The International Inspirations of American Jane

If you take a look at Sandy Klopp’s fabric, it’s easy to see the influence of trips to France. In her newest line, Le Petit Poulet, handsome roosters and rabbits pose in circular frames, paisleys mingle with posies, and bees flit by a wire fence. But France isn’t the only country that’s left it’s mark her designs.

Sandy grew up in Holland, Michigan, the site of an annual festival celebrating tulips. Those bold, bright blooms, and the mix of patterns in the traditional Dutch costumes worn by festival participants, animate her fabric designs and inspire her palette, as well.

Other travel-related influences include Saudi Arabia and Iran, where Sandy and her husband lived and taught and where the patterns and colors of Persian carpets caught Sandy’s eye. The visual richness of all these destinations mingle in her American Jane fabrics.

“When I first started designing I wasn’t really trying for a particular ‘look,’” says Sandy. “I just did what I liked.”

Sandy learned to sew on her grandmother’s treadle sewing machine as a child. Her sister-in-law encouraged her to make her first quilt and later Sandy honed her skills working in quilt shops in Northern California.

“I pretty much love the whole design process,” says Sandy. “I love seeing the fabric stacked up and holding a grouping together. I love cutting it into little stacks, ready to sew. I love sewing it up to see how it comes together and I love quilting it.”

Is there anything that doesn’t thrill Sandy about her profession?

“The only thing I don’t love is writing patterns,” she says with a laugh. “You have to switch to the other side of your brain and it’s hard to go back and forth.”

Sandy appreciates being able to express her design influences in her work for Moda. “I feel like I fell into the best possible place to be when I joined up with them,” she says. “I’m so impressed with the way they take care of their people and allow them to do what they do best. From Mark (Dunn) right on down, they know their business and they do it because they love it.”

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