Celebrate Fabric in Fresh, New Ways — a Q&A

When the leaves start to turn and the mornings turn chilly, some people go shopping for new fall fashions. My first thought is, "Hey, I wonder if they've started making apple cider donuts at U-pick orchard down the street from the Quilting Arts offices?"

My very next thought is, "I wonder what the new fall fabrics look like?" I love looking at the colors and patterns for artistic inspiration, not to mention using some of my favorites to update my wardrobe with a new tote or skirt.

I haven't had much time to shop my favorite fabric stores or websites lately, but I did get a chance to peruse the pages of the Fall 2010 issue of Quilting Arts Stitch. It's dubbed "The Fabric Issue," and for good reason. I could go on and on about the colors, patterns, and the special feature on modern quilt style, but I thought it would be more fun to interview Stitch Editor Tricia Waddell and have her tell you about it.

Q. Is it my imagination, or has the fabric world just exploded with new and cool designs? Why do you think that is?

A. There are so many new people getting interested in sewing so now there are more pretty shiny things to attract them. And it's impossible to deny the cool factor that shows like "Project Runway" have given sewing as the cool hip thing to do. So finally the sewing product manufacturers are listening. And there are lots of small boutique independent pattern lines popping up to offer up to the minute designs.

Q. What are some of the trends in fabric?

A. Vintage and retro prints are still a strong trend. And plaid! We have a project story in the latest issue showing modern designs for plaid fabrics. Luxe fabrics are making a comeback too, especially for fall. Beautiful wools, cashmere, fur, leather, velvet, silk. These are wonderful to work with and you can make something small and exquisite with these fabrics without spending a ton. We have a great technique article on sewing with silk and easy projects using luxe fabrics to get you inspired!

Q. This issue is called the fabric issue, but I think you could also call it "bending the fabric rules." "Improv" quilt designs, upholstery fabric on clothes and accessories, denim everywhere but on your legs-stitchers are really having fun with fabric, aren't they?

A. They are! Fall and winter is the perfect time to experiment with fabrics beyond cottons. And there are so many interesting textiles out there so why limit yourself!

Q. What new/favorite ways have you used fabrics?

A. I love the graphic large prints that upholstery and home dec fabrics offer. I love making clothes from these fabrics. They are great for clothes that need a bit of structure like pencil skirts, coats, and, jumpers. I have several projects on my fall sewing list using these fabrics.

Q. Two words you don't usually see together: "modern" and "plaid." How do you make that work?

A. So many ways! You can use plaid fabric for an unexpected project like a cocktail dress, or try mixing more than one plaid together for a graphic look. You can cut it on the bias for a fun skirt or do machine stitching along the plaid pattern for interesting texture. It's all about looking at it from a new perspective.

Q. What's your best advice for someone who loves collecting all the new fabric designs but doesn't have a lot of time to sew?

A. Buy fabrics you absolutely love. Then you will make the time to sew!

Ha! Tricia, you don't have to give art quilters much encouragement to buy new fabrics. And with the variety of small projects–including one-yarders–in this issue of Stitch, we can indulge in many of our favorites without spending a lot. I can't wait to get started!


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