Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sewing with Certainty #5 Creating your Own Designs

I missed a few of the Sewing with Certainty @ Quilty Habit link-ups but I am back for #5 and I have to say this one gets me excited!
November 2013 - February 2014!

I am all about creating my own designs.  For me patterns are a great learning tool.  They are an effective way to learn and perfect a technique but when it comes to making quilts I usually prefer to do my own thing.  

One of my favorite quilts I designed.
When starting a new quilt I typically have some sort of inspiration as my starting point.  I get my inspiration from many places including drawings, photographs, pinterest, blogs and my job.  I am lucky enough to work at a quilt shop  and since I love color one of my main jobs is creating fabric kits and pulling fabrics for custom layer cakes and jelly rolls that we make in-house (although we call them something else since those are Moda's terms).

Picking 40 fabrics for a pre-cut bundle
A good example for me is the above grouping of fabric I pulled for a layer cake which inspired me to make a quilt out of similar colors myself.  The following stack is fabric from my stash that I pulled to resemble the fabrics I picked for the pre-cuts at the store. I also added some lighter fabrics that I plan on incorporating into the background pieces. I haven't fully decided if I will use all these fabrics but it is the start to my process.

When it comes to actually designing the quilt I can be a bit of a disaster.  Sometimes I plan ahead using graph paper and notebooks but the problem is I tend to keep my notes in about 10 different notebooks - whichever is closest to me at the time - and they usually end up being covered in doodles, drawings and small scribbles of additional notes.

These are literally all notebooks/sketchbooks I either pulled from my sewing room or had in the room with me ... I have more - meaning I think I might have a problem.
Unfortunately for my sanity (and my husband's) I used to plan very little of my quilts in advance.  I just plan a basic structure or have a scribble of what I want it to look like and wing it. Not saying it doesn't work well - the Sun Quilt and Cat and the Hat quilts I made both kind of started that way but it does sometimes lead to trouble and headaches.

There is good news though because now that I am actually trying to design quilts that I can turn into patterns I have gotten better at being more organized and more thoughtful about the actual process of the design.  (I recently finished a quilt that I cannot wait to share and will be releasing a pattern with it too!)

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my design process - in actuality I could probably write quite a few posts on the subject but for now I will leave it at this.

Wishing you a wonderful day!



  1. Thanks sew much for sharing your experiences! I am sew happy to hear your quilt is finished and the pattern will soon be available. Sure enjoyed seeing all the inspiring pictures of fabric and especially your drawings!

  2. I've loved seeing into your design process, which I find hard to describe in words! Thanks for sharing it. And I love that starburst quilt. Quite a striking design.

  3. Awesome! Thanks for a peek into your mind :)

  4. Wow, you are quite an artist! Look at those sketch books and such pretty quilt beginnings too. I like your fabric stack too. Designing a quilt - sometimes they only seem to take on a life as you go along, other times you have a good idea of how it will finish up. Looking forward to seeing your latest quilt.

  5. That's so funny! I totally have the notebook problem. I'm forever trying to remember where I was when I doodled out a plan because that often means I can narrow down which notebook it might be in. I carry one around with me, but I never seem to use it. Go figure!

  6. Your post was wonderful, but after I read "I work in a quilt store" I kinda zoned out and had a hard time paying attention to the rest because my mind was going, "Damn I'm jealous!" the whole time : P Looking forward to seeing the new pattern when you release it!