Located in upstate New York, Hawthorne Threads has become a favorite online destination for quilters, sewers, and anybody else who’s crazy about high quality fabrics. We’re excited to have Hawthorne Threads as a new Sew4Home sponsor. Of course they offer a wide variety, but what keeps customers coming back is Hawthorne Threads’ knack for carrying the fabric that makes you want to say, “I have to sew with that.” Recent big news is the release of their very own fabric collections: Bengal, Calliope and Fair Isle. A fourth collection, Etched will be arriving soon. For those of us who enjoy their taste in fabric design, these new collections embody everything we’ve come to love about Hawthorne Threads. Even more amazing, they print these fabrics on-site using the latest digital technology.
Hawthorne Threads got its start back in 2008 when Lindsay Prezzano began selling wholesale fabric through her handmade Etsy shop. Her business grew until their house could no longer store the bolts of fabric, and she and her husband Charlie were able to expand their storehouse into a renovated chocolate factory. Charlie, in addition to his job as a software developer, created their website and put in hours and hours of work at the store until Hawthorne Threads grew to be so successful, it became his full time job as well.
Even as their online business has grown, Charlie and Lindsay have been able to keep the personal, one-on-one attention that’s earned them such a loyal following. When you visit the site ot read their blog, you get the feeling they’re sitting across the kitchen table from you, just sharing their favorite fabrics. It’s true. They only stock designs they love and that Lindsay would use in sewing projects for her own home and kids.
On top of that, they have a wonderfully creative discount program that increases your percentage off as your order increases. You then get even more discounts the longer you’ve been a customer. No wonder they have such a loyal following.
The amazing possibilities of digital fabric printing
Most of the prints you find at a regular fabric store were produced in huge textile factories, on multi-million dollar machines that run thousands of yards at a time. While the printing itself is fairly rapid, setting up a new design is a complex process. It typically takes at least six months for a new fabric to go from the designer’s computer to the store shelf.
Digital fabric printing has cut this lag time down to a matter of days.
We mentioned above how Charlie and Lindsay print their own fabric at their shop. This is high thread-count cotton, with gorgeous colors and designs. In fact, you wouldn’t know you’re sewing on digitally printed fabric unless somebody told you. (Of course, you need to follow the care instructions for pre-shrinking and laundering. Read all the digitally printed fabric FAQs here.)
The actual printing happens on a specially modified wide-format digital printer, similar to the kind that prints big banners and posters at your local print shop. The plain white fabric is fed through the printer while the print head moves back and forth, laying down the design.
The process is very precise and the resulting cotton prints have sharp lines and vivid colors. Check out the Hawthorne Threads Bengal Video for a look at digital fabric printing in action.
In addition to producing beautiful fabric, this digital printing process is also very eco-friendly. The water-based dyes Hawthorne Threads uses are free of harmful industrial solvents. The designs are made color-fast by a simple heat process instead of a chemical fixation. And because they can print your order on demand, there’s a lot less waste. You want five yards of Feathered Hearts In Shell? They’ll make you five yards.
Advances in “digital textile printing,” the official name for printing your own fabric, have made it like Christmas every day for fabric lovers. We now have access to gorgeous little niche collections that simply weren’t feasible previously because of the cost associated with setup.
According to Charlie, it’s allowed Hawthorne Threads to create and begin producing new fabric collections in a matter of days. Working with their designer, Lindsay comes up with the motifs and colors, and as each new design takes shape, she can immediately walk over and print a half yard to see how it looks on fabric.
Introducing Bengal, Calliope, Fair Isle and soon, Etched
Hawthorne Threads now has three complete collections of their own fabric, with a fourth to be released in a matter of weeks.
Reflecting Lindsay’s love of Indigo, this collection was inspired by the jungles of India. You’ll find your eyes wandering through a jungle of patterns until they spot the tiger, ready to pounce at any moment. This collection offers a select group of 12 prints, including a double border and a panel, which we love for its versatility in home décor and accessories.
Named for the Greek Muse of poetry and the arts, Calliope will inspire you to create something filled with love for the ones you cherish. This collection of 12 prints is a blend of French and Scandinavian styles, offering both sweetness and sophistication. Amid pops of corals and soft pinks tempered by cool blues, the designs will captivate you with their innocent charm. Watch the video for more inspiration.
This charming winter-themed collection features a soft palette of smokey grays, ice blues, and creamy pinks. With sleds, hats, mittens, and friendly polar bears as the main motifs, it makes you want to bundle up in your favorite sweater for an afternoon of sewing. We love the 19½” panel print, featuring an adorable “sweater bear.”
Lindsay created this brand new collection of 12 prints to coordinate with the colors of Bengal, Calliope and Fair Isle, allowing you to mix and match between all four. Inspired by hand drawn motifs, the various designs in the collection are a perfect blend with one another.
Order these fabrics now (you can pre-order Etched at the time of this writing) and sign up for Hawthorne Threads’ email newsletter to find out when they’ll be releasing more.
More great fabrics to come… maybe your very own
Hawthorne Threads will be increasing their fabric printing capability in the near future, allowing them to release their own collections even more rapidly. In addition, they’ll continue to add fabric from all your favorite designers and houses.
If your interest in digital fabric printing is piqued, there are ways for you to try it on your own. The most popular online option is Spoonflower, and we have two previous articles on this design and print process: an interview with designer and Spoonflower enthusiast, Tammy Hensley; and a pillow tutorial featuring Tammy’s Spoonflower fabric.