Interview: Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom

jenniferpaganelliJennifer Paganelli is the talent behind Sis Boom, a Connecticut-based “one-of-a-kind vintage products company.” In addition to the home accessories and apparel she designs (and helps others design through her frequent workshops), she has designed several fabric collections for FreeSpirit, including three that have been released so far this year.

If you haven’t heard it yet, do listen to the great podcast interview with Jennifer on Craftsanity from earlier this year. In it she shares her journey as an artist/crafter and how she got started in fabric design (there’s that lesson again about stepping outside your comfort zone).

For a closer look at Flower Power, the first Sis Boom collection of 2009, see my post here. Spring Quilt Market saw the tandem release of Pretty Please and Dance With Me. I asked Jennifer to bring us up to speed …

Why three collections in such quick succession?

The last three lines Flower Power, Pretty Please, and Dance With Me were not intended to come out all together. I did three lines and thought I was done for two years. When they started marching out I was happy and horrified at the same time because I was concerned they would cut into one another’s saleability, but at that point I had to let go. In hindsight I’m happy they did because they came out as a great story. But not so happy about this economy! The good news is when you put so much out there new audiences can find you and for that I am extremely grateful.

Do all Sis Boom collections coordinate? Is that a natural outcome of your design process? How do you decide between doing collections that flow from one to the next, and creating collections that stand apart and don’t necessarily mix?

It is natural, and it evolves very organically. The palettes, though not matchy-matchy, all seem to relate back to one another. Although I do not profess to be a Lily Pulitzer I do hope that the Sis Boom aesthetic is identifiable to the consumer. I do want the collections to stand apart from one another so that its a unique experience for the buyer.

Can you describe Pretty Please for us?

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[ed. note: if you can't see the slideshow in your feed reader, please click over to the site to view it.]

I wanted to echo the damasks of the old masters while giving a new fusion of color to the classic tone on tone. These were really meant to be for furniture and home decorating in mind but I love how it translates to quilts and apparel. This collection makes stunning wholecloth quilts!

And now, can you describe Dance With Me? What are the prints about, and how do they fit into the overall collection?


Dance With Me … picture this … beloved stuffed animals with worn places finding comfort in a Sis Boom bed! Its rich saturated color plays off the previous lines with incredible energy and excitement.


The cheater is my favorite because it really beckons a recall to the old world.


That floral is something most of the girls in my generation grew up with!


The paisley just conjures up quilting with the organic nature of pattern.


The bohemian stripe gives strong verticals and horizontals to any quilt piece.

Considering your feminine, ornate, warm style, I was surprised to learn that you were once a rep for Knoll! Do you still have an affinity for more minimal/modern textiles, or are they too cold for you now?

Yes, I worked for Knoll for 12 years! It left an indelible mark, one I will always treasure. Domino magazine paired the old with the new so boldly and yet with such comfortability, the modern lines were softened and brought into a residential notion, not so corporate (That’s why I miss Domino so much!). To see a Saarinen womb chair covered in my fabrics would be the ultimate compliment. I love modern furniture, but since I left Knoll to be a stay-at-home-mom, it wasn’t possible on our budget. Instead I learned to work with fleamarket finds and appreciate the modern sensibility.

Every architect I called on for Knoll had samples from the D & D buildingBrunschwig & Fils, Clarence House, etc. — that I would go weak in the knees for. I should have known that textile design would be my destiny. Knoll part of my history and I love what I learned there.

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Jennifer! Sis Boom fans, don’t miss Marie-Madeline Studio‘s giveaway of a beautiful “happy scrappy” twin-size quilt made with Sis Boom fabrics. Entry deadline is August 8, 2009.


  1. Cheryl says:

    Great interview! I absolutely love Jennifer’s fabrics!

  2. I just love Dance With Me!! All fabrics in this collection are adorable.
    I really enjoy reading your interviews. I get to discover designers and lots of cute fabrics. ^^ Thank you.

  3. [...] tout True Up est un blog spécialisé dans les tissus). Et ce matin donc, j’ai pu lire l’interview de Jennifer Paganelli, qui a créé plusieurs collections chez FreeSpirit (marque de tissus américaine). Je dois avouer [...]