My First Foray into Fabric Design

Do you ever get a chance that just feels right and you jump after it not knowing what might come from it? I’m cautious by nature, and I don’t always go after things on my own. In fact, I’m really good at saying, “I’ll do some research and find about a little bit more about it before I start.”

And then I never do because I get scared. But sometime last spring I had the opportunity to be part of the first Project Run & Play fabric collaboration. If you’re not familiar, Project Run & Play started as a sewing competition and throughout the past year or so they’ve added patterns, digital designs, and a round of fabric all designed by former PR&P designers to their site.

So I joined up with 4 other ladies, and together we collaborated on a group of fabrics under the Project Adventure name. Today I’m sharing the two designs I created and the sample clothing I made from the prints.

It was so fun to take a step into the world of fabric design, and it reminded me how much I love designing things. It’s been several years since I really have done any designing and I was so excited the day my fabric came.


When I think of adventure, I think of camping. There are pine trees, a tent, a fire (with s’mores of course), and a lot of nostalgia thrown in. So when we chose the adventure theme, I knew I wanted to include these elements. I also knew I wanted to use watercolor as my medium. I painted each of the elements separately and then arranged them into a scene that felt somewhat like finding and setting up a campsite—placing each bit until it was complete.

Buy Campsite Print Here

Once I had my motif complete, I played around with how to arrange them. I love the ease of a tossed print, but have always been drawn to geometric prints as well. Using the strong base of the motif, I was happy to realize that they’d make a great secondary design (triangles) when viewed further away, with the great details up close. 

The small design of this motif is great for kids clothes and smaller pieces since the repeat is small. It also incorporates a range of colors because of the watercolor, so finding a coordinate is a breeze.

Tree Line

When you’re camping, hiking is almost a given. Working your way up a trail into a clearing, you almost always find a tree line at the edge of the meadow with a variety of trees, bushes, and grasses. It just seemed like a watercolor tree line had to be my second design.

Buy Treeline Here

 I wanted the trees to be big and bold—almost like a patterned rugby stripe. It has a larger repeat, but can be used in small sections too.  Because of the scale and also the more subdued color palette, this print is great for simple, minimalist pieces that really show off the fabric rather than the cut lines. 

Use this print as a stripe, as an accent piece on a colorblocked garment, or cut out your favorite clump of trees for a fun applique or pocket. Use the tree line print as a tuxedo stripe for a pair of joggers. And it pairs beautifully with many colors since green is a natural neutral.

Where Can I Buy Some?

These prints were printed and sold at Project Run & Play, and there are just a few yards left of each print. So hurry over (via the link right below this paragraph) if you’d like some of the last of it!

Campsite Print

Treeline Print

Will There be More Designs?

Yes! I can’t say where or when yet, but there will definitely be more fabric designs coming from me. I got the designing bug, and have been working on some things coming up soon. And it feels so good to be creating something as tangible and fun to use as fabric. So stay tuned!


Lisa Mabey blogs at Mabey She Made It about DIY, Crafts, Home Decor, and Sewing.

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