Pasta Anyone? Designing a Bolt Fabric Kitchen Set

I love having a clean, bright, and inspiring space to start a new project. As I launched into my new project of designing bolt fabric, I setup my sun room work area to be comfortable and inviting. I gathered these items to create my work space: a vase of garden flowers delivered by my friend Dena, a collection of paint brushes old and new, my pens and pencils, ruler and eraser,  sketch pads, and my watercolors. I am surrounded by things I love and which inspire me: stained glass by my sister-in-law Ann, hand painted Italian ceramics, and various paintings. Oh, and thanks to Lilla Roger’s advice, I also made sure I had a nice cup of coffee! The cup, a hand made piece by potter Toby Rosenberg is another of my favorites. Most important, there is *nothing* on the table to remind me of other projects!

The project at hand consists of designing kitchen themed fabric using pasta shapes and bowls.  I wanted to explore different techniques until I found something that I would love to buy myself.  I will share both the process and a couple of styles I worked on. The path to the end design is never a straight path for me. There is a lot of exploration of shapes, drawing techniques, coloring techniques, patterns, colors, and digital editing.

My first step was to draw a lot of little icons which I would later use on the repeat patterns. Here is how this all started:


Not super exciting, huh? Well, I managed to draw a bunch of little pasta shapes, hand letter the names, draw little bowls and dishes with patterns on them, and for fun, I threw in some tomato, basil, and mushrooms. In retrospect, I should have drawn a garlic too!pasta-shapes-01

After the initial drawings, I had to decide which way to color the icons. I opted for watercolor, the medium I am most comfortable with, and painted all the little shapes.pyrex-color-01

I was pretty happy with the icons and ready to start putting it all together onto a repeat pattern for fabric.

After many iterations pondering whether I should leave the pots straight or tilt them, how tight should I make the design, what color looks best for the background, etc, etc… I finally ended up with this design and a couple of coordinating pieces shown at the bottom. The coordinates were created using the little designs on the dishes!


So, I’m done, right? Well, not quite. After letting this sit for a while, I decided to take the original black and white icons and start over. This time, not with watercolors, but using Illustrator. Below are the finished pieces. I got rid of the black outlines and made them white instead. I had fun picking the colors for this one. Of course, they look entirely different on a colored background, so wait for the final designs!



The final compositions were a lot of fun to create. I actually started with one of the coordinates first. I picked a bright red background which shows off the pasta shapes nicely. I decided to use the hand lettering of each pasta type below the image and placed it over a teal stripe. I then added the vertical tan stripes which I wove through the green stripes. Wouldn’t this make a great kitchen towel?


Finally, I got around to designing the main piece for this collection. This one took a bit of iteration. I quickly settled on the brown background which gave the whole piece a bit of a retro look. Originally, I did not have the hand lettering in the main piece. I thought it looked a bit busy and generic. I then added the lettering. Better, but still not what I was looking for. In the end, I added the little colored ovals behind the white lettering and shifted them a bit so they would not be perfectly centered.


Wouldn’t this make a great pot holder? Now for the coordinating fabrics which can be used for the border or backing on these fabulous pot holders. Using the little designs from the bowls, I created this repeat pattern. This time, I used a teal background (also in the main fabric) which I think goes beautifully with the brown background of the main design.


I was on a roll, and I was feeling the retro in the colors, so I designed one more coordinate, this time a geometric pattern using the same color palette.


So, there it is! I finished a set of repeat patterns for bolt fabric with both a current and retro feel. I hope you enjoyed having a peek into the day of a designer (actually…. it was a couple of weeks)!



You can follow me on this blog or on social media at:  instagram (lisalarsenart) and facebook (lisalarsenart). I will post again when these fabrics are available.

Thanks for stopping by!