Inspiration: 5 fabulous floral fabrics

My visit before Christmas to William Morris at the Tate made me realise just how much I love floral patterned fabrics.

Florals used to have a bit of a reputation as chintz, but you only need to take a look at some of the bold, bright William Morris patterns to blow that idea straight out if the water.

I’d love to attempt a fabric design with a repeated floral pattern myself one day, but, frankly, trying to come up with a clever design that would match perfectly for all the repeats is enough to make my head hurt right now.

For the time being, I thought I’d just round up some of my very favourite floral fabrics to share with you on this bleak, cold Friday morning, in the hope it makes Spring feel a little closer…

Click on any of the pictures to go through to the relevant websites to buy the fabrics, if you’re so inclined, or just get more info.

1. Liberty print

You couldn’t have a list of floral fabrics (or, for that matter, any sort of fabric) without including a Liberty print. The hard decision here was whittling down the wonderfulness to just select one…

But I’ve finally settled on this Castile B Tana Lawn fabric.

Castile B Tana Lawn fabric by Liberty
Guerilla gardening

Apparently, it was designed to represent the Elephant & Castle urban forest campaign of 2011 that was set up to redesign the area in London and save trees. I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything looking even remotely like an urban forest whenever I’ve been through there on the bus, and actually I’m slightly shocked that this most beautiful fabric has been inspired by what I think is probably the ugliest area of London, but there we go…

I love all the details in this: the spade and buckets, the weird frog-like creature, the snail. And I’m all about gardening right now, so seeing a representation in fabric couldn’t please me more.

2. Borderline fabrics

In a similar gardening vein, I discovered these gorgeous figs the other day, from Borderline fabrics in World’s End.

Fog fabric from Borderline fabrics
Just looking at this makes me think of a long hot Mediterranean summer

There is something utterly succulent about this print, isn’t there? The lovely purple figs sitting alongside the fat leaves.

I’d never heard of Borderline fabrics before, but the website says they specialise in fabrics for upholstery and curtains with designs produced from archive sources. Sounds right up my street, I might have to go and wander round the shop in the near future.

3. Florence Broadhurst

This wonderful fabric is called Japanese Floral and was designed by Florence Broadhurst:

Japanese flpra; by Florence Broadhurst
Big bold and swirly, I just love this print

If you’ve not heard of Florence Broadhurst (and I hadn’t til about, oooh, five minutes ago) she sounds just as fabulous as this pattern. She was born in Australia, performed on stage around Asia, founded an arts academy in Shanghai, then moved to London where she ran a dress shop in Bond Street as Madam Pellier, then returned to Australia and started a wallpaper business. I like the sound of this woman!

There’s a full biography on the Signature Prints website: Florence Broadhurst. Have a read if you’re interested, and check out the amazing photos of her too. I love her hair almost as much as I love her designs.

4. V&A Quilts

The V&A did a whole exhibition on quilts a few years back, which I didn’t manage to see as I wasn’t in the country at the time.

However, being a total addict of the V&A online shop, I did see (and purchase much of) the special collection they made, based on some of the old designs (in conjunction with Liberty, I believe).   This is my favourite of all the designs:

V&A quilting fabric
Sweet and delicate

I think it’s just called “Petals” – which is as sweet a name as the pattern itself. I’m working on a quilt for my sister that has this fabric in it, so I’ll share more pictures once I get that finished.

5. Joel Dewberry

From something small, delicate and old-fashioned, to something big, bold and 1960s-looking… This is called Sunflower in Sunglow and is by Joel Dewberry.

Joel Dewberry fabric
Makes you want to dance round outside naked singing songs from the 60s, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?

I first saw this fabric on the blog Delia Creates, where she used it to re-cover a chair. (I know I mention that blog a lot, I’ve got something of a blog crush going on…) When I read the post I wasn’t sure what I wanted more: the amazing re-upholstering skills she displayed or the fabric she used.

This is just so cheerful, retro and bright that you couldn’t help but smile if you sat down on a chair  made of this fabric, could you?

So, there you have it, five floral fabrics. I was originally planning on sharing ten, but I think this post is quite long enough now, so I’ll return for a part two at some point in the future.

In the meantime, you can take a look at my Pinterest board fabulous fabrics if you want to see more gorgeous designs.

Happy weekend everyone!

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5 thoughts on “Inspiration: 5 fabulous floral fabrics

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