One Year and 105 Posts Later: We’re Celebrating with a Group Fabric Challenge AND a Giveaway

For those of you who received our earlier draft, apologies! We hit that “publish” button a bit prematurely. This one is the real thing, and we’ve got lots to share. First up: this month, See How We Sew marks its first anniversary (!), and we’ve got a month-long celebration planned to recognize this exciting milestone. In addition to our regular posts, we’ll have all kinds of news, updates, and of course–special giveaways.

Over the past year, many of you have told us that you enjoy our different styles and “voices,” so to kick off the month, we thought it would be fun to issue ourselves a group fabric challenge to see just how different we really are. We each began with a fat quarter of the same fabric. Our assignment: Choose six fabrics to go with it. For our focus fabric, we selected a large-scaled, daisy-bedecked Robert Kaufman print from the Fly Away collection by Amy Schimler.

Our theme fabric: a colorful print designed by Amy Schimler for Robert Kaufman Fabrics

As you’ll see, some of us were better at sticking to the “rules” than others, but that’s what makes us who we are! Here goes:

Jennifer’s Selections: My first thought when I saw the theme fabric was to pull in black-and-white prints and then select a few bright-toned ones that called to the main colors in the theme fabric: ultramarine blue, green, and pink. I took a drive to Wooden Gate Quilts, one of my fave local fabric haunts in Danville, CA, and pulled likely candidates with my friend, Kim Butterworth. Once we whittled down the choices, we surveyed the shop’s color mavens, including Margaret Linderman (a living, breathing work-of-art whom we all emulate because she’s so fabulous!), Robin Olvera, and Cyndy Rymer. Violá! I like the result, especially that whimsical Amy Butler print on the bottom of the pile.

Jennifer's selections

Jennifer’s fabrics, from the top: Michael Miller – from the Secret Garden collection by Sandi Henderson; Robert Kaufman – from the Pimatex Basics collection; Free Spirit – from the Early Birds collection by Jane Sassaman; Moda – from the Twirl collection by Me & My Sister Designs; and Rowan Fabric – from the Lark collection by Amy Butler.

Christie’s Selections: I loved both the pattern and the colors in our theme fabric, so I went into my stash to search for companion pieces. It wasn’t difficult! I have an obscene collection of green and pink fabrics, and polka dots are a mild obsession, so it’s pretty easy to see what path I took. I know there are lots of dots, but I couldn’t help myself. (I did make an effort to vary the scale of the prints). Two of my selections are Kaffe Fassett designs (he’s one of my idols).

Christie's selections

Christie’s fabrics, clockwise from the top:  Westminster Fibers – Big Blooms by Kaffe Fassett; Free Spirit - from the McKenzie collection by Dena Designs;  P&B Textiles - from the Pop Parade collection by Metro; Rowan Fabric – from the Soul Blossoms collection by Amy Butler; Art Gallery Fabrics – from the Girly Girl collection; Rowan Fabric - Spot by Kaffe Fassett.

Laura’s Selections: This was an easy challenge as I generally start with a focus or inspiration fabric when working on a new project. With the exception of one print that I pulled from my stash, I found my companion fabrics at three California quilt shops: Back Porch Fabrics (Pacific Grove), The Cotton Patch (Lafayette), and Thimble Creek (Concord). My only difficulty was limiting my selection to six prints. I love scrap quilts, so for me, the more the better. I look for a variety of prints from tone-on-tone to multicolored in varying scales (small to large) and textures (dots, geometrics, checks, etc.), as well as value (light to dark).  If I were making a quilt or block, this selection would most likely be a starting point; I would add more during the process.

Laura's selections

Laura’s fabrics, from left to right: Westminster FibersAboriginal Dots by Kaffe Fassett; Rowan – from the Soul Blossoms collection by Amy Butler; Robert Kaufman – from the Fiesta collection by Jennifer Sampou; Westminster FibersSpots by Kaffe Fassett; Troy Corporation –  from the Line 5 collection by Marcia Derse; and unknown – this is from my stash and the selvage is missing.

Darra’s Selections: This was a tough assignment for me. It’s not unusual for me to use 100 or more fabrics in a quilt, so narrowing my choices to six was a real challenge. (It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I had overshot my target by one.) Also, I rarely ever start with a focus fabric. Know what? I discovered that basically the same ingredients apply; that is, a good mix of colors, values, and types of prints. I was especially attracted by the playful interaction of the hot pinks and yellow greens with the sophisticated gray background in our challenge fabric, so that determined my direction. I had a great time fondling the bolts at In Between Stitches in Livermore, CA, one of my favorite area quilt shops.

Darra's selections

Darra’s fabrics, from left to right: Michael Miller – from the Backyard Baby collection by Patty Sloniger; Moda – from the Reunion collection by Sweetwater; Moda – from the Little Apples collection by Aneela Hoey; Marcus Fabrics – from the Bundle of Jungle collection by Laura Berringer;  Marcus Fabrics – from the Bundle of Jungle collection by Laura Berringer; Moda – from the Reunion collection by Sweetwater; Moda – from the Marble Swirls (Moda Basics) collection.

That’s our part for today. Now, since this is a celebration, we’d like you to be part of it too. Tell us which of the four palettes is your favorite. Leave a comment by end of day Sunday, April 8, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for the adorable (and appropriate!) Queen of the Party pattern from The Quilted Fish, along with a packet of four coordinating fat quarters. The winner will be announced in Christie’s April 10 (Block of the Month) post.

‘Til next time, happy sewing!

62 thoughts on “One Year and 105 Posts Later: We’re Celebrating with a Group Fabric Challenge AND a Giveaway

  1. Jennifer’s fabrics speak to me — the blue, pink, and green absolutely pop. And I’m partial to black and white fabrics — they will make this project sing!! Thanks for sharing this challenge with us. Very inspiring.

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  2. it was going to be jennifer’s selection… until i got down to dara’s. since i already have two of the same fabrics she chose, i’m thinking we have a similar style.

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  3. Wow. It was a tough for me between Jennifer’s and Laura’s but, ultimately, I chose Laura. What a fun assignment!

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  4. I love all the selections and can’t wait to see them sewn up.
    For my favorite, I’d pick Christie’s. Love the change in scale of her fabrics.

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  5. Jennifer’s choices appealed to me so much that none of the other three could get a word in. No, that’s not true; they all had their own appeal. The best part of this post was seeing the thinking process of each artist and seeing how so many different choices could be great!

    Congrats on your first year! I really enjoy the blog.

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  6. This surprised me. I liked most of them but when I got to the end and saw Dara’s with thre grey added in it just went from really nice to very modern. Dara’s gets my vote this time.

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  7. I love Jennifer’s fabric choices the best. The prints are vivid and fun! I can’t wait to see what she does with them.

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  8. How hard is this quiz? I love dots and everyone used some. I love the fabric in each group and would have to pull from them all. Love reading and seeing what you all do.

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  9. Darra’s selection has to be my favorite. Those teals get me every time! I love your challenge and hope we get to see the progress and finish! Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I loved the theme fabric colors, and Laura’s rich colors were my favorite. It’s always color for me and the more the better.

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  11. Since I seem to currently be on a pink and green ‘kick’ myself, I am drawn to Christie’s selections, and that is my first choice. BUT, also LOVE the fabric colors/patterns that Laura chose, too! Tough choice!!

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  12. This was hard. I like Jennifer’s because it has nice contrast fabrics without being too garish. But, I also like Laura’s because I think her choice of fabrics blend nicely with the challenge fabric. I’ll be very excited to see their finished products and then to see which one I like best. It would be interesting to have a before and after vote by everyone.

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  13. It is a toss up for me between Laura’s [I love the Marcia Derse and Jennifer Sampou fabric] and Darra’s [love the grays and stripped fabric] choices. I couldn’t decide between these two palets.

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  14. The problem is that all the collections are gorgeous. However I am going with Darra’s because I can’t count either and I love that poison apple gredn fabric.

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  15. I liked the grouping that Jennifer selected the best. It was a hard choice, but likely the Amy Butler fabric was what drew me in. All the choices were great and it is hard to believe you didn’t pick any duplicates. Just shows what a wonderful a selection of fabrics we have to choose from!

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  16. This was a no-brainer for me. I love the soft tones of Laura’s fabrics best – and anything blue will get me every time. Throw in my favorite polka dots (I have a mild obsession with them as well) and I’m a happy quilter! I especially like Jennifer Sampou’s Fiesta fabric….what a great blender. Congratulations on your one year anniversary! This blog has been a bright spot for someone who is 20 miles from the nearest fabric store.

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  17. okay. i’m stepping out with more color than i usual do. it’s been my challenge for the year, so all my quilts don’t look alike with the same type fabrics i am pulled to at the store. i’m going with christie’s kaffe.

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  18. Ok s that s a hard decision! wuld have to g with Darra’s as it is completely the opposite that I would choose. I am trying t get into spring, and briight colors but it is hard as I am an earthy and water color person. I am getting better.

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  19. Jennifer’s…but I can’t wait to see how each choice “finishes up”. I bet it will be quite surprising. This is very fun. Thanks for all the time it takes to do this blog.

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  20. I would pick the first, Jennifer’s. I prefer solids, tone on tones rather than florals. I do agree that six is limiting as I’d have six- ten of the peach colours and so on. Happy anniversary.

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  21. I like Jennifer’s selections however I am wondering about the two white background choices. White is such a powerful color, I am afraid it will compete rather than blend with the focus fabric. I am more comfortable with Laura’s fabric blending together nicely. All are “fun” fabrics choices, but Laura’s choice is my fav.

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  22. What a great post. It was fun to look at all the different choices. There were fabrics in each post that I thought were amazing. Thanks

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  23. It is always great to see how we visualize fabrics together. It is why working with the people in my favorite quilt shops really pays off. For this challenge, I really liked Jennifer’s choices best. I think that we will try this exercise in our quilt group to see what happens!

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  24. What a fun challenge! I like them all but if I have to choose I like Jennifers. I’m a sucker for black & white. Happy Anniversary!!!

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  25. All the selections are inspired, but I like Christie’s best because of the Kaffe Fassett polka dots. Kathie L in Allentown

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  26. I like Darra’s fabrics the best. I love the coolness and simplicity of the gray contrasting with the bright and busy focus fabric.

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