Ever since I moved to Chicago, I've been fascinated with the cute houses in the city. I have lived in Lakeview, then in Andersonville, and now live in Wicker Park.
About two years ago, this idea started shaping in my head, of making fabric patterns with Chicago houses.
So I set out with my phone, and took photos of the houses on my street. Then I opened the photos on my computer, chose my favorites, and illustrated them. Line by line. House by house. Arranging them, repeating them, choosing colors, creating a pattern.
Then I did some of my own test printing online, and sewed pillows for friends and family. Just for fun.
Everyone loved them! Pretty soon, with all the encouragement and good feedback from family and friends, and the generous help of my boyfriend's beautiful mind, the idea of NeighborHäuser™ was born - the idea of a whole collection of textile gift items, with houses from cool neighborhoods in Chicago, other US cities, and places around the world! Pillows, tea towels, totes, ...all kinds of products!
Now I needed to figure out how and where to make these pillows, in an eco-friendly, ethical way, that also is still somewhat reasonably priced and will afford me the ability to keep creating more patterns and more products.
This was no easy feat. I had never done anything like this before. And soon I realized that making a quality product with sustainable materials and fair labor compensation doesn't come cheap, either. I certainly didn't want child-labor from a third-world country. So it took a while, but after a few frustrating rounds of sub-par prints, mediocre fabric, sewing limitations, and more ("we can sew but we can't print", "we can print but we don't order zippers", "we can do it all but no labels or hangtags",...), I finally found a manufacturer - here in Chicago! And the screen printer in the same location to boot.
So now, after what it seems like ages, I am holding my pillow in my hands, looking at the gorgeous screen print of these wonderful houses, and it was all worth it.
I hope you will love them, too.