The weekend before last I flew to New York City (for the second time ever) for a Photoshop for Fabric Design Workshop with Heather Ross. That Heather. She is just amazing. I’d read about the first fabric design workshop she taught in Portland a couple years ago and thought it would be so SO cool, but honestly felt a bit intimidated by the whole Photoshop thing. I’d been messing around with design software for about 5 years with my own set of paltry self-taught skills, but was using the cheapest software I could find just to try it out (specifically Inkscape, which is vector-based, basically a poor man’s Illustrator. Also happens to be free). I finally bit the bullet and bought the Adobe Suite last spring and opened up Illustrator a few times but Photoshop scared the pants off me. It’s just not really that intuitive.


I was really excited to discover how fun and easy it is to use Photoshop for fabric design. Heather is really a fantastic teacher; she really breaks it down into simple steps, and between her and our Photoshop whiz/assistant Ava (pictured above with me and Heather), we all managed to put together some really cool designs.



This is Aimee with her awesome hedgehog/woodsy design. Aimee is awesome. She lives in Wisconsin and bought the house next door to hers so she could turn it into her very own crafting studio. JEALOUS!


This is Sarah of Bluprint Textiles (who blogged here about the workshop here here and here). It was so much fun to hang out with fellow fabric lovers and chit chat.

And a bunch of other workshoppers, hard at work…




The good news is that even if you can’t ever make it to New York for one of her workshops (there’s another one coming up in November though!!), she’s written an entire section in her new book that breaks it down, nice and simple, for you as well. I am still no Photoshop expert, but I now know enough to turn a sketch into a repeating design, which is cool. I really want to show my finished design to you. But then I sortof want to wait and make a whole set of coordinating prints and razzle-dazzle your pants off. We’ll see.


The workshop was held at Tekserve which in addition to having a Mac Lab where we could work on our designs, was full of all kinds of fun old tech stuff from days gone by:







On Saturday some of us took a field trip over to the New York Public Library, where Jessica, the assistant curator in the Rare Books division gave us a primer on the digital archive and brought out a few really neat old books for us to ooh and ah over. Loved the old fashion books:



and the book of endpapers was really inspiring in terms of graphic designs.


Of course I had to make a stop at Purl…



Saturday night I ended my visit in Brooklyn with a lovely dinner with my cousin Shawn and his wife Lisa and their adorable baby and a surprise guest who happened to be Shawn’s brother Joel who was in NYC for a conference. Fun family reunion!! Of course the trip was far too short…but that just means I’ll have to come back again soon! Right?

Categories: travel
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22 Responses to Heather Ross Fabric Design Workshop in NYC

  1. Allie says:

    SO COOL! I am going to her NYC sewing workshop in October and I am SO PSYCHED. I can’t wait to see your design(s)! I would love to take this workshop, too—and I would have been so excited to have you in my class. Thanks for sharing all those pics.

  2. becka says:

    Hey that’s me in one of those pics (looking very serious). It was fun to meet you Rae! Can’t wait to see your design all finished.

  3. Jodi says:

    That looks like it was just the perfect weekend for you. :) And I think it is hysterical that you are scared of Photoshop, because I am scared of Illustrator. :)

  4. kristin says:

    Look at you hobnobbing with the cool girls! Looks like a super fun weekend. Sign me up for the Rae fabric line!!

  5. anna says:

    looks like an awesome class! can’t wait to be in awe of your designs!

  6. Laura says:

    That class looks incredible, I’d love to do it but don’t think I can justify flying to the US for it. I’ve been learning Inkscape and doing a bit of fabric design so I’d be really interested to hear how it compares to Illustrator once you’ve had a bit more practice. I’m looking forward to having you razzle dazzle my pants off with your designs (hmm, does that sound weird?).

  7. Anshu says:

    Looks like such a fun weekend. Btw, You look so radiant in those pictures.

  8. Sara says:

    I’ve been looking all over for a book that would teach how to turn sketches into digital patterns for screen printing and fabric design. I’m not sure I could ever make it to a class (which sounds like tons of fun!), but do you know if she has a book or other resources that might help me?

  9. what a wonderful post. so that’s how it’s made. oh, how i wish there will be a workshop like that in manila, philippines. i’d be the first in line!

  10. Berry says:

    Rae, in that first photo you look like a supermodel! Or at the very least a Nozema girl – what gorgeous skin you have!

    Glad you treated yourself to this workshop.

  11. How funny…I was in NYC just a few days after you. I also stopped at Purl Soho and loved it. Love your pictures and it looks like the workshop was really cool.

  12. dana says:

    so fun to see the inside of Purl! Next time I’m in NY, got head there. you look gorgeous btw :)

  13. Pratima says:

    Gorgeous pictures, Rae! And a very cute post on your NY trip! It’s been a pleasure meeting you :)

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