astoria sweater has a cropped silhouette inspired by vintage pullovers. Use double gauze or French terry to make it casual and modern.

In this issue, we take inspiration from the gardens, the fields, and even the humble grocery store bouquet. We explore the last 100 years of floral prints in clothing, show you how to create your own floral print using a scanner, and create a floral skirt with an ethereal overlay. We’ll also give you a simple recipe for a hydrating rose facial mist you can make at home, and take you on a tour of Portland, Oregon, also known as the "city of roses."

You'll also find articles this month on how your favorite independent boutiques source their fabric, tips on reinforcing pockets in interesting ways, and much more. If you're a premium subscriber, you'll also get to sew the versatile Bristol skirt and the casual, vintage Astoria cropped sweater.

Whether you consider yourself a plant person or not, we hope that this brief look into the diverse world of the floral print will inspire you to see these fabrics in a new way.


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