Guest Corner is a space for you to find out all about what the Sewing World’s designers, authors, quilters, dressmakers, print makers, softie sewers and bag decorators are all up to! Get the very latest in info and gossip about all your favourites right here.
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Q. When did you start sewing?
I started sewing when I was about 5 or 6. My Mum taught me to embroider and to sew little things for my toys. When I was a bit older she bought me a little pink sewing machine and I started designing evening wear for my Barbie and making little “quilts”.
Q. What kind of sewing do you love to do most?
I have always embroidered and so I think that hand work was my first love – as a result, although I love to design and I enjoy machine piecing, hand appliqué is what I really love doing. If I have a hand appliqué project to work on and a huge quilt to hand quilt I am a happy camper.
Q. Do you remember your first quilt? Which quilt is your favourite?
I made a lot of little “quilts” that were just bits of patchwork with a piece of fabric sewn to the back when I was really little. My first proper quilt with batting and quilting I made when I was about 12, for my Mum’s birthday.
My favourite quilt – that’s a little like choosing a favourite child, but I think my favourite ever would have to be Dotty for Dresden, which is in Material Obsession One. I loved making every inch of this quilt and having it for the front cover of the US version of the book was icing on the cake.
Q. What lead you to start your business?
Material Obsession started because I was offered the chance to buy a patchwork shop I was teaching for in Hunters Hill. My new business started as a result of me leaving MO and going out on my own to try new things.
Q. Tell us a bit about your businesses and your style.
The Last Piece is my blog and I love writing it. Sarah Fielke Designs wears a few different hats – I have a new book coming out in 2011, and a fabric line with LECIEN Japan, as well as a range of patterns and the Sarah Fielke’s Dolly Quilts program that runs in Europe. And I write for Sewn too, don’t forget that!
My style is best described as Comtemporary Traditional I think. I love antique quilts and old patterns, I just love them with new fabrics and a twist.
Q. What lead you to start designing fabric? Do your fabric designs spring from your embroidery?
Like Rosalie and Lynette, I have always wanted to design fabric. When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up to write books, draw pictures and be a teacher – it’s so exciting that I get to do everything I always wanted to do! Having the chance to design for LECIEN is a dream come true for me.
Q. How do you design your fabric? Are all the designs hand drawn or do you use a computer program? Tell us a little about your design process.
I am a gigantic doodler, I draw on everything lying around the place without thinking about it. Thinking about this fabric line lead to reams and reams of doodles, which turned into sketches, which turned into artwork. I hand draw all the designs and paint with guache, although I have to say that I need to do some computer classes and learn to use some design software, it would make the process much simpler!
Q. How many fabric lines have you done? What is the latest one with LECIEN called?
This is my first range with LECIEN – or with anyone. It is called, “From Little Things”. At the moment I only have little bits of strikeoffs to show, but as soon as I have more I will post it to my blog. It’s quirky and colourful and very me. I can’t wait to get meterage of my very own spots and stripes with my name on!
Q. What excites you about being an Australian designer? What do you think makes Australian designers different?
Being an Australian designer is a blast. There’s such a talented pool of people here, and we’re all so darned NICE! Seriously though, it is astonishing to go to a show like the International Quilt Festival in Houston and realize what a huge presence Australian designers and quilters have there, for such a relatively small market. There is something fresh and different about Australian quilters that shines out.
Q. Who or what inspires you?
My boys and my husband inspire me every day, they are also my main source of both encouragement and critisism. I’m inspired by antique quilts, by quilters, designers and friends like Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston, Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably, Sue Spargo, Monica Solorio-Snow and Amy Lobsiger. The list goes on. Music inspires me, books inspire me, my garden inspires me…basically most days I feel like a giant sponge just soaking everything up and I can’t wait to find a way of squeezing it all out again creatively.
Q. What are you working on at the moment?
Can I steal Rosalie’s response? I feel like I have projects coming out my ears, what am I NOT working on. The new book, Quilting: From Little Things is in design and due out in Australia in April 2011. My fabric with LECIEN, From Little Things, is being printed and I’m waiting anxiously for the meterage so I can start sewing for Houston! A range of patterns I’ve developed is being released at Houston, along with a range of hand embroidery packs, machine embroidery designs, and MO2 for the US market as well! Once I’m done with that I’ll start the roundabout again and think about the next lot….