Designer’s Sketchbook: Cheyne from Cut Out and Collect


Cheyne Little from Cut Out and Collect sent me a page from her sketchbook for this edition of Designer’s Sketchbook. Cheyne makes fabric bags and pouches and you can see more of her work on her website. She answered some questions about her design process and how she gets from idea to finished product as well.

What about you? If you are a designer and are interested in being featured for Designer’s Sketchbook, I’d love to take a look at your work! Just shoot me an email.

Now onto Cheyne’s Sketchbook!


1. What are your current design inspirations?

I’m wildly inspired by the seasons – growth, change, decay – and all of the beautiful shapes and colors brought about by each.  I also find my creative friends and team members to be incredibly motivational.

2. What’s your creative process like?

In a word?  Messy.  I had a printmaking professor who lectured us on the importance of keeping messy stacks of notes and books filled with unorganized ideas and doodles and nothing you would particularly want to show off.  I really took that to heart.  I have little books of all sizes with to-do lists and doodles working out line art for embroidery patterns.  Each project’s planning phase is different.  The execution is always the same:  I hear a good song, I find the way I want to draw that leaf, I know the shape of the pocket, and suddenly I’m lost for hours in a sea of fabric and thread.

3. Do you work in collections? Or just add new designs as they come to you?

I work one bag at a time.  This doesn’t quiet lend itself to traditional lines but I do find that I will work with an image or idea for a few bags at a time (for example: I currently have an obsession with laurel wreaths and their rich symbology in academia and otherwise.  The laureate bag and a few others come from that).  I also like to revisit ideas I’ve worked on previously.  Perhaps I’m just not ready to work in entire lines!

4. Do you come up with a design 1st and then source materials or source materials and then get inspired by your raw materials?

A great fabric print or vivid linen color can make my heart feel like it may explode.  I usually purchase my textiles and notions to begin with, choosing colors that I need and finding new combinations to work with and supplement them as I go along…  I’ve been working hard to create more of my own prints with piecework or embroidery.

5. Do you generally sketch out ideas 1st before coming up with a new design?

I may not create beautiful, detailed sketches but each bag pattern started with a sketch.  Sometimes they’re a tiny line drawing on receipt paper.  Occasionally they’re more detailed and finished.  Often, I sketch directly onto my pattern tissue paper to get a real idea for scale.

I believe that thinking within the confines of one sketchbook will inhibit you.  Thinking that your sketchbook should be full of pages and pages of finished works of art and perfection is a sure-fire way of making sure your sketchbook is left completely blank.



One comment

  1. These pieces are so fun! I also love Cheyne’s philosophy on keeping lots of messy notes and doodles – I feel the same way sometimes!

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