FabricPlate Frenzy

Designer Debra Gabel is buried in FabricPlates getting ready for Row by Row 2016.


We love them!  We love to collect them.  We love to give them as gifts.  We love to figure out their quirky phrases.  We love to use them for clever projects.  We just love them!

FabricPlates™ are the brainchild of pattern designer and graphic artist, Debra Gabel.

In 2013, Janet asked Debra to create a logo for Row by Row and design a FabricPlate™ exclusively for participating shops.  Fans loved all the fun vanity phrases that summer and the collecting frenzy began.

Designing the 3.5″ x 7.25″ fabric license plate look-a-likes is a detailed process.  Debra begins designing a template for each state’s plate as soon as the next year’s theme is finalized, usually a year in advance.  She tweaks each template with little touches unique to that state or province.  In 2015, she created a record 59 unique designs.

Quilt Odyssey FabricPlates

FabricPlates designed for 2015 Quilt Odyssey Show in Hershey, PA.

Next comes the customization and vanity phrase step in the process.  As soon as shops register with Row by Row they can reserve their phrase.  Because phrases are such an important feature, Debra records each shop’s phrase so that none are repeated within the same state.

Proofs of each plate are created and emailed back and forth between Debra and the shops.  When all is in order and the shop approves the final proof, Debra sends the artwork off to be printed on organic, white 100% cotton sateen.

About four weeks later, the plates come back to Debra, printed with 48 plates per panel.  The plates are then carefully cut apart, placed individually in plastic bags for sale, and shipped off to the shops.  The whole process can take up to two months.

Debra and her family work like crazy in the months before Row by Row to fulfill the orders from nearly 2700 quilt shops.  Some have more than one FabricPlate™ design.  Some shops order hundreds of plates and some just the panel of 48.  It’s a FabricPlate™ frenzy at Zebra Patterns too!

Debra Gabel

Debra Gabel

Debra’s company, Zebra Patterns, includes many customized designs and block of the month programs.  All have Debra’s signature style.  One of her most popular is the Stamp collection.  It includes designs for all the states, many cities, national parks, special events–international destinations too.

Debra designs plates for other events and vends at major quilt shows like Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA.  She has some exciting plans for 2016.  Could she be creating more than one style plate for collecting next year?  Stay tuned.

Row by Row Experience™ is fortunate to have Debra and her talent as Creative Art Director.  She is the Energizer Bunny on the team.  But Debra has an inspirational story of her own as a business owner and cancer survivor.  Earlier this year, Schmetz Needles did a wonderful biography of Debra for their Inspired to SEW digital magazine.  We’ve included it here for you.  Enjoy!bobbin looking left