Frequently Asked Questions

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*Questions about Anna Maria's fabric lines and sewing patterns*

Where can I buy your fabric lines?

There are many wonderful stores around the globe that sell my fabrics both online and on land. My fabrics are not sold at mass retailers, but at independent retailers. Please see the find page for some help on finding a few of those stores. If you are selling my fabrics and want to be included on the list, please email me!

Can I purchase fabric from your site?

We do sell pre-cut stacks of my fabric collections in various combinations, so check the shop for a look at those.

Are your Bohemian (or other out of print) fabrics still available?

Its a sad truth that my fabric lines go out of print, although I see small cuts for sale popping up here and there every now and then online and elsewhere. I'm sure you've thought of this, but do an internet search or you might have some luck on etsy.com, etc. While I appreciate all the emails asking about these lines and how much you need them in your life, I am likely no better at finding it than you are. I am currenlty working with Westminster to resurrect some old favorites in the near future.... so stay tuned!

I'm a retailer, how can I sell your fabrics and patterns in my store?

Thank you so much for your interest in selling my fabrics and patterns! Please see our wholesale page for all the contact information you need to become a stockist.

Can I make a small amount of items from your fabric and then sell or donate them?

Yes, you certainly may! I just ask that while you may say that it is made from fabric designed by me, that you make it clear that your are the maker of the goods. And thanks!

Can I make items for sale using your sewing patterns (free or purchased patterns)?

My sewing patterns are intended only for personal use and not for the production of goods for sale, in any quantity. Thanks for respecting my original copyrighted designs!

I am a manufacturer, can I purchase your fabric to mass produce items?

Yes, but those questions need to be directed through Westminster Fibers in order to be sure that the items you wish to mass produce do not conflict with items already on the market with some of my same fabric designs.
Please email: joyce.robertson@westminsterfibers.com

Can I use your fabric designs or copy them to decorate my website or promote my own goods?

I appreciate that you like my art work but I am the sole copyright holder of all the originally created designs on all of my fabrics and therefore you are unable to use or reproduce the images in whole or in part to promote your own goods without express written consent from me. If you are hoping to use my designs in order to help sell items made from my materials, please just email me for permission first! And p.s. I do share promotional image downloads of each collection for you if you are selling my fabrics, just click here.

Can I use quilting weight cotton for upholstery?

Well, I've certainly tried! They are usually a little lighter weight than what I would consider ideal for covering a couch, but perfectly suitable for curtains, bedding, pillows, clothing, and so much more. I do recommend the cotton sateen home decor weight fabrics for upholstery- velveteens are lovely too.

What are the care recommendations for the Oil Cloth fabrics? And are they safe for family use?

I recommend washing the oil cloth fabrics in cold water on a gentle cycle, with a gentle detergent and hang to dry. You may use a relatively cool iron on the non-slick side of the oil cloth for pressing.
Our oilcloth (which are more accurately described as laminated cottons) are PU coated and phthalate-free. They are therefore free of the traditional chemicals which are found to be in the heavier non-fabric oilcloths.

Can you tell me about where and how your fabrics are produced and whether the material or their production is eco-friendly, or anything about the working conditions of those who produce it?

My fabrics, as well as all Westminster/FreeSpirit Fabrics, are manufactured at mills in Korea. While I can't offer specifics on the questions you ask (because I have no in-depth knowledge), I imagine that the team at Westminster would be happy to answer your questions as well as they can. Westminster is the part of the larger Coats and Clark conglomerate and has been a very well respected name in the fibers industry for more than two centuries (if memory serves me !). While I can expect and hope for the best of conditions for every individual and environment that touches the fabric I've designed, ultimately none of these decisions are mine but Westminster's. I am a freelance designer, although of course, I have the highest of social expectations for any product that bares my copyright. As my design studio grows, I am becoming increasingly conscious of the manufacture of the items that I design and have myself started asking more questions of all my manufacturers. Thank you so much for sharing my concerns. Please contact Westminster Fibers for more information: 1-866-907-3305

Would you like to see pictures of items I've made from your fabrics?

Yes please! In fact, if you really want to show off you can upload your pictures to one of many flickr groups that I host just for this occassion! Visit the fabric page to link onto several fabric collection groups to see what other clever folks have made with these fabric lines. I host other groups as well for my book, and patterns which will always be linked on my blog. Happy sewing!

*Questions about Anna Maria's website and blog*

Why do you have both a website and a blog and what's the difference?

I've had this website for as long as I've had a design studio, since around 2001. It was created in order to promote my design work to manufacturers. I started writing a blog (you can think of that as an online photo/writing journal) in September of 2006 because I found that I had lots of people who were interested in my design work trying to find out about me through my business website. But many of these people really weren't business folks; they were creative types wanting to share information and get insight into my process. So this was sort of how blogging started. The website and the blog serve two purposes for me. I do not want my blog readers to continually have my brand or my products being sold to them, but I'd rather just enjoy the company that I'm writing for. But if you just visit the website, then you will be presented with more in depth info about my company and the products that I design, books that I write, etc. The blog is simply a window in... mostly to me. And one I hope you enjoy looking into. The process of sharing my days there has become an integral part of who I am, whether a post is read by one person or 20,000. I'm thankful for the feedback I receive there and the friendships that form because of it.

How do I know when you've written a new post on your blog?

To get updates about my blog posts there are several great free services out there. Bloglines and Googlereader are among my favorites, and once you do a simple free sign-up, they make it very easy to organize all your favorite blogs on one page and clearly see when there is a new post.

Can I use the photographs on your website or blog?

Please email me for permission to do so first and I will ask that you always link the credit back to my blog or website.

Can I link your website or blog on my site?

Certainly and thank you.

Will you please link to my website or blog on your blog?

While I do have a small list of links on my site, it is not something that I am continually able to add to by request. It's a list that forms organically as I have time to look around and add to because it reflects my interests or sometimes my aesthetic. It becomes quite difficult to keep up with a huge list and check in from time to time to see if they are still valid links. While I don't want to seem unbalanced with the linking, you can certainly choose to not link to me! My first priority is always going to be getting my studio work done, and taking care of my family, only a small amount of things fit in beyond that. Please know that there are far more blogs that I look at than I actually link to, and there are more fabulous ones all the time. Its kinda hard to keep up.

What kind of camera do you use to take the pictures on your sites?

As of the middle of October 2007 I've been using a Canon Digital SLR EOS 40D. I love it.

What is Flickr and why all the links to there?

Flickr is a wonderful photo sharing site where I upload a lot of my photos in order to store them and to share them. Many of the links from photos on this site and on my blog go there, so that I don't have to store the same sets of photos in 3 places. At flickr, I organize my photos in related galleries and I also host some flickr groups where you can upload what you've made with my fabric, etc. Anyone can start a flickr group and anyone can view photo groups. It is wonderfully inspirational and full of awesome, craft, sewing, art and home oriented groups, and also the work of many amazing photographers. (Just a note: There are some groups that are not what I would consider kid friendly so always accompany your child if they are browsing around like anywhere else on the internet, of course!)

*Questions about Anna Maria's other products and shop*

How often do you have new items in the shop?

It really fluctuates and will depend on whats happening in the studio. Be sure to sign up on our mailing list to get up to the minute news on new product releases and more!

I was shopping and found paper napkins (giftwrap, stationery, guest towels, cake stands, recipe books,etc.) with your name on them, is that you?

That is most likely a product designed by me. I've worked with more than 2 dozen manufacturers in several product categories to design related collections. Fabric has definitely been the spoiled child since 2006, is really my comfort zone, and where all of my artwork begins. However just as I have done in the past, I work with various companies to develop finished products lines outside of the sewing/craft industry.

Can you tell me how to order from your shop and what forms of payment you accept?

You bet! You can go to my SHOP info page to get all those questions and more answered!

Do you have any free patterns for download?

Yes I do! You can find them linked on my MAKE page.

Do you take commissions for paintings or quilts?

Sorry, while I would love to, I can't take any commissions at this time. We are soon beginning a "Visiting Artist" section to the online store that will feature the work of a handful of artisans at a time. And I am likely to be a visiting artist myself every now and then! We'll have more info on that soon!

Do you hand-quilt your quilts or send them out?

I do both, but more and more these days I have been trying to handquilt all that I can. I simply love the process of it, and the squishy-soft feel of the finished quilts too.

*Questions about business and life in general*

How did you become a fabric designer, any tips?

Essentially I was already designing other lines of goods and while exhibiting my designs at a trade show called Surtex, I was approached by the wonderful Donna Wilder of Free Spirit Fabric and the rest is history. There are many designers, artists, quilters and even celebrities who each have a different story to tell about how they started, so there is no one way to do it. Just research (the internet is such an amazing tool) the companies that you like and find out what their submission guidelines are. Work on a portfolio, send it to them and be patient. You will almost never get a call immediately even if its amazing art, because they have a company to help run. Be persistent, find your niche, and don't copy anyone. You're too good for that!

Do you have any tips on how to get started designing products?

A degree in design certainly doesn't hurt but that's not the whole story. I think that you really have to research and understand the market that you are interested in designing for and the interenet is a wonderful place to do that. Find out which tradeshows facilitate the happenings in the particular industry that you are interested in and try to attend them to see what its all about and if you see yourself as having something new to offer it. The first show that I exhibited my design work in was Surtex, and its really good for those who are just starting out. But there are also people who continue to do that show year after year. There is also the Licensing Show, Printsource, and a slew of others. All the marketing and sales that happens in the sewing industry usually happens at the Quilt Market. There is nothing stopping you from entering any of these markets, just arm yourself with the knowledge of how to go about it through research and that will better help you see where you fit in...and whether you even want to! Go for it!

What kind of college degree do you have?

I earned a Fine Arts Degree with a major in Drawing from the University of Tennessee in 1995, with partial studies at the Ringling School of Art and Design.

How did you get a book deal?

The publishers of my book came across my website and blog and asked me to write one. Thats pretty much it. If I had information about how to get a book deal, I would offer it, but I wasn't actually trying at the time so I wouldn't know.

How did you get on the Martha Stewart Show?

See above, same deal! Although, I do know that there is a link on the Martha Stewart site that asks if you'd like to be on the show, and tell me when you're on!

How do you get in magazines?

Again, the visibilty of both my website and blog has a hand in that process. However, I do know that you can send unsolicited submissions to magazine editors with a cover letter if you are interested in having yourself or your products/story featured.

Do you have any employees?

I have been so fortunate to employ a lovely group of women, some in the past, some presently, some ongoing for specific projects, but all of them are dear to me so they are mentioned here: Allie Murphy (studio assisting, graphic design, online store management, modeling), Juliana Horner (order processing, customer service, modeling), Holly Craig (business consulting), Alexia Abegg (pattern editing, test sewing, sample sewing, modeling), Pierrette Abegg (studio assistant, graphic design, online store management, modeling), Brittney Anderson (sample sewing), Crista Hooven (interning-studio help), Anna Johnson (interning-studio help).

How the heck do you raise such a big family and manage your own business?

I'm not sure that I have a helpful or very informative answer on that one. It's something I get asked very often and the simplest way I can answer it is to say that I have been blessed with a very loving and supportive husband, and my kids understand that I have some dreams too. They are always first, but the reality of a busy household, let alone throwing a business into it, is that some days are hectic and others are bliss. Luckily my work is very visual and they can enjoy what I do, understand it and even take part in it. If I could mention a few things about my personality and way of life that might be insightful, I would say that: I work quickly and decisively; I like hopping around from one thing to another; I am not bothered by dust; I barely watch television; we include the kids in the housework as a way to teach them and spend time with them; I encourage them to help each other when I am occupied; I have many studio tasks that I do with children underfoot and some where that's not possible, which is where that amazing husband and several other friends, family and neighbors come in. I am very blessed!

Are you Greek Orthodox, and can you tell me more about that?

I am very fortunate to have been born into an Orthodox Christian home and that is a blessed way of life that we continue in our family. The best resource for learning more about the Orthodox Faith is by reading information at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.


copyright © 2007-2011 Anna Maria Horner