Today we visited the in-house fabric designer for True Fabrics by Love Sew, Kristina Trogdon. We met Kristina in her newly remodeled home to learn more about her background in fabric design and the fabric designing process. While hanging out on her couch and snuggling up with her adorable dog, Cameron, she gave us a full look at how she went from her childhood dream of being a dancer to discovering a new dream as a full time fabric designer.
We also got a sneak peek at the room where all of the magic happens! Her sewing room is full of all things quilting and sewing. There were beautiful fabrics waiting to be approved for production to be turned into full collections, precut fabrics waiting to be turned into quilts, and even a quilt currently being quilted on her home machine!
A pegboard filled one wall with spools upon spools of colorful thread, rulers in all sizes, and other notions of all design. Her walls are full of fun and funky fashion and sewing related artwork and prints. Her shelves are stacked with large binders bursting at the seams with Pantone color chips. Her sewing room is a place where inspiration and design come to life!
We began the interview with a little background on Kristina, she grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, in her words, the prettiest place in the whole world. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Dance Studies from San Jose State University, moved to Santa Cruz where she spent a few years pursuing her dream of becoming a professional dancer.
After realizing her true calling was in design, Kristina set out to pursue a career in her other passion - fashion. She realized what she really wanted to do was draw and sew, so she went to design school at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in San Francisco. In design school, she didn’t like working on prints and avoided them like the plague. It’s hard to believe that our expert fabric designer had no prints included in her final portfolio for design school.
Upon graduation she landed her first internship with Miller International, which brought her family out to Colorado. Her career started in design, this is where she also learned about technical and quality auditing for garment construction and mass production. Her knowledge of printwork improved greatly and she learned to enjoy the print creation process. She then moved on to Sports Authority as a lead technical designer for all of their private label outdoor brand Alpine Design, now owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods. This is where she perfected her knowledge of product development, the technical aspects of garment construction, and how to work and communicate with manufacturers around the world, in China, Vietnam, India, and more.
When Sports Authority closed, Kristina found an opportunity to pursue her true passion in fabric design. Kristina started out as a traditional fabric designer for Craftsy’s in-house fabric brand, Boundless. Although the job was not what she expected after graduating fashion school, she realized it was an incredible opportunity and exactly where she wanted to be! In just over a year she was promoted to Senior Fabric Designer and took over all aspects of design for the traditional, modern, solids, and blenders fabrics from Boundless.
Learn more about Kristina from this exclusive interview:
Love Sew: So, what brought you to Love Sew?
Kristina: I saw the posting on Indeed saying “Quilting Fabric Designer Wanted” and applied on a whim! The universe brought me that listing right when I needed it. I typically wasn’t looking for jobs on Indeed, I was mostly looking at LinkedIn and others, so it was very lucky that I saw the job posting. I didn’t even know anything about the company, but it worked out perfectly and True Fabrics was born!
Love Sew: What’s the inspiration behind True Fabrics?
Kristina: We want to give our customers the best quality fabrics possible! I can’t stand anything subpar in any way, I am putting out the best designs that I can possibly come up with, from vintage reproductions to new modern collections. My goal is to provide the quilting world with the fabrics that as a quilter and sewist I’d want to work with.
LS: Tell me about the new collections Love Sew has just launched
K: Sunshine Blooms is our first collection and it’s a bright, happy blue and yellow floral collection inspired by sunshiney gardens. There’s just something about the blue skies and the sunshiney yellows that make people so happy. It’s an explosion of flowers! Vintage Lane is our second collection and one that appeals to me more personally. It’s a traditional French reproduction that comes from actual 19th century fabrics that would’ve otherwise been lost. We get to bring these traditional, almost lost prints back to life and give them new color and saturation to fit modern tastes. They’re just so pretty!
LS: Tell me a little about the design and color selection process
K: Usually we come up with a style and color palette that we want to hit and then select shades of the main colors that will create a cohesive collection. For traditional reproductions, we select authentic color palettes based on the time period and the fabrics that we’re reproducing. Sometimes the palettes come from authentic vintage artwork or we try to think about what would’ve existed in the 19th century and brighten them up for today’s tastes. Then for modern collections, we really take a look at what’s going on within home decor and retail stores. We want to make sure our fabrics are applicable to people’s design tastes now and have fabrics people want to display in their homes and on their beds and to give as gifts.
LS: What’s your favorite part of designing quilting fabric?
K: Picking out the colors and the design concepts! I really like doing all of the research. I get really excited when I see the vintage fabrics and I try to use vintage as much as possible, likely more than other designers. I also really enjoy colorizing everything. I love to try out new color combinations for prints and to see the full collection come together.
LS: What new fabrics are you working on now?
K: We just finished Wildflowers, another happy garden collection, but in a purple and green palette. I am very excited to share it with you soon! I am just starting on a cute more modern floral collection that will appeal to all quilters and sewists. It will be more of a crossover collection that will be mature enough to appeal to adults, but the palette is also soft enough to work for a baby or child.
LS: What advice do you have for fellow quilters and sewists who are interested in designing fabric?
K: I would say the number one thing to remember is balance. Creating balance in all of your designs is important. You can create balance through color, scale, and having a variety of lights and darks. However you do it, creating balance is the most important thing in design whether you’re designing a sewing project or designing your house.
LS: Are there any other things you want to share with our readers?
K: I love quilting fabric so much that it’s kind of stupid. I love designing quilting fabric more than I love designing fashion, which is something I never thought I would say.