PBS: A Guest Post About Fabric Selection by Dustin Struckmeyer

Back when I taught my Tumbling Triplets pattern (available here) to the Modern Stitching Affair, we all talked about the most difficult step being fabric selection. One student in particular stood out in both his amazing fabrics and how totally unfazed he seemed about the process of selecting them. He’s here to tell us his secrets. Please welcome Dustin Struckmeyer, one of my favorite people in the world (I almost gave him a sewing machine with strings attached, but that’s a story for another day!)…

Modern Stitching Affair 2018 attendees. Dustin is in the very center of the very back row.

Modern Stitching Affair 2018 attendees. Dustin is in the very center of the very back row.

Hello, and thank you for tuning in. Right now we are looking for just a few more of you to pledge your support to P.B.S. That’s right you can make a difference…….wait….what? This isn’t P.B.S.!?!

You’re right. This isn’t PBS, at least not the one you might be familiar with, but I am going to introduce you to another P.B.S., one I think you’re going to love. I recently attended the Modern Stitching Affair and got to spend some quality time with some quality sewists and designers including the amazing Tara Curtis! She and I were talking about my fabric choices for my WEFTY project, and I told her that like every project I was going back and forth with color, but when it came to patterns I always fall back on P.B.S. She giggled a bit, and I could tell that this was going to need a bit of an explanation.

I have always been around textiles in both my personal and professional life. Influenced by my mother, grandmother, a few aunts and others I started sewing at a young age, learned to knit when I was 12 and as long as I can remember I have always had some project or another going on that involved textiles and fibers. After graduation from college, I landed a job with a men’s clothing company, and ultimately returned to school to become an interior designer which has been my field for almost twenty years. In short, I have worked with a lot of fabric, whether it was men’s tailored clothing, hobby sewing projects or interior palettes for clients, and throughout all these adventures I have always started with something plain, then added a big pattern and to tie it all together a smaller pattern or a stripe.  Do you see what I did there? Plain. Big. Small or Stripe. P.B.S.!



Small or Stripe

A lot of times it can be just that simple. For example, when putting together a new suit for an executive I would start with a pin stripe suit. If you think about it, this can be a considered a big pattern. Throw in a blue or white shirt. There is the solid, and now to finish it off with a paisley tie. When compared to the pin stripe this is a fairly tight, small pattern, and it all looks great together. There….P.B.S. Same with your living room. Chances are your sofa is upholstered in a plain fabric. Going for a designer look? Take a chance and look for some draperies with a larger pattern, then pick up some striped pillows that incorporate all the colors in your living room and throw those on the sofa. What a quick and simple way to add visual interest to your living room! Here is an example of the pillowscape on my sofa. Yes, I have a “pillowscape”. When selecting pillows for my living room I found a texture that reads as a solid (plain), there’s a big pattern and then a stripe that pulls the two together.

Pillowscape from Dustin’s home.

Pillowscape from Dustin’s home.

So when I had to pull together 9 fabrics for my first WEFTY project, I started to get a little overwhelmed. It had to all work together but for me it also had to be interesting. I like complex things.

Tumbling Triplets  weave by Dustin Struckmeyer.

Tumbling Triplets weave by Dustin Struckmeyer.

Let’s look at just the green sections of my WEFTY weave. I chose a bright green printed texture. Sure it’s technically a “pattern” but we are going to bend that rule a little and call it plain. A lot of times I use a texture for my plain fabrics. Then I found a large pattern with a bit of an organic motif in the same color family. With those two set, it was time to add in my small or stripe. It didn’t take long to find the perfect tight polka dot to complete my P.B.S. Each section of my weave is made up of a plain (texture), a bigger scale pattern and then a small scale pattern.

So I want to know, are you ready to pledge your support to P.B.S.? Go dig around in your stash and start pull somethings together and when you get stuck…remember to tune into P.B.S.! Now back to you, Tara.

Tara CurtisComment