Friday, September 16, 2016

Artisan by Kaffe Fassett for FreeSpirit

Welcome to milestone new collection by Kaffe Fassett; something he has yearned to bring to you.  Introducing Artisan by Kaffe Fassett for FreeSpirit, a boisterous caravan of color and exotic texture in exquisite fashion and patchwork patterns.

Artisan has been in Kaffe’s inspirational sights for quite some time.  Born from a lifetime of travel and experience in the arts of knitting, needlecrafts, patchwork and textiles, Artisan speaks to a time of simplicity, boldness and high colors which likens to when he first arrived in London in the 60s.

Composed of 100% premium print cottons, hand-dyed batiks, provocative yarn-dyed woven and classic Ikat fabric, Artisan is debuting in two color-ways inspired by Kaffe’s genius for color and specific moments in his worldly travels.

According to Kaffe, the quirky and beautiful combination of a royal blue and brown scarf in an Egyptian market was the basis of Artisan Blue.  Artisan Blue features six hand-dyed batiks including a lovely mottled stripe, modern circles and life-like fronds to name a few; three yarn-dyed woven Ikats with beautifully blended colors; and six colorfully designed premium cotton prints

Artisan Sunny, comes from Kaffe’s attraction to the Orient’s approach to the warm and uplifting tones of color that combine with yellow, reminding him of the vibrancy of an exotic fruit market. This color-way has seven hand-stamped batiks featuring turquoise and orange stamped chess, tonal flags in orange, brilliantly mixed lightening prints and more; brightly woven artisanal Ikats including two lovely traditional checkerboards; and nine vividly thoughtful cottons.

To celebrate this pinnacle new fabric range from Kaffe Fassett for FreeSpirit, we have sent a few of our favorite bloggers an advanced sampling of these gorgeous fabrics.  Follow along and be inspired to bring your creative dreams to life using Artisan.

Simple Simon and Co.                  9/23/16
Craft Sanity                                 9/30/16
100 Billion Stars                          10/7/16
Bijou Lovely Designs                    10/14/16
Mrs. Schmenkman Quilts              10/21/16
Confessions of a Fabric Addict       10/28/16
Sarah Fielke                                11/4/16

Artisan will be in your local quilt shops in November.  So start your plotting and planning, and make your dream come true, much like Kaffe.  Click here to learn more about Artisan by Kaffe Fassett for FreeSpirit. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

FreeSpirit presents Angela Lan!

We are so delighted to be working with Angela Lan! This young fashion designer will be blogging monthly for our Sewing Secrets blog using our FreeSpirit fabric and Coats threads in her educational series for young readers! She brings a youthful approach to sewing education with her trendy fashion sense and her easy to follow sewing style! Read more from Angela below!

Hello! I’m Angela, a 14 year-old fashion designer and blogger from I’m also the author of the newly released teen fashion design/sewing book #OOTD Sew & Style: Make Your Dream Wardrobe with Angela. Wow, that was a mouthful. Well when I’m not busy playing the aforementioned roles above, I’m a 9th grader in the Bay Area of California attending online school. I love to travel, read, shop, jam out to pop-rock and 80’s-early 00s music (Bon Jovi anyone?), and go on Instagram too often like any other teenager.

I would describe my style as a clean-cut version of street style with a touch of sophistication. Leather jackets, ripped jeans, and white tees are musts, but keeping it minimal and fresh.

How did you get started with sewing?
While my mom doesn't sew, I was a really crafty kid and wanted to be an artist when I grew up. I was introduced to knitting at the age of 4 by a friend and also crocheted, painted, and made jewelry. I made scarves, blankets, hats, earrings, sweaters, and more. Books were my go-to source and one day, while I was around browsing the knitting books at the library at age 9, I found the sewing books right next to the craft books and picked one up, thinking hey, this is something I should try.

Favorite sewing project?

My favorite and most proud project I've ever completed was a sleeping bag I made when I was 10 years old. It was for science camp and I was determined to make my own so I didn't have to bring my dad's. I probably did the most research I've ever did on a project and what do you know, there's not much information on the internet about how to make a sleeping bag. So I decided to design a layout for myself on graph paper, wrote myself some instructions using logic, and guess what materials I should use. It was just me, 5 layers and 15 yards of fabric including batting, waterproof rip-stop nylon, heat-reflective material, fleece, and Amy Butler’s cotton sateen. Sewing that thing was tough, just pushing the gigantic thing through the sewing machine was insane.

But in the end, at camp I had the prettiest sleeping bag that included a removable blanket and pillow that kept me warm in the mountains in mid-January. I still love that thing today.

How do you find trends? Where do you seek your inspirations?

Trends are all around us and existing in our daily lives; I usually like to seek out what’s popular right now, what others are wearing, what stores are coming out with, what popular bloggers are wearing, what I’m currently drawn to, etc. For me, I like to keep it realistic and in reality if that makes any sense. Sometimes there are trends that walk the runways that just won’t work for ready-to-wear (which is what I mostly design for) and I have this gut feeling when I see a piece/trend/design come out prior to its season. There’s a natural instinct to immediately know that that’s going to be the trend for the upcoming season. It all flows together in my mind.

For inspiration on my designs, I just design what I would like to wear, sometimes following the trends I find. It’s practical that way and since I’m a teen, it’s not hard to create garments that other teens would want to wear if it’s something I personally like in the first place. There’s gotta be someone else out there with a similar style, you know?

How was it writing your first book?

It was definitely a learning experience and a lot more work than I had imagined. The process was enjoyable though; I had a lot of fun doing what I loved and got to work with some amazing people along the way. I’m so grateful for the opportunity given by C&T Publishing.

Why did you write this book? Is there any “back story” that inspired you to write this book?

When I first started making my own clothes, I was still a relatively beginning and young sewer. I was mostly teaching myself, reading books and watching Youtube videos. However, while I wanted to dive into the world of self-made fashion, there was no "go-to" book or resource that could teach me the basics of sewing while creating clothes at the same time. There were the kid sewing books that taught me how to make potholders and pillows, but I wanted to make, well, clothes. Something that I could wear on a daily basis and show off. Then there were the beginner garment sewing books that were geared towards adults, so none of the included patterns were in my size and the wording was too complicated for my 10 year old brain. A couple years after my experience, I realized that the huge market of sewing books still lacks a complete, from start to finish, "design and sew your own clothes while learning how to sew" kind of book targeted towards teens.

What do you want readers of your book to learn? Any specific goals?

#OOTD Sew & Style is a fashion design and sewing book for tween and teen teaching them the basics of sewing while creating garments at the same time. My goal with this book is to teach
teens how to make store-bought looking clothes in the easiest way possible, step-by-step. The book starts off with the foundations of sewing, such as fabric types, types of stitches, basic sewing techniques, and then moves on into more garment-based techniques such as zippers and darts. From cutting fabric to zippers to french seams, it's a skill-building book that teaches the reader new techniques and helps her to practices these skills by making a new clothing item at the end of each chapter. After a making a couple of projects, teens can learn how to modify basic patterns to create totally different looks, such as turning a shorts pattern into a pair of pants.

Outside of sewing and looking at the bigger picture, I really want to inspire others to pursue their passion whatever it may be. Just go for it! You'll never know if you don't try, and if you do, you may end up with some amazing opportunities or accomplishments you can truly be proud of.

Where can people purchase your book?

My book is available in most bookstores and book retailers worldwide, both online and in-stores and available in paperback and e-book formats, including C&T Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo/Chapters, Target, Walmart, and iBooks (Apple Store).

Where do you see yourself going with sewing in the future? Is this something you are going to continue as hobby or would you like to be a fabric designer one day?

I definitely would want to continue with fashion and textile related works in the future, although I’m not exactly sure what I want to do yet. About being a fabric designer, that’s actually a funny question, haha since I was about to pursue textile design before deciding to write a book instead. I guess I found out you have to be able to get the idea from your head onto paper of some sort and I wasn’t the best at drawing. Writing, however, came naturally to me.

What types of fabrics do you like working with best?

I love working with out-of-the box textiles including home decor air mesh and nylon. Finding ways to make these fabrics wearable and practical while looking chic is a fun challenge for me. I also love any fabrics that press well (who doesn’t?) and air-y fabrics like voile and challis.

Anything that you haven’t learned in sewing or quilting that you are eager to do?

I think that technique and precision specifically in garment construction is something that I could always work on.

Any advice to other young people like you who are looking to start sewing?

Always finish your projects before starting another one! Kidding, haha. I have way too many unfinished projects sitting in my closet not to joke about it, but just take things at your own pace. Sewing is really creative outlet and meant to be a fun process.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Quilters Take Manhattan

Are you a Quilter who wants to take Manhattan?
Education, fun and some top notch talent to inspire all quilters September 23 – 25

The heart of quilting lives in Manhattan, especially the weekend of September 23 – 25 at the Quilter’s Take Manhattan event sponsored by the Quilter’s Alliance.  This weekend serves as the perfect opportunity to learn from some of the best and tour some of the mainstays that make Manhattan the hub of the world.  Who would not want to wander the Garment District with Paula Nadelstern and see fabric through her eyes?  Or take a peek behind the scenes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s renowned Textile Center. Or how about an After Dinner Pizza Party at Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s loft home and studio? Your friends will be pea-green with envy.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Kaffe Fassett
Best part, on Saturday you can hear from the master himself, Kaffe Fassett with Brandon Mably.  Come hear Kaffe talk of the inspirations behind his work and glean from his color and design genius.  You will hang on his every word and you could walk away with signed copies of his brand new books for purchase; Bold Blooms, a stunning guide and vibrant pattern collection of 25 new patchwork and needlepoint projects, from renowned color expert and quilt and fabric designer Kaffe Fassett, and Quilts In Italy, 20 designs from Kaffe Fassett and his team in striking color combinations including both classic and contemporary blocks.

Brandon Mably
In addition, Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi will also speak at QTM. As founder of Women of Color Quilters Network, Historian and curator, Mazloomi, is in a unique position to bring together quilts for critically successful exhibitions.  Mazloomi discusses the genesis of her latest touring exhibit, And Still We Rise. The exhibition reflects upon significant historical events from the 17th century into the 21st century which affected African American culture.

Even better, the stories continue with the Quilter’s Alliance SOS, Save Our Stories campaign.  Every quilt has a story, one to be shared and to inspire.  The documentation of these stories is paramount to creating an oral and well-archived history of what quilting means to one and all, especially the quilter.  Mark Lapinski will be interviewed by Marie Bostwick as part of Quilter’s SOS, followed by Marianne Fons, who will share one of her quilts to demonstrate another Quilt Alliance project, “Go Tell It at the Quilt Show!" Do you have a quilt story you’d like to share?

For more information and complete schedule of events, click here and for goodness sakes, get out there and take Manhattan with your love for all things quilting!

As part of our sponsorship of Quilters Take Manhattan, we are giving away a QTM Home Ticket. The Home Ticket provides a chance for those who can’t make it to the Big Apple to experience their own home slice of the event. Value of $35 ($30 for QA members). Winners of the QTM Home Ticket will receive in the mail (in late September) a QTM Goody Bag stuffed full of samples and treats from our sponsors, and email links to footage of the Sunday with Sponsors event, the Quilt Match Manhattan challenge and more (emailed in late September).  Comment below for a chance to win! 

Congrats to Havplenty for being chosen as the winner of the QTM goodie bag! Thanks to everyone who participated! 
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One Million Pillowcase Challenge Sew-a-Thon - Give With Joy

 We are thrilled and honored to be a participant in the One Million Pillowcase Challenge Sew-a-Thon Blog Hop! Coats and FreeSpirit have sponsored this fabulous charitable challenge for many years and the Sew-a-Thon Blog Hop is all about inspiration and helping others - it's perfect for you! Learn more about the Blog Hop and Sew-a-Thon, by clicking here.


 Those who make are the most generous people I know and I’m convinced that the act of making expands our hearts and increases our capacity to see the value in giving. Makers are always the first to respond to need and they usually show up with every other maker they can find. Since the One Million Pillowcase Challenge needs your joyous making help for a September Sewathon - let’s talk pillowcase. Stay with me and you can find out how to help at the end!

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frankdiary of Anne Frank: the play
Pillowcases make fabulous gifts and are a tremendously easy way to perk up your own home décor. There are lots of options to consider and we have three yummy possibilities to inspire you. We’ve used fabrics from Free Spirit’s 2016 Fall collections that you’re going to love - Rosealea by Nel Whatmore, Isabelle by  Dena Designs and Sadie's Dance Card by Tonya Whelan. Click here to see 50 free pillowcase patterns on the One Million Pillowcase Challenge web site.

“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.” ― Abraham Lincoln

 Basic pillowcases are super-easy and super-quick to make. Novelty prints are fun to use, but there’s something totally classy and serene about a pillowcase made with basic stripes and dots. In general, you’ll want to choose three fabrics for your basic pillowcase – main, cuff and accent. Audition your fabrics by laying them out in the order they might go. Take a picture to see how the finished case will look - it's a great tool for decision making.

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa

Bright colors and patterns make a wonderfully bold statement and an exciting pillowcase. Audition your fabrics and think about where your pillowcase will be used and the overall look you want to achieve. If you’re making pillowcases to donate, make them as attractive as possible. The love you put in will be evident in the finished case and the recipient will instantly know that someone cares.


“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ― Maya Angelou

Making pillowcases is a sewing joy and it's especially delightful when you add a little variety and spark to the design. Charming fabrics become awesomely spectacular when you add interest with a scalloped cuff. Can you just imagine the smile on the face of someone in need who receives a case like this? That’s what the One Million Pillowcase Challenge is all about – miles and miles of pillowcase smiles!


 The Third Annual 24-Hour One Million Pillowcase Challenge Sew-a-Thon takes place this year on September 16th and 17th. American Patchwork and Quilting, originators of the Challenge will hold a Sewathon at their headquarters in Des Moines IA. If you're not close to Des Moines there may be an event in your area or you can plan one of your own. Even a few friends sewing together can make a magnificent contribution. Click here to visit the One Million Pillowcase Challenge Sew-a-Thon web site. You'll find pillowcase patterns, groups to join and places to donate. And, above all, make, enjoy and give - someone nearby is counting on you for handmade love and encouragement!
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ― John Bunyan

Visit the other stops on todays blog hop:
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Friday, July 08, 2016

A Few Fun Facts About Kathy Doughty

We asked Kathy to share a few interesting facts about herself! She is a real Jack of all trades! Read more about one of newest designers.

- My last job before I owned a quilt shop was managing professional skateboarders…a natural cross over.

- I worked for SWATCH Watch when it was a start up company in the 1980’s.  The experience was critical for developing my perspective of changing traditional ideas to be colourful and lifestyle oriented.  My quilts are based on traditional designs but are made with the colors and techniques of today.

-I have taught in Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada and all over the USA at some of the best events

- I am  a yoga junkie

- I am the author of five books and I have two classes on Creative Bug

- Meeting Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably 10 years ago change how I see the world. Since then I have learned to be observant of the world around me gathering ideas for color combinations and patterns. 

- I work in my shop 5 days a week and do my design work in the evenings or on the weekend listening to the radio while I work.

-My fabric lines are meant to be connectors in shops.  They fit in with more traditional lines and gently merge them into the contemporary designers.  The colors are based on the different types of customers I have learned to identify in my shop which are pretty, contemporary or traditional.  We are human and have a need to seek what we know.  I hope that the colors I choose help people to move between the different styles with easy choices. 

-The designs are meant to be able to be fussy cut or used big

- Combining fabrics is all about making lines. We need to understand how to create line when light, medium and dark doesn’t work and this is often the case with contemporary fabrics.  It is hard to tell if it is light or dark when there are a lot of colors.  I am always looking to create interest…matching is not a word I use.

- Folk Art Revolution is my fourth fabric line. I designed it to be quilter friendly.  First I first start drawing ideas with a pencil on paper.  I research the concept and consider color palettes.  Then I start imagining how the fabric can be used in quilts.  To do this I look at the traditional structures of quilts as well as how a more modern aesthetic might work with the designs.  Quilts often have a feature design so for this range I have created a cast of characters inspired by folk art.  When piecing blocks we need a dense print to create lines or to define spaces.  I like big prints for medallions or large spacing blocks. All over florals are always popular so there has to be one of those!  I often find a decorative stripe handy for sashing, borders, or just for fun.  Of course we need a spot or dotty print and something with strong color to add some spice.  With these critical elements in mind I start playing with the elements to make the final designs.

- The line is called Folk Art Revolution but in theory it was inspired by the vast numbers of refugees moving around the world.  As an immigrant myself I spend a lot of time considering the impact of uprooting people…what its like to find yourself in a new land with new customs and traditions.   I found myself wondering about the people that came to America seeking freedom and how lucky they were to find a land that could be settled…where they could make a life.  On a serious note, I think it is important to think about that and give people a chance.  

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