As the season turns, let’s take a look at the textiles and patterns we’ll all
be snuggling up with as autumn and winter descend.
It’s safe to say that few – if, indeed, any – of us are so in thrall to fashion that we’ll
redecorate or redesign to keep in step with every seasonal trend. More likely we’ll tweaks things here and there to suit the current season. Spring inspires a throwing open of the curtains, packing away of winter linens and optimistic brightening and refreshing of our surroundings. As autumn draws in, on the
other hand, we want to hunker down and settle in – it’s as close to hibernation as we get. So as we draw the metaphorical fur coat around our shoulders, what’s hot in textiles and patterns this winter and what should we be surrounding ourselves with to stay on trend?
Forget feminine Laura Ashley sprigs or polite repeating patterns, florals are in for winter and they’re moody. Full-blown, oversized blooms are dark and dusty, colours are deep, with lush and untamed patterns in saturated plums and bruised blues. There’s a gothic fairy-tale quality with a whimsical edge that lends itself to billowing curtains and oversized cushions bringing focus and accent to neutral schemes. Tiny insects scamper over lush fruits and full-blooming flowers in Liberty London’s Garden of Temptation fabrics, with the Earthly Delights print perfectly capturing the riotous flora and fauna of the wilderness.
Inspirational: John Lewis’ Chelsea Floral furnishing fabric injects an English garden, Arts and Craftsy feel to the wilderness theme, with blowsy foxgloves vying with vibrant berries and lustrous foliage.
Retro travellers’ trunks and framed specimens are proving popular in décor so it’s no surprise that textiles have adopted escapism too. The soft, muted colours of vintage maps appear on soft furnishings that are as at home in the kitchen as the bedroom or living room. Duck egg blues and terracottas combine into a gentle palette made arresting by the illustrative detail. World Map furnishing
fabric from John Lewis is so crisply detailed and legible you might actually learn something. Not to be underestimated as a boys’ bedroom staple, vintage map prints can be grown up when teamed with leather and industrial-chic pieces.
Inspirational: Annie Sloane’s Vintage World Map is double length, making it perfect for curtains and blinds.
The idea of opulence can be off-putting in a domestic context – it might get a bit exhausting living in a 7-star Dubai hotel suite every day of the week. But paired with eclectic Bohemianism, opulence is tempered, softened and made more accessible. Bohemian style feels individual, thrown together and just-on-the-good-side of chaotic. Infused with intense, jewel colours this kind of opulence has warmth and saturation not hard-edged bling and glitz. Repeating patterns and geometrics draw on Moorish influences while tactile textiles softened through age predominate. On the floor, look to Persia. Overdyed rugs (such as those from the Handmade Rug Company) are distressed and worn then dyed in a broad palette from bright pinks to understated neutrals to enhance the character of wear. This shabby opulence can work even in dialled-down colour schemes.
Inspirational: Winter reds simmering down to corals and ochres combine with warm greys in Romo’s Danton range of upholstery fabrics. Stripes, geometrics and perished florals work together with subtle embroideries and textures for a luscious echo of North Africa and the east.
Of late, the artisanal crafter has stepped out from behind big manufacture in all arenas, textiles included. Patterns drawing on folk or ethnic motifs carry with them a strong sense of the maker, be they technically hand made or not. Batik and ikat, tie dye and block print are all having a bit of a moment, bringing a sense of desirable imperfection and each-piece-is-different one-offness.
Unsurprisingly, folk pattern is redolent of nature and wildlife. Based in North Devon, textile designer Sam Pickard matches plant-inspired graphic shapes with tactile linens. Her Marram cushion couples screen-printed leaves with
geometrics to striking effect. Hugh Dunford Wood’s Peaceable Kingdom cushions are hand printed on organic linen and depict British creatures in characterful, deft linocuts that evoke the folk tradition.
Inspirational: The Swedish Fabric Company offers a range of upholstery fabrics including Skinny laMinx’s CloudBird and Littlephant’s Saga Forest that feature naturalistic repeating patterns combining folksy naivety with contemporary edge.
sampickard.co.uk peaceablekingdomcushions.co.uk theswedishfabriccompany.com
The plush textures of nature – wool and sheepskin, velvet and hide – epitomise curling up in semi-hibernation. Eminently touchable, these fabrics radiate comfort and warmth. Best known for their ubiquitous sheepskin boots, Aussie brand UGG has diversified into home textiles, maintaining the laid-back feel of ultimate relaxation. Sheepskin rugs feature, as do woollen cushions, blankets and neutral throws. Velvets, of course, take the touchy feely trend to the nth degree. Black Edition offers the Zkara range of decorative velvets that nail two trends in one by combining the tactile with opulent lustrous colours shot through with foils.
Inspirational: Osborne & Little’s Mikado range of luxuriously piled pure cotton velvets come in a range of vibrant colours from peacock to raspberry. The ultimate in snuggly luxe.
The super-size knit bandwagon has been picking up speed for some time and is finally hitting full steam. Gathering strands from hand-made and folksy along with soft touch along the way, mega chunky couldn’t be more on trend. Texture is pattern here, with stitches of giant proportion standing out to catch the eye. Wallflowers need not apply.
Inspirational: Devon based mega-knitter Lauren Aston creates blankets, throws, runners, cushions and footstools using preposterously big needles and impossibly chunky merino wool. Colours are punchy and contemporary, making these stand-out-from-the-crowd pieces.
Go on a course and turn your hand to textiles.
Master the tricky matter of upholstery with Leigh-Anne Treadwell in Plymouth, Exeter, Tiverton or Barnstaple.
Starting from scratch or in need of a refresher, one-to-one and group sewing courses are available at Sewnasome in Plymouth.
As well as producing soft furnishings for sale, Sam Pickard runs screen-printing courses so you can learn how create your own unique designs. sampickard.co.uk
Design your own woven textiles or learn how to process and spin flax with South
Devon’s Susie Gillespie. susiegillespie.com
Unleash your inner maker and learn how to free machine embroider or produce creative cushions with Annie Morris.
At Rowan Tree Studio in Clovelly courses range from learning to use a sewing machine through patchworking and quilting to hand embroidery. rowantreestudiodevon.co.uk