An interview with Lizzy House

It kind of feels like the Lizzy House show around here. First Constellations arrived, then the entire range of Pearl Bracelets. Now this interview. And just wait until you see what Lizzy goodness we have for you next week. We’re addicted and that’s okay – you will be too after you read our interview!

Lizzy House smiling

The Village Haberdashery: You knew you wanted to be a fabric designer since you were six years old. What steps did you take to make that dream a reality?

Lizzy House: When I was about 18 I just decided that it was time to really start trying to figure it out. So I started trying to wrap myself around what I was up against. The internet/blogging/crafting community was not what it is now, so I was making actual phone calls trying to get help. But circumstance and being in the right place at the right time, along with a very strong desire put me where I needed to be and gave me momentum to stick with it, even when it seemed I was doing this mystery thing for mystery purposes. So I would say the most important step is the initial one. Whatever it is that you are going after, you really have to want it, and believe that it is in your reach even if you have no idea how that is supposed to happen.

Lizzy House The Colorist

TVH: Tell us about your design process. How do you get from an idea in your head to finished collection?

LH: I make lists. I draw. I take a picture of the drawing. I redraw on the computer. I work out my repeats. I color. I recolor. I recolor. I send to my imagery to Andover. They put it in there computers. We clean it, and finish it. It gets sent to the mill. 6 weeks later I get strike offs. 6 weeks later I have sample yardage. 8 weeks later, you have yardage. The whole process takes anywhere from 5-8 months from start to finish.

The most important thing that I can say about starting a collection is that all ideas are valuable, and you should never shut yourself down/dismiss ideas before you even get started.

Lizzy House alphabet

TVH: Every time I’ve seen you, you’ve been wearing a dress made of your own fabric. Now that you’re doing more dressmaking, do you think about how your designs will look as garments as you create them?

LH: ALWAYS!!!! It’s interesting to look at my work BD (before dressmaking) and AD (after dressmaking). The BD work is meant really for quilting and making quilty things, because that was my intention for the fabric, but the AD fabric in my opinion is so much more versatile. It can do all of the things.

Lizzy House made a dress

TVH: You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you get a lot of your inspiration from your travels. What sources of inspiration have you found over the past year, when you stayed closer to home?

LH: My garden has been an endless source of inspiration. It’s amazing that as your life changes, new things fill up the space of used to be things. I think you will see my garden reflected in my work from now on, in some way or another.

Lizzy House gardening

TVH: At 27, you’re already a seasoned veteran of the quilting industry with nine collections to your name. How do you see the industry changing?

LH: This is a discussion that I have had with quite a few industry peeps, shop owners, as well as consumers. The industry is moving too fast. And I don’t mean by way of progress. I think that our progress towards apparel, and other sewing adventures is on a really good trajectory. How I mean too fast is the life span and pace of fabric collections. Somehow we put the whole thing into hyperdrive, and it seems like there are a million collections a year, and no collection seems to last more than 5 months. So instead of having a handful of good strong choices, people are presented with a gross amount of mediocre choices, and if they don’t like what’s out right now, all they have to do is wait two weeks to see what’s new. This is hard on everyone. It’s hard on me as an artist, to produce work that just by way of the system has a significantly shorter life span, and therefore is less valuable then work I did in the past. It’s hard on shops, having to promote more, photograph, make samples, all together push new fabric, because there is so much new, and therefore not nearly the re-orders/ sustaining of a line you’ve already invested in. And the consumers have serious fabric ADD. Everyone has become accustom to this pace, but I don’t think it’s really sustainable. So as a designer, who wants to keep designing… I am looking into solutions. We all should be looking into solutions. It’s all feeling a bit too much like a race to me. TMI??? I don’t know…

Lizzy House complete collection

TVH: You already have two collections out in 2013 (well, they hit UK stores this year, anyway!) – Constellations and the full set of Pearl Bracelets. What else can we look forward to seeing from you this year?

LH: Cats in my homeland. That’s all I can give you.

Thanks Lizzy!

For more Lizzy House, visit her blog and her shop and find her on Twitter, Instagram and Flickr.

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7 Responses to An interview with Lizzy House

  1. Gertie February 6, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Great interview! It’s so good when designers design fabric with dressmaking in mind too – sometimes prints are so pretty for quilting but just wouldn’t work for dressmaking so it’s lovely when they work for both. Love pearl bracelets – and the photo of the monster FQ bundle at the end!

  2. Sally Nicol February 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Fascinating interview and the comments about speed of fabric line is very interesting. I only began quilting lady year having previously been a paper crafter and I keep finding fabric lines in projects I like on line and then discover they ate gone. I would love to buy all new lines and understand the ADD approach but quite frankly don’t have enough money and get quite frustrated when a line I’ve had my eye on disappears.

  3. Mary February 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Very interesting interview. I couldn’t agree more with her comments about fabric lines and the speed at which they are being pushed out. I think it fuels a self perpetuating circle that ultimately isn’t serving the needs of designers or consumers.

  4. Stitched Together February 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Funny how everyone is agreeing with the turnover speed of fabric lines being a problem. You would think it would be in the interest of the fabric producers to slow it all down, if everyone is feeling a bit overwhelmed and many lines get lost in the rush.

  5. Debbie-Esch House Quilts February 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Great interview, Annie! I can’t argue with Lizzy’s comments about the pace of things. It is hard to keep up with all the new fabric – it would be nice if it slowed down a little :)


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    […] Lizzy was one of the youngest fabric designers to enter the quilting industry and now has 11 collections to her name including the forthcoming Catnap for Andover. She has a BFA in Printmaking, has designed a series of quilt patterns and is the author of the book How to Enter the World of Textile Design. You can find out more about her in our interview. […]

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    […] Lizzy was one of the youngest fabric designers to enter the quilting industry and now has 11 collections to her name including the forthcoming Catnap for Andover. She has a BFA in Printmaking, has designed a series of quilt patterns and is the author of the book How to Enter the World of Textile Design. You can find out more about her in our interview. […]

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