Yonks ago (well, November), I bought this Orla Kiely book called Pattern from Selfridges. It’s obvious to me that Orla Kiely is heavily influenced by vintage fabric in her design and that why I have come to love her stem print and have purchased duvet covers, pots, handbags and aspired to buy pieces in her Heals collection. I must admit with other designers I have tired of seeing them in every magazine but I just can’t get enough of Orla Kiely.

Flicking through the book I was quite surprised by her early handbag designs for the Japanese market – they really are hideous (although perhaps relevant for the early 90’s). However, it is comforting to see that her designs didn’t just form from one great idea and that the designs have evolved. When I first decided to change my career, initially I looked into furniture renovation and not upholstery and certainly didn’t have vintage fabric included in my ideas, but as time went on I realised I could synergise all my loves.  I suppose what I’m trying to say is that every good idea starts out as just a shell of an idea and the more thought that goes into it the more fine tuned it becomes. This is the story this book tells, I believe.

 So back to the book, and back to my favourite part of any pattern inspired book – the pictures! Kiely includes some great images of 60’s and 70’s textiles and pattern books from the 50’s and 60’s. She also includes images from her collections and a chronological look at how these patterns have been tweaked.  I love the Kiely fabric upholstered onto sofas and mid century modern chairs and these are also represented in the book.

I think you would buy this book if you were a Kiely fan, but I also think it’s a good look at how an idea can develop into a signature print, it’s also an inspiring read for any women in business.

You can buy this book from Amazon.


About Vicky Grubb

Once a kitchen table Upholsterer, now a fully fledged tutor, author and hoarder of vintage fabrics. My Upholstery studio is based in Bournemouth, Dorset, where I live with my husband and two tinkers.

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