Best of 2008: Sarah of Sewer/Sewist

Sarah writes the blog Sewer/Sewist with her husband Josh. She also runs the Obama Craft Project. You may remember that she was my Portland stringer for the 2008 spring quilt market. Here are her favorite fabrics of 2008 …


Best Quilting Weight Cotton Collection — I absolutely am in love with Heather Ross’ Mendocino collection for FreeSpirit. I am an ocean gal myself and the “under-the-sea” motifs make me feel like a kid every time I see it. (Which is also why I’m so excited for Neptune by Tula Pink from Moda.) Bold colors, and unique color combinations really attract me, and this line really fit the bill. While I am not at all a quilter, when I do have moments of temporary insanity in which I think I might sew a quilt, I also think it will be out of Mendocino. (Then I come to my senses and realize it’ll never happen — I just can’t commit to a quilt.)


Joel Dewberry’s Ginseng in the Mulberry colorway

Best Home Decor Weight Collection: Hands-down Joel Dewberry’s Ginseng collection rocked my world in 2008. This year we saw lots of faux bois, birds and branches in textiles, and as a design element in general, but Joel really made it different, with rich, bold colors, stronger graphics and subtle aestheic that I think of as “Asian Fusion” — you know, like the restaurant trend. The canvas sateen from Westminster is a dream to work with as well. Joel is a designer who has delivered really amazing work in a very short period — I’m very excited to see what his next line will bring.

Best Under the Radar/Sleeper Collection: I am bummed that your first respondent beat me to the punch with Lush by Erin Michael. It is knock-your-socks off fun, and the colors are per-fect. It started appearing around here very late in the year, so I am guessing that more people will find out about with great line relatively quickly. I wonder, is this the elk/deer/wildlife trend that’s so big in Japan finally reaching American designers? If so, RAD! (Seriously, I am a sucker for whimsical wildlife images … )

Best Trend: As a garment sewer, I am thrilled to see more and more fabrics available that work for garments. For a long while it seemed like quilting fabric dominated the markets, and many of these were simply not appropriate for clothing. Now, it seems, many lines will work for a number of applications. For example this summer I made a tuxedo-style/pintucked shirt for Josh using a quilting fabric from Heather Ross‘ Lightning Bugs line. The tiny floral stripe worked beautifully for a shirt, and the quality of the fabric was as good as any shirting material out there. I am also excited to see loads more all-natural knits hitting the marketplace — at least here in Portland. Just a little over a year ago we searched high and low for a red jersey made from all-natural material (i.e. cotton, bamboo), and couldn’t find a yard in the entire city. Now every fabric store in town has multiple options. It’s great to see companies experimenting to create some wonderful knit — I’m particularly excited about soy jersey, as it feels very similar to silk and takes colors brilliantly.

Sugar Snap on the line

Sugar Snap on the line by yummygoods, on Flickr

Best New Designer: Melissa Averinos, who created a fun, funky and feminine line of fabric for FreeSpirit called Sugar Snap. I can’t wait to see what else she develops, I feel like she has a youthful perspective on fabric design that is very refreshing.


Best Floral Print: I am LOVING Anna Maria Horner‘s “Sketchbook” and really regret not making something from it this year. I love the hand-drawn details of the flowers in combination with the birds. (I have a feeling the birds are going to continue as a big trend in textiles for 2009. They were everywhere this past year.) Anna Maria is a fine artist by training, and it shows through in this particular fabric more so than anything else I’ve seen. Sketchbook is a beautiful enough floral to forego sewing at all and mount a pattern repeat or two on the wall to enjoy for its own sake.


Best Japanese Print: Etsuko Furuya “Leopard” print from the Echino collection is one of the most captivating prints I saw all year. Captivating is a strange word to use, but it’s true — there’s something about this design that I felt compelled to study each time I saw it. The colors were bold, the fabric textured, the design intriguing. I would definitely label this fabric not only as my favorite Japanese Print, but also one of my top five prints in general for 2008.

{Thank you so much, Sarah!}

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