Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Sometimes -- okay MANY times - I find that I am ahead of my time when it comes to design. I suppose I must have an innate knack for spotting a hot trend way before it's even a trend, or perhaps it's because I have the attention span of a dead flashlight battery and get bored easily - or more accurately it's probably both. It's a good thing that almost never works for me because I am more than likely ahead of the curve and the acceptance of the general public.

"I truly believe they (the fabrics) were ahead of their time."

Disco Dot is one example of a lucrative trend that's still alive in the market, and that I happened to hit upon at the right time. About the same time that dots became the new black, a hot trend appearing in the market was to embellish quilts, clothing, etc. with glitz and bling, rhinestones, sequins and metallic threads. Fairy Frost, in part was, developed because the mixing of metallic and pigment dye-stuff allowed the printed fabric to be "pre-embellished".

Then came the marriage of the dot and the pearlized pigment. I had a print in the market called Altoid Dot (the dots were about the size of an Altoid). At the same time, I was developing product for a client that did private label manufacturing based on their customer's theme, which was Hollywood Glamour. One of the easiest way for me to maximize design is to tweak or revise an existing design, which means at the printing mill, using screens that are already engraved and available.

In my thinking, Hollywood Glamour = pearlized pigment, and a pre-existing design that was a good candidate was Altoid Dot which also meant I could see test print samples quickly (of course, deadlines always seem to be the day before yesterday!) 

The name was taken from a Jennifer Saunders (Edina of Absolutely Fabulous) comedy pilot called, "Mirrorball". The opening is of a mirrorball spinning and flashing and throwing off glints of light from its multi-faceted, reflective surface. Epiphany!

Unfortunately for me on one hand, the program for which the design was developed fell though (don't worry; I got paid for my services) but on the other hand, I had a fantastic design at my disposal and knew it was too good to let it just fade away.
I presented the design to Kathy and staff at Michael Miller Fabrics, and it was a go. We did it in forty colors, and it did well... not a well as Fairy Frost was doing at that time, but it held its own for a while. It had all the right variables to be uber-successful but it just kind of okay. Why? We were asking ourselves. Perhaps it was too specific a shape - the dot - opposed to a non-specific texture. Perhaps it was too late at the end of the frenzy of the dot... maybe it was that people just didn't get it (after all, it took about 5 years for Fairy Frost to catch on fire!)

So, the design just lived its short life but not without attaining a bit of a cult following. The people out there that got it LOVED IT! They wanted more; they scavenged and scoured stores and online sites for every last inch of the available fabric. I've recently come upon a few of these connoisseurs, these coveters of a long unavailable fabric and they are thrilled beyond belief... 

"There were 2 fabrics that started it all. Michael Miller's Mirror Ball Dot fabric by Mark Hordyszynski in Rice and Toffee. We got them in the store this summer and have loved them ever since. I went searching for others a while back, just to find out there were 40 of these fabulous fabrics, all of which are not in production anymore. Oh the humanity! I couldn't believe they weren't making these wonderful fabrics anymore!"

The Big Island: Hawai'i
Designed by Mark Hordyszynski and made by Marinda Stewart

The time is now - the market is showing every indication that a broader audience exists to embrace this design... Debi, the sales manager at MMF was the first to recognize the importance of re-releasing the design. She put the bug in my ear - of course I would love to see this design come back! Kathy is brilliant at listening to the whisperings of the needs of the shop owners, e-tailers, and manufacturers and their customers.

by Marinda Stewart
(Click on the name to go to the page for the free quilt pattern)

As of the end of last month, 5 colors were introduced: Onyx, Platinum, Rice, Silver and Snow, and were all used in the quilt at left, with lots more to follow throughout the rest of the year and the full collection making an official debut at the Fall International Quilt Market in Houston in October.

 "More Mirror Ball Dot shimmery goodness is on its way? Cue angel song. I'm pumped to hear about just which shades are coming out, too!"

"I know how you feel! I just started to use some of the colors I've been clinging to. The promise of new fun shades makes it okay to start sewing with them again."

"You have no idea how happy you have made me!! I know it sounds crazy, but I think I could shed a tear!!! This is my all-time favorite fabric line and I cannot wait to be able to get more of it! I have been hoarding it and now feel safe using my stash! ;) Thanks!!!!!"

Photos: Google images, Mark Hordyszynski, Michael MIller Fabrics, SK Burton Designs and Worthygoods Textiles. Quotes from adoring MBD fans.


  1. Thrilled to be part of the background clamor for this fantastic re-issue. And the chevron quilt pattern? Could not be more timely. Finger on the pulse!

  2. Love the quilt, always love Mirror Ball, good luck with it this round

  3. I miss mirror ball dots...in all of the fun colors. Glad some are coming back

  4. PS a pearlized chevron would be sooooo fun

  5. I'm so happy I googled this, this is the best news! A few months later...:P I am soooo happy I could cry! I discovered this fabric not quite a year ago as a 1/2 yd remnant at my LQS and every time I go in I ask if they have seen the bolt. I am so late to the scene! I absolutely love the feel of this fabric!! I just mentioned it on twitter the other night when they asked what our fabs we are loving right now.