Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Walk into Diane Frankenberger’s People, Places and Quilts in downtown Summerville and you’ll find a rainbow of fabrics enticing your fingers to start creating.
One day soon you could have even more options – the chance to design your own fabric and print it in the store.
Custom-designed fabrics are already available on the Internet, but Patrick McGinnis, the director of product marketing for Mt. Pleasant-based Sawgrass Consumer, said his company’s new print process produces commercial-quality, washable fabrics.
Other fabrics, he said, don’t hold up to washing so aren’t good choices for clothing or quilts.
“I wouldn’t even want to go out in the rain with it,” he said.
McGinnis was at People, Places and Quilts on Monday with two versions of the machine – the $7,000 model, which would be marketed to store owners, and the $500 model, which would be marketed to designers and artists – to show off the product to local quilters and help Frankenberger celebrate the 24th anniversary of her store.
McGinnis said the company has been working on the process for a year and enlisted Frankenberger’s input early on, after asking around and hearing she would be the best person to consult.
About two months ago, the company asked if she knew local quilters who’d like to experiment with the process, and Frankenberger put Sawgrass in touch with four quilters.
Their designs were on display at the store Monday.
McGinnis said he expects that in 10 years or so, fabric stores won’t carry hundreds of bolts of fabric. Instead, they’ll primarily print designs on demand.
He also envisions stores offering their own designs. For example, Frankenberger might create fabric with a Lowcountry or Summerville theme, he said.
Frankenberger said the process takes fabric design to the next level. She’d like to have the machine in the store and pay royalties whenever it’s used, but those details are still to be worked out.
May 4 marked Frankenberger’s 24th year in business. The store is celebrating with a 24 percent off sale all week.