Here I go again, raving all about how I love the design process lol! But in all seriousness, I try to look at needlepoint finishing as an art form. I take my finishing very seriously – and often hold on to stitched pieces for months before I send them for finishing just so I can find the perfect fabric, trim, accessories, etc.
This canvas was a gift from my boyfriend over the summer. We were in Disney one weekend and he called up Lycette and spoke with Mama L (who is just the sweetest!!!). The canvas was waiting for me at home when we got back & I stitched it up so fast. If you’re interested in this canvas, it is by Jessica from Lycette and you can purchase it by calling her shop or online! I try to support other needlepoint designers when I can because that’s how we keep this industry growing.
Back to the canvas. I stitched this canvas fairly quickly and knew I wanted it to be my vacation clutch. The best part about a clutch? It has two sides so each side can be a statement! I knew I wanted to make something completely unique for the other side.
In my early e-commerce days before I was a needlepoint canvas designer, I created patterned fabric. I loved the challenge of designing repetitive patterns. I studied under Kaeli Smith, who has her own apparel line that you’ll love if you love Lilly Pulitzer. She actually produced a line with a pattern I designed one summer! Some images are below. I honestly think that wearing a fabric that you created is one of the coolest feelings in the world. I still create patterns for fun from time to time, and if you’re interested you can shop them here on Spoonflower.
So for this finish, I knew I wanted the fabric on the other side to be beach or tanning related. I spent weeks looking for a fabric but couldn’t find anything that I loved. I tried to design some patterns and came close to ordering this one, but it just didn’t feel right for this finish. The only rule I had was that I wanted a fabric that had similar colors to the needlepoint.
I went back to the drawing board. I was scrolling through Instagram and came across this photo from The Skinny Confidential. Unfortunately, I did a reverse-image-search and couldn’t find it anywhere. I was hoping it was an art print and I could contact the artist to purchase – but I think Lauren’s team created it. I started to look into vintage maps to find something similar. Maybe an artist had created a cool map design of a beach I had been to? But again, I couldn’t find anything I loved.
As I was searching for vintage map, somehow I came across old Coppertone ads and it clicked. I loved the irony of having a Coppertone design on a “Gone Tanning” canvas because I am crazy about sun protection. I attempted to find vintage Coppertone fabric, bags, or anything of the sort. The only thing that turned up was this Coppertone bag. I came across 3 online, but all had discoloration, stains, and the color palette didn’t fit the needlepoint canvas. I was hesitant to use a fabric that had been stained to create a clutch.
Because I’m obsessed with Captain (my goldendoodle), I thought “How cool would this be if the dog could look like Captain?”. I decided to use the bag as inspiration and create my own sketch with custom colors. I spent a few hours drawing a similar design on my iPad and trying to match colors to the canvas. Below is the final sketch I created!
Next, I needed to find a shop who would print my fabric. I considered creating a canvas from this drawing, but decided it would be better to just have it on fabric. I didn’t want to turn this into a pattern because I wanted the sketch to be a large motif on the fabric. I reached out to several different stores and finally decided to work with this Etsy store because they totally understood my vision. As you may have guessed from above, I’m really picky about fabric and finishing, so I was really happy to work with a company who just understood and delivered.
About 2 weeks later, the fabric was at my door and it was perfect! I will definitely use them again to order again. This isn’t a sponsored post and I paid full price for my fabric – I was just thrilled to find someone who understood my vision, was responsive, and helpful. I’m already dreaming about my next project through them!
Now, this stitched canvas and fabric is off to Lycette for finishing! I will post a final picture & update when it’s finished, but I am so excited to see the results. Stay tuned!