Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics

American Made Since 1987

Karla Overland

Brainerd, Minnesota
A unique dyeing process makes this gorgeous cotton fabric look like suede. Scrumptious, saturated colors for quilts, clothing, art & home dec.

Tell us about your business.

When I was 10, I learned how to sew. When I was 20, I learned how to quilt. When I was 30, I learned how to dye... and now I dye a little every day! I came into this established business as a partner 13 years ago, and am now the owner/colorist/designer/janitor with three helpers. Cherrywood has become well-known in the quilting industry, fiber arts world and beyond. We use high-quality muslin, unique formulas of procion dye, and a secret technique to create Cherrywood. This day-long batch-dyeing process produces about 200 yards of fabric per day, which is then pressed, folded, cut and packaged into irresistible bundles of joy. Our customers are mainly quilters, but I would love to expand into other areas such as Home Decorating. I also want to reach out to younger sewers and introduce them to quality fabric and get them excited about sewing, quilting and fiber art.

What makes your business stand out?

Hand dyed fabric has an organic quality that can't be matched by commercial fabrics. It is not churned out in a factory, it does not come off a bolt, and it cannot be found everywhere. What makes Cherrywood Fabric unique is that it really looks like suede - you have to touch it to believe it. There are subtle tone-on-tone variations in the color so it "reads" as a solid, but has much more depth and richness. I have developed, tested and tweaked hundreds of formulas to create gradations of colors inspired by nature. Sometimes earthy and dark, sometimes clear and fresh. Being a small company of creative quilters, we are able to give personal attention to all our customers. Why is Cherrywood so soft? Because it has been touched many, many times by many loving hands. And once Cherrywood gets in the hands of a quilter/designer/crafter, it blossoms into something even more beautiful... which makes what I do so rewarding.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Never apologize for your ideas. Creative minds work differently than other minds but that doesn't mean creatives are crazy. If you are inspired by something and it gets your juices going, chances are there are other people out there that will get excited by it, too. Those are your customers. Seek them out. You will be influenced by what's happening in the market and by what your competitor is doing, but sometimes you need to filter all that out, tap into your inner creativity and go with your gut.

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