Samarra Khaja is Sew Adorkable


Welcome Sew Adorkable Blog Hop Book Tour readers!! We are so thrilled to be a part of this fab tour and I (Erin at Pellon) am personally super excited about this book! Sew Adorkable is the quirky brainchild of artist/designer/author/maker Samarra Khaja, who just happens to also be a Pellon Project Designer.

Samarra never fails to charm with her style and her wit and this book is a prime example. She has created an irresistible line-up of completely fabulous projects. From the TRAWRzers! (check Lindsay’s rendition here) to the Teacher Tool Belt, the Typewriter Tissue Box Cover to the Odd Socks Quilt, this one has a little something that will speak to the inner geek in all of us.

To get a bit more background and learn about Samarra’s thought process behind bringing this one to life, we went straight to the source.

Pellon: Samarra! Welcome:). Any chance you’d like to tell our readers a little more about yourself and how you came into this whole fabulous world of sewing? 
Samarra: I went to the Talented & Gifted Magnet High School, a geek-tastic college prep school, solidifying my position in life as a card-carrying nerd and goofball. I’ve also been a lifelong creative person and maker of things. My fine arts degree in printmaking, drawing and photography (along with a minor in Medieval Studies, cuz nerd’s gonna nerd) morphed into working as a graphic designer for many years and that subsequently evolved into including surface and textile design and voila, here we are with my new sewing book!

P: You had me at Adorkable;). Seriously though… how did you come to the book title and how does it represent you and your crafty persona?
S: Hahaha, how does it not represent me, is more like it! My publisher’s Creative Director, Gailen, used the term ‘adorkable’ first to describe my point of view (maybe even me, hahaha) and the universal theme behind my projects and the word stuck all the way to the end! YAY!

Prehistoric Portrait Painting by Samarra Khaja, Sew Adorkable

Prehistoric Portrait Painting by Samarra Khaja, Sew Adorkable

P: Each project in the book features a quirky mash-up of finished project photography and your awesome illustrations. How did that all come to be? Did you always know that the Octopus was destined to wear the Teacher Tool Belt and that the hedgehog would peek out of the shower, or did the illustrations take inspiration from the final project images? 
S: My idea to overlay photography with my illustrations was a solid concept from the beginning. The specifics didn’t come about until I saw the final photographs and played around with them. I had a two-part goal for the final look: to keep the images open and universally welcoming to a wide range of folks (by not depicting any specific people/models in them) and to also add an additional layer of other-worldliness to the book to help push people into feeling as creatively inspired as possible.

P: I’m sure there will be a handful of readers who feel the same way that I do… these projects seem almost like they were made just for me. I mean The Bee’s Knees Patch and TRAWRzers!? Did the projects or the titles come first? I’d love to hear a little more about your process.
S: I’m fairly concept driven with all my work, so the projects typically come first in a seed of an idea and then shortly thereafter the punny landslide begins and I start sorting through all the possible clever layering I can crowbar into a single idea. It’s really fun when it all falls into place!

Braille Alphabet Quilt by Samarra Khaja, Sew Adorkable

Braille Alphabet Quilt by Samarra Khaja, Sew Adorkable

P: I adore the layout of the book — each project gives the same layout: Fun Facts, What You’ll Need, Go Time!, All Together Now, Almost Done! & Ta-Dah! It sets readers up for a perfect sense of satisfaction with each project. Did you stumble upon this snazzy sequence for one project and decide it should be followed for all, or did you have the idea before even getting started?
S: After taking a first pass at a few of the projects, I recognized the rhythm I wanted and because I’m a freak for consistency, made it the standard structure for the whole book.

P: What was your favorite part about putting this book together? 
S: Hands down, drawing over the photos. Deciding what characters got to live on each page was incredibly enjoyable and I had fun picking a wide range of creatures, real and otherwise and housing them all together in one happy place.

Toothy, the Tooth Fairy by Samarra Khaja, Sew Adorkable

Toothy, the Tooth Fairy by Samarra Khaja, Sew Adorkable

P: What would you like our readers to know about how this book will change their lives?
S: I’m not an especially frilly girly-girl and am always looking for clever things that make a statement beyond just being pretty. With that in mind, this book fills a need I see in the sewing market, specifically catering to people like me, who want projects that are quirky, offbeat, humorous and downright fun and dorky. With added ridiculous humor and a lighthearted approach, my aim is to also disarm any hesitant people who may feel like crafting outsiders and let them know they’re welcome to join in and make, make, make!

P: Other than being a super fabulous designer, maker and author, you’re also a graphic designer, fabric designer and illustrator. First of all — WOW, you’re kind of awesome! Second, how do you feel they are all connected? Are you drawn to one particular area over another? 
S: It’s that whole concept-driven mindset I mentioned before; I love puzzle-solving like it’s nobody’s business, making things I haven’t seen before and putting a whole new spin and twist on things. So under that umbrella, and regardless of specific medium, I’m always trying to create the unexpected from the expected. I think that’s what connects everything I do. I love any chance to share my creative perspective on things, so if it’s through my illustration, fabric designs, or craft concepts, I’m as happy as a lark. And humor, if it can be done with humor, all the better!

Candy Dots by Samarra Khaja, Sew Adorkable

Candy Dots by Samarra Khaja, Sew Adorkable



Looking to grab a copy of your own? Head on over to C&T Publishing to snag your hard copy or your ebook.

Just because we love giveaways so much, we’re doing another one!! One lucky winner will win:

1 pkg of Pellon® 805 Wonder-Under
1 throw-sized pkg of Pellon® Nature’s Touch® 100% Natural Cotton Batting
1 yard of Pellon® FF78F1 Flex-Foam™ 1-Sided Fusible 
AND 1 copy of Sew Adorkable by Samarra Khaja!

To enter-to-win, simply leave a comment below telling us which fabulous project pictured is the first must-make project on our list. 1 bonus entry (please leave a separate comment) for a fun, adorkable, sewing story that you’d like to share!! :) (2 total entries per person!!)

One book per winner. Open to US & Canada residents only. US residents will receive a hard copy of the book. Canada residents will receive a promo code to purchase the ebook version free of charge. Giveaway is open until 11:59pm on Monday, October 26 (the last day of the blog tour!). Good luck:)

We’re still in the beginning stages of this fabulous tour! Make sure to click through to check out already published posts and keep an eye out for all the fabulous posts coming up! So much Adorkable goodness;).

09/14/15: C&T/Stash Books
09/16/15: Generation Q Magazine
09/18/15: Sew Timeless
09/21/15: The Fire Science Blog
09/23/15: Art School DropOut
09/25/15: Craft Buds
09/28/15: Pellon
09/30/15: Crafty Planner
10/02/15: Modern Handcraft
10/05/15: Imagine Gnats
10/07/15: May Chappell
10/09/15: Nancy Zieman
10/12/15: Dritz
10/14/15: Spoonflower
10/16/15: Sew Sweetness
10/19/15: Aurifil
10/21/15: Accuquilt
10/23/15: Schmancy Toys
10/26/15: Samarra Khaja

Thanks so much for stopping by to hang with us today!! Enjoy the rest of the tour!

Machine Quilting with Style — Christa Watson


If you’ve been following along with the Machine Quilting with Style Blog Hop… you made it! We are one of the last stops on this incredibly inspiring quilting journey and we couldn’t be more thrilled. We’ve been oogling all of the featured quilts, checking out interviews, and reading reviews from the amazing bloggers and just feel so honored to be a small part of the action.

It was about 10 months ago that I first connected with Christa. She was well on her way with this book and impressed me immediately. She’d been introduced to Pellon® Batting by a friend and knew right away that she wanted to work with a few different varieties for the book. I love that she went straight for what I call our ‘specialty battings’ — the Soy Blend and the Wool. Both battings are simply terrific — completely different and both magnificent to work with.

Little did I know when we first spoke just how amazing this book would be. I’ll admit it… I’m not a quilter. Thus far, I’ve only made simple throw quilts. I’ve only recently started small things like table runners and have just cracked the surface on making my own binding. I have a free-motion foot, but I’ve never actually used it. Christa’s book makes me feel like so much more is possible. She does a wonderful job of breaking down all of the steps — which batting to use, how to select the right thread, how to lay everything out on your home machine, how to use the walking foot, how to free motion quilt… the list goes on. She even explains different types of stitches and techniques and when to use them. This book is such a must-have for beginners (like me!) and experienced quilters alike.

Today’s feature quilt on the Blog Tour is Focal Point. It is one of my favorites, which is fabulous since it’s one of the quilts that uses our Soy Blend batting. See below for Christa’s stunning work and make sure to visit Amy Garro over at for more quilty goodness.


Focal Point from Machine Quilting with Style by Christa Watson (Martingale) -- Image by Brent Kane

Focal Point from Machine Quilting with Style by Christa Watson (Martingale) — Image by Brent Kane

Lightning from Machine Quilting with Style by Christa Watson (Martingale) -- Image by Brent Kane

Lightning from Machine Quilting with Style by Christa Watson (Martingale) — Image by Brent Kane

Pearl Gray from Machine Quilting with Style by Christa Watson (Martingale) -- Image by Brent Kane

Pearl Gray from Machine Quilting with Style by Christa Watson (Martingale) — Image by Brent Kane


Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 9.29.51 PM

After all the hype, I’m sure you’re ready to snag your own copy? Machine Quilting with Style is now available via Martingale and Amazon. Go ahead — be inspired!

Christa will be doing a quilt along in January and YOU get to vote for your favorite quilt. Whichever quilt receives the most votes is the quilt along she’ll do. Won’t that be fun??

Click here to voice your opinion and join in on the fun!

We couldn’t resist a giveaway to go along with all of the book raves! Christa used our Legacy by Pellon® Soy Blend Batting on both Focal Point and Lightning and our Legacy by Pellon® 100% Wool Batting for Pearl Gray. To celebrate, we’d like to gift one Throw-Sized package of each to one lucky winner. Even better? Christa has graciously offered up an e-copy of her book as well. Simply leave a comment below letting us know what you love most about the art of quilting!

Giveaway is open until 11:59pmEST on Thursday, Oct. 1. We’ll draw a winner and announce on Friday, Oct. 2. This giveaway is open to US & Canada only.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED — Congratulations to Claudia, #112:) — We’ve emailed you to coordinate the shipping of your prize!

This amazing blog hop kicked off on 9/14. We’d highly recommend checking out some of the posts below. Some showcase quilts from the book, some offer thoughts and reflections, and many offer some fabulous giveaways. So grab a cup of coffee (or tea!), a light snack and settle in for a serious dose of inspiration!

These stops all feature quilts from the book:

Additional stops on the hop are available from the awesome people listed below (we’re last!!) We’re all sharing our insights including book reviews, interviews, sample blocks, and other interesting content (and giveaways!) you won’t want to miss.

Thanks again to Christa for including us!


Quilted Fusible Flex-Foam™

Today’s stop on our Fusible Flex-Foam™ Blog Tour shows Bree from My Crafty Crap quilting our beloved new product. Doesn’t it look amazing?? And that is just Flex-Foam 1-Sided Fusible + quilting cotton.


Bree absolutely adores the fusible Flex-Foam and is currently using it to test a bag pattern for Sara from Sew Sweetness. We can’t wait to see the finished product! Click here to read Bree’s full review and check out her giveaway!



Don’t forget to follow along with all of our fabulous designers this week and next for impressions on our new Fusible Flex-Foam products, new projects, reviews and more!

Fusible Flex-Foam Blog Tour:
9/8 – Pellon
9/8 – Swoon Sewing Patterns
9/9 – Mommy’s Nap Time
9/10 – Cut to Pieces
9/11 – My Crafty Crap
9/13 – Pellon
9/14 – Baby Rozen Design
9/15 – Sew Sweetness
9/16 – Love to Color My World
9/17 – Anjeanette Klinder
9/18 – Pellon

**make sure to check our launch post (first link on the tour!) for information on product availability, in-store dates, and a SUPER FABULOUS GIVEAWAY!!

Fusible Flex-Foam™!

Yep, you read that right;). Flex-Foam™ 1-Sided and 2-Sided Fusible Interfacing is coming! If you love our Flex-Foam Sew-in, we’re pretty sure you’ll be head over heels for the fusibles.


Our Flex-Foam has been on the market as a sew-in since earlier this year. It’s quickly become a go-to favorite for projects like handbags, storage totes, and accessories. We loved the sew-in so much that we decided to take it a step further and add the fusibles! The same fabulous product with a handful of different application options — what could be better?

Here are the details:
FF78F1 – Flex-Foam 1-Sided Fusible, 20″ x 10 yard board
FF78F1R – Flex-Foam 1-Sided Fusible, 60″ x 10 yard roll
FF79F2 – Flex-Foam 2-Sided Fusible, 20″ x 10 yard board
FF79F2R – Flex-Foam 2-Sided Fusible, 60″ x 10 yard roll

Hancock Logo with H

Both the 1-Sided & the 2-Sided will be available via starting Monday, September 14. The 1-Sided will also be available in all Hancock stores — the 2-Sided in select Hancock stores.

Product will be available via & our wholesale distributors (if you are a business and need a distributor directory, please contact us) on September 15 and via & shortly thereafter. Are you excited yet??

Ethel, A FREE Swoon Sewing Pattern by Alicia Miller -- Uses FF78F1 Flex Foam 1-Sided Fusible

Ethel, A Swoon Sewing Pattern by Alicia Miller — Uses FF78F1 Flex Foam 1-Sided Fusible

A few of our beloved designers had a chance to test out some advance samples and here is what they have to say:

“I LOVE the one sided fusible flex foam! It blows everyone else’s product away. The adhesive on the product is fantastic and sticks so well throughout the construction process. I even had an oops where I had to pull off a part of the fabric to fix something else and the foam re-stuck like it was brand new. I am also really impressed with the lack of crinkle, even after turning a bag to finish it. You all have done a great job with this product.” – Kay Whitt, Sew Serendipity

“I’m very excited for your launch of the fusible Flex Foam! I absolutely LOVE the fusible!” – Nancy Spaulding, Baby Rozen Designs

“I did my ‘balling it up and ironing it flat’ test and it irons flat again like a dream! Looks great! It also fuses really fast too. This will be great to make bags with!!”  – Sara Lawson, Sew Sweetness

“I just used the fusible FF for the first time, and I am in LOVE!!! – Bree Wernimont, My Crafty Crap

The best part is that it fuses faster than Shape-flex (no, really, it does). A few seconds and bam, fused. The fusible Flex-Foam is now my favorite fusible interfacing. I am sure you will love it as much as I do.” – Alicia Miller, Swoon Sewing Patterns

Zipper Pull using Flex-Foam 2-Sided Fusible by Emily Lang of Mommy's Nap Time

Zipper Pull using Flex-Foam 2-Sided Fusible by Emily Lang of Mommy’s Nap Time

The Blog Tour kicked off today with Alicia Miller of Swoon Sewing Patterns — click here to check out her post and read more about how much she loves the 1-Sided Fusible Flex-Foam. See below for the full schedule and check back here throughout the week for updates!

Blog Tour:
9/8 – Pellon
9/8 – Swoon Sewing Patterns
9/9 – Mommy’s Nap Time
9/10 – Cut to Pieces
9/11 – My Crafty Crap
9/13 – Pellon
9/14 – Baby Rozen Design
9/15 – Sew Sweetness
9/16 – Love to Color My World
9/17 – Anjeanette Klinder
9/18 – Pellon



Congratulations to Elaine who commented on 9/8 at 3:08pm — I’ve emailed you about your prize:)

What is a launch without a giveaway?? Leave a comment here on the blog telling us what you would make with the 1-sided or the 2-sided Fusible Flex-Foam. Prizing will include 1 yard of each of the varieties of Flex-Foam (Sew-in, 1-Sided and 2-Sided) Giveaway is open through 11:59pm EST on 9/13/15. We’ll select a random winner on the 14th. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Good luck and happy sewing!

The Simple, Sturdy Tote - a pattern by Amy Smart, adapted to use 1-Sided Fusible Flex-Foam

The Simple, Sturdy Tote – a pattern by Amy Smart, adapted to use 1-Sided Fusible Flex-Foam

The ‘I’m Missing Market Giveaway’ — Minneapolis!!


Market starts today and thousands of industry creatives will descend upon the Minneapolis Convention Center for Spring Quilt Market. But the rest of us? We’re at work, at home, running errands… scrolling longingly through the endless Instagram posts showcasing carefully constructed booths, brand new fabric collections, hot new products and more. Don’t get too green with envy! We’ve teamed up with Aurifil & Moda Fabrics to bring you a fab giveaway that will help chase away those ‘Missing Market’ blues!

 The prize includes:

To enter-to-win, simply click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page or click on the image below. Entries will be accepted from now through 5pm Central time on May 17th! Good luck, have fun, and happy creating!!


Nancy Zieman’s 2015 Pillow Sewing Challenge

We are thrilled and honored to have partnered with the amazing Nancy Zieman team for another fabulous sewing challenge! The 2015 Pillow Sewing Challenge kicked off on February 3. With roughly 80 entires so far, the challenge is going strong and there are still 2 weeks left to enter!!


Throw pillows seem to be the go-to project these days. They are quick and easy, but can make a huge impact on the overall look and feel of a room. They can easily be swapped out for various holidays or seasons and can often be completed in a few hours or less!

Four pillow projects from the Pellon Project Library are being featured as inspiration projects throughout the duration of the challenge. We’ll admit, they are a few of our favorites!!

[clockwise from top left: Cathedral Window Pillow by Kim Niedzwiecki, Pixel Pillow by Kati Spencer, Raccoons in Love Throw Pillow by Rachael Gander, Seeing Double Fabric Magic Pocket Pillows by Alexandra Henry]

To join in on the challenge, head on over to Nancy’s blog and add up to 4 pillow images to the linky party OR email your photo to Entries are due by March 3.

Don’t forget to share your entries and your progress using the hashtag: #NZPillowChallenge. We love checking in what you’re all creating!

Important Dates:

  • Upload or email your photo(s) by March 3, 2015, to
  • Online voting begins March 7, 2015.
  • Voting closes on March 14, 2015.
  • Winners will be announced March 17, 2015.

And… the fab prizes!! These will be awarded to the top 5 contenders:

First Place: A Bundle of Products from Pellon, $115 value!

Pellon Prize Pack for Nancy Zieman's 2015 Pillow Challenge

Second Place: Madeira Aerofil 18 count thread pack, $60 value from Madeira.  Plus a Pellon Pillow Insert!

Madeira Aerofil 18-count Thread Pack

Third Place: The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew Book & DVD from Nancy’s Notions, value of $34.98 Plus a Pellon Pillow Insert!

The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew Book and DVD by Nancy Zieman

Fourth Place: Fabric Bundle from Riley Blake Designs, a $25 value. Plus a Pellon Pillow Insert!

Riley Blake Designs Fat Quarter Pack as seen on Nancy Zieman's Blog

Fifth Place: Hobo Tote Template from Clover, $19.95 value. Plus a Pellon Pillow Insert!

Nancy Zieman's Hobo Tote Bag Template Collection by CloverEach Pillow Sewing Challenge prize winner (above) will receive a Pellon® HomeGoods Decorative Pillow Insert, 16″ x 16″. Value $10.99

Pellon Decorative Pillow Insert

Learn more on Nancy’s Blog and good luck!!

Follow along with Nancy online:

BlogFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram — Flickr


Love & Stitches

Amid the flurry of Valentine’s Day preparations, we wanted to take a moment to share a little love with YOU. That’s right, you’ve been busy baking, buying flowers, making valentines for the kiddos, writing love notes, sewing gifts and being generally awesome and we’ve been busy thinking up fabulous ways to appreciate it all. We came up with Love & Stitches — a free project by the incredibly talented Rachael Gander of imagine gnats AND a giveaway including drool-worth goodies from Pellon, Aurifil & the imagine gnats fabric shop.

Hop on over to Rachael’s blog to grab the step-by-step for how to make the sweet Valentine pictured below. It’s super simple and cute to boot. We love that the design also pays homage to National Embroidery Month! *sigh* We {heart} Rachael.

xoxo-embroidered-valentine-horizThe goodies:


Did we say drool-worthy? Win this and you’ll be set for any and all embroidery projects you might have on your to-do list. To enter, simply follow this link and work some Rafflecopter magic. Best of luck to all you love-birds and hugs from us for a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Giveaway is open until 11:59pm EST on Friday, February 13th. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Saturday, February 14. Open to all of our International friends!


Psssst — here’s my card :) I didn’t have any cardstock, so I used a little Peltex®, some background fabric, and a bit of quilting instead. Loving the way it turned out!! Happy Valentine’s Day!! (Erin)

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!


Twice a year, Sew Mama Sew brings bloggers, designers and brands together for one giant collaborative giveaway event. What was once done in a day has become a full week of amazing giveaway opportunities, all conveniently linked up in one place. It’s a tremendous time for new product discoveries, fun connections with your favorite blogs, introductions to a wide range of brand new blogs AND it allows all of us to have a bit of fun with all of you! It’s an exciting time and we’re thrilled to be a part of it this year.

AurifilPellon and Moda Fabrics have come together to create a one-of-a-kind, over-the-top, you-will-not-believe-your-eyes prize package for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!  This bundle is a combination of the best of all three brands in one spot: a 1/2 yard bundle of 12 Bella Solid Fabrics in a range of colors, an exclusive Aurifil Bella Solids Collection of thread, and a bundle of seven crib-sized Legacy by Pellon® battings — Natural Cotton, White Cotton, 80/20 Natural Blend, Bamboo Blend, Soy Blend, Wool & Polyester. Excited yet?

This fabulous giveaway closes December 12, 2015 5pm PST. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on or around December 14. This giveaway is open internationally!

Simply follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter-to-win! Don’t forget to head on over to Sew Mama Sew to check out all of the amazing giveaways featured on some other great blogs and make some new friends!

Good luck and happy sewing!!


Handy links:
Sew Mama Sew Supplies Giveaways
Sew Mama Sew Handmade Goods Giveaways
Aurifil Blog
Moda BakeShop


Nancy Zieman’s Christmas Stocking Sewing Challenge

With Christmas just 5 weeks away, we are fully in the Holiday spirit! What are your plans for this Holiday season? Handmade gifts? Handmade decorations? Perhaps a stocking or two?

We are thrilled to have partnered with Nancy Zieman for a Christmas Stocking Sewing Challenge. Why not make stockings for the whole family and enter to win some great prizes in the process?

IMG_3294[Stocking by Sewing with Nancy]

Challenge Announcement
Details: You are invited to participate in Nancy’s Christmas Stocking Sewing Challenge. Use one of the free sewing patterns below and sew a Christmas stocking for yourself, a family member, or as a gift. Then, enter our Christmas Stocking Sewing Challenge. It’s easy!
Entries Due: to by December 1
Patterns: use any pattern available via Pellon® or BabyLock
Voting: December 2 – 8 on Nancy’s Blog
Winners: Announced on Tuesday, December 9.

Need a little inspiration? Here are a few of our favorites — simply click the image to head to the project page:

Baby_Lock_Stocking-2[Elf Stocking by Babylock]

iheartpellonstocking[I Heart Pellon Stocking by Rachael Gander for Pellon Projects]

[Velvet Heirloom Christmas Stocking by Babylock]

Falling Flakes Stocking by Rachael Gander for Pellon Projects]

Happy sewing, good luck, and Happy Holidays!!

Modern Appliqué Illusions Book Tour+ Giveaway!


We are so thrilled to be a stop along the Modern Appliqué Illusions blog tour! We adore Casey York’s designs, love her use of color and perspective, and of course love how much she loves our Wonder-Under®. We are so thrilled to have a chance to chat with Casey, to learn more about her background, her inspirations behind the book, and some tricks of the trade to help you all in creating your very own illusionistic quilts.

Hi Casey! Thanks so much for joining us today!! To get started, can you give us a little background about yourself? 
Thanks, Erin! I’ve been sewing since childhood so, although I focused on making clothing during that period, fabric and thread have always been a creative outlet for me. I even designed stuffed animals and prom dresses as projects for my independent-study art classes in high school.

In college, I fell in love with art history and decided to pursue a career in that field. However, by the time I had almost finished my degree, it had become apparent that searching for a job as a professor might not be feasible–my husband and I had two children and he had settled into a job that wouldn’t permit me to move around the country the way you normally have to when looking for a tenure-track position. Also, I had really missed having a creative outlet while in grad school–I joke that it should have been clear to me that I was meant to be in a design field when I wanted to spend more time designing posters for lectures than I did doing research.

When did you first start quilting and what inspired you to start?
I started quilting when my first son was born. I wanted to make him a crib set, and after I made that first quilt, I was hooked–I couldn’t wait to make another one. Quilting really shifted from a hobby to a career pursuit about three years ago however. Interestingly enough, that transition was also spurred by designing and making quilts for my sons, which led to publishing stand-alone patterns. I feel so lucky to be working at something that I love so much.

14376887746_563e2de9e4_z[Grand Canal, from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York]

When did you first start working with appliqué in your designs?
From the very beginning–that very first quilt I made when Julian was a baby was an appliqué quilt. I love the design freedom that appliqué offers–if you can draw a shape or silhouette, you can appliqué it! I’m also a bit impatient, and fusible raw-edge appliqué satisfies my need to see a project come together quickly. The stitching and embroidery still take time, but I can get a sense of how the finished product will look fairly early in the process, which I love.

What led you to Wonder-Under® and why is it your top choice for appliqué?
I like to experiment, and I tried many of the products on the market. In my opinion, Wonder-Under® offers the best combination of short fusing time and little to no added stiffness in the appliqué. I also love that the paper backing can be used to transfer my appliqué patterns directly to my fabrics.

River Bend from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York

Do you have any handy tips or tricks that you could share with readers?
I love the process and flexibility of creating with raw-edge appliqué but I don’t like the fraying that can occur to the fabric edges. I figured out a way to protect them beneath a hand-embroidered outline so that fraying is minimized and less noticeable when it does occur. (More information about this can be found in my book!)

It’s also handy to have tools dedicated to the materials you are using. I have a pair of scissors that I use for cutting the fusible web by itself, and another that is just for cutting fabric and fusible web together. That way, I don’t have to worry that the paper backing is dulling the blades of my fabric-only scissors.

We adore your use of white or dark space in contrast with the appliqués in your quilts. Can you tell us a little more about how a design comes together?
I start my designs at my computer. I use Adobe Illustrator to hand trace the silhouettes that will become the appliqués, and then I can lay them out on a background that is the size I want the finished quilt to be. This allows me to scale everything so that it fills the space just right. Then, I can simply print the silhouettes at that scale and they are ready for me to trace and transfer to my appliqué fabric. I also use my Illustrator drawing to guide the placement of the appliqués on the background fabric. The most exciting step in any project, in my opinion, is laying out and fusing the appliqués to the background–that moment when the idea moves from a sketch to an actual quilt top is magical.

Chicken Scratch, from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York

What role does the quilting play in the design of the quilt? Does it always play a role, or is it only with particular designs, like with ‘Tunnel Vision’?
I love to incorporate the quilting into the overall design of the quilt, and the quilting is integral to many of the projects in the book. For example, in Ripples, the quilting forms concentric circles that look as if they are on the surface of water, with the koi swimming beneath them. In many of the quilts, I use a technique I call “Receding Quilting”–spacing horizontal lines of quilting progressively farther apart as they approach the lower edge of the quilt. This enhances the three-dimensional effect of the quilt, because our brains interpret the spacing of the lines as an indication that they are moving farther away.

[Ripples, from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York]

Quilting doesn’t always play such an important role in my quilts, although I do like to match the concept of the quilting to the underlying concept of the quilt. For example, I quilted my son’s bumble bee quilt with a hexagon pattern to match the honeycomb/beehive theme of the quilt, and I quilted my other son’s shark quilt with an ocean wave pattern.

Any final words of encouragement to our readers? 
Go slowly, and don’t be afraid to experiment!

As I mentioned, I tend to be impatient, so I always try to remind myself that quilting is an activity that is meant to be enjoyable. Slowing down and enjoying the process always yields better results, and helps me avoid frustration and burnout.

At the same time, don’t be afraid to try new things and break some rules if you have to. You might end up discovering a new technique or process that improves upon how we do things now! Some of my best work has stemmed from the question “what if?” Yes you run the risk of a project not turning out the way you want, but if it *does* turn out the way you envision, that’s a wonderful thing, and you learn something either way!

Tunnel Vision, from Modern Appliqué Illusions by Casey York

Casey has been kind enough to offer a copy of one of her books to one lucky reader! We’ll through in a package of Wonder-Under® and a crib-sized packaged batting to help get you started on one of the patterns in Modern Appliqué Illusions:).

To enter-to-win, simple leave a comment and let us know what interests you most about creating an appliquéd quilt.


Congratulations to our winner, selected with the help of

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Don’t miss the rest of the stops along the Modern Appliqué Blog Tour! See below for the schedule and don’t forget to stop by Casey’s blog daily to learn more about the inspiration behind each quilt and enter-to-win a package of Wonder-Under®. For many of them she’ll also be giving away a package of scraps from the making of that particular quilt.

11/10: C&T Publishing
11/11: Jenifer Dick/42 Quilts
11/12: Debbie Grifka/Esch House Quilts
11/13: Pink Chalk Studio
11/14: Shannon Brinkley/Bottle Tree
11/15: Pellon
11/16: Kevin Kosbab/Feed Dog Designs                  
11/17: Generation Q Magazine                                  
11/18: Krista Robbins/Sew What’s Cooking?            
11/19: Violet Craft
11/20: Fat Quarter Shop/Jolly Jabber
11/21: Kristy Daum/St. Louis Folk Victorian
11/22: Cindy Lammon/Hyacinth Quilt Designs
11/23: Modern Quilts Unlimited