Often our other hobbies, or our jobs, influence our quilting. This is especially true of award winning quilter Susan Stewart. Susan has been in our magazine quite a bit, including being our “cover girl” for the November/December 2012 issue. Her unique quilt designs incorporate aspects of heirloom sewing techniques, and that’s no accident. I asked Susan to share with us how her background in heirloom sewing has influenced her quilting, and vice versa. Here’s what she said:
“I started sewing when I was five years old.
I made most of my own clothes from childhood on…
…and still do!
In 1998 (I was not yet quilting,) I discovered heirloom sewing, and fell in love with the laces, the fabrics, the delicate techniques.
I made a career of it, teaching, writing, and designing. So, when the quilting bug bit me in around 2004, it was only natural that I would try to take these techniques and use them in my quilts!
Learning to make a quilt top was not a problem for me – it is just a big flat piece of embellished fabric! I knew how to sew Y-seams, how to accurately piece, how to appliqué. What I needed to do was teach myself what to do after the quilt was layered! So, with the help of Diane Gaudynski’s books and a lot of work, that’s what I did!
You can really see the heirloom sewing influence here – puffing, shaped lace insertion, pinstitched bias appliqué, and of course, machine embroidery (which is the direction in which my quilting really took off.)
TulipFire is another example of a quilt in which I incorporated some heirloom sewing techniques – shaped lace and pintucks.
I had followed quilting for years, and brought some of those techniques, such as bias appliqué, into heirloom sewing…
…then back into quilting.