Friends, there's so much I want to say, but first let me get something out of the way — Duval, my debut collection with Art Gallery Fabrics, is now available! This collection includes 18 prints on premium quilting cotton, 2 on double-brushed flannel, a single print on rayon, and a 108" wide-back. Oh! And how could I forget? It also includes specialty binding fabric that is printed in 2.5" x WOF strips so you can cut it out for binding. How fun is that?
Duval can be purchased from any of the shops listed in this post — Where to Buy Suzy Quilts Fabric. In addition to the release of a printed collection, I have also launched a coordinating Suzy Quilts PURE solids capsule collection! You can read more about that collection here, but in a nutshell it includes 20 different colors with a fantastic variation in hue and value so you can make hundreds and hundreds of projects with just the capsule collection! Wahoo! Skip to the bottom of this post to see pics of them together.
Duval Fabric by Suzy Quilts
What's in a name? Well, in this case, an awful lot. The idea for this collection has been percolating in my brain since 2019 when my family first visited Key West, Florida for Christmas. At the time it was my parents, husband, 10 month old baby boy, and myself. From day one we were all smitten.
I didn't know I had a Key West sized hole in my heart until that initial trip. The tropical breeze, the care-free vibe, the food, the music, the roosters — my gosh the ROOSTERS! My husband and I would strap Desi in a stroller and walk all over that tiny island. We'd treat ourselves to Cuban iced coffees and stroll up and down Duval St.
So it's only right that when we went back again this past spring in 2023, I packed a suitcase full of fabric so I could pose with it on Duval. But even though we had a fantastic trip that first year, and again this year, our second trip in 2022 was when the pieces for this fabric collection finally snapped into place.
The Inspiration Behind Duval Fabric
When designing Duval I pulled from a lot of different stories, histories, and feelings — some made up and some real. I gathered bits of information and facts about the history of Key West, but in the end, the catalyst was a single conversation I had with two men, both over the age of 90, and still running their own menswear store.
It happened one early morning in March of 2022 when my little family of four walked into a bakery on Fleming St. Lucky for us, only one other couple was there and surprisingly seemed to find a lot of pleasure in watching my kids mess with the cups of silverware, pull out too many napkins, and run their sticky hands all over the pastry glass.
Claude, the more talkative of the two, struck up a conversation with me, and despite wrestling children, I learned their fascinating story. They had both worked in advertising in New York in the late 1950s and 60s. (At this point I was filling in the gaps with my extensive Mad Men knowledge.) They heard Key West was a welcoming place with a much slower pace.
After moving to Key West, they opened a menswear store that happened to be across the street from where we were currently eating. Claude told me that in the 70s a lot of people from New York made their way to Key West and with that came a wonderful fusion of tropical textiles and New York fashion. He was being modest, but I could tell his menswear store was part of the reason for that.
A seed had been planted in my mind. I couldn't get the idea of 1970s New York tropical menswear out of my head. I kept imagining what Don Draper would wear if he uprooted his life and moved to Key West. I wondered if I could design a collection that could be sophisticated enough to be worn by the NY fashion elite, but also be cozy and accommodating for my fellow quilters.
I'm delighted with how this collection turned out. There were a lot of things going on in the background of my mind while forming it into existence, but somehow they all came together into a beautiful mashup of vintage meets modern meets urban meets tropical meets fashion meets quilting. You know? 😉
I feel the most connected to my designs when I base them on emotions and places in time. I once pulled fabric for a quilt based on a single memory I had of sitting on my grandma's couch waiting for her to come into the room. I once designed a quilt pattern based on a 30 year old print hanging in my parent's bathroom.
I am deeply connected to Duval because I connect it to a single memory. I remember the smell of the bakery, the exact color of Claude's eyes as they sparkled, the touch of Joanna's tiny hands holding onto my leg, and the feeling of absolute joy in connecting with a stranger while the COVID pandemic still felt very overwhelming.
Duval is cool and quirky but also sophisticated and timeless. The premium quilting cotton collection includes three color stories with six different prints in each one. The names of each color family correlates with the Suzy Quilts PURE solids so you can easily match the fabric. From top to bottom in the photo below they are Spiced, Haze, and Nova.
And this was my attempt to take some photos of the collection with Joanna. She thought it was very funny to pull the fabric down as soon as I hung it up. Photo cred must be given to my dad who very patiently waited with my camera for a shot that never came. And that's what taking photos with an almost-two-year-old is like, folks!
My Hope for Duval
I designed this fabric collection as a quilter making the fabric that I wanted to sew with. When deciding on scale, movement, colors, and its overall aesthetic, I wanted it to look great after being cut up, mixed up, and used in quilts. Through every design decision a singular thought kept running through my head — this fabric is not the finished artwork.
What I mean by that is, this fabric is a stepping stone in our shared creative collaboration with the finished artwork being what is made with this fabric. I get so excited thinking about being a part of your creative expression! So when you get this fabric, can you do me a favor? Give it a hug and know that I thought of you when making it. I hoped for this very moment when my art and your art got to be mashed together to make OUR ART!
Then, of course, once you hug it a bunch, pre-wash it, and cut it up!! I'll be cheering you on in spirit. If you post photos to social media of your Duval creations, please use #SuzyQuiltsFabric and #AGFDuval so I can see!
Duval + Suzy Quilts PURE Solids
As I mentioned before, this collection and my 20 PURE Solids coordinate beautifully together. In the photos below I grouped the three different color families so you can clearly see the fabrics together; however, as you saw in the full collection above, you can mix and match from the three color families in any way you like.
Do you have a color family you like best? I'd love to know in the comments!
If you are a fabric shop or even just a fabric lover, I encourage you to use any photos of Duval seen here as part of your own fabric shop promotion. Here is a link to high resolution Duval images that you can use in your shop listings, social media, or website listing.
If you do use these photos, all I ask is that you credit Suzy Quilts and link back based on the platform in which you are sharing.
Well? What do you think of the fabric?? Obviously I'm dying to know!!