Updated: Apr 21
The power of our sewing community is so much more than meets the eye. It is a hub of kindness, support and an overflowing vessel of utter love all entwined within fabric and thread. Sewers and creatives in general have a magical way of expressing love to others. It's like a superpower that unleashes in unexpected ways. Love powers creativity in itself. It takes us outside ourselves. For creating something with love for someone special requires us to put others needs ahead of our own. It requires thought, planning and as with anything handmade, a load of time, work, patience and effort.
An amazing maker who shows endless love through her sewing and creative powers is my extremely talented friend, Amanda Wright of Weird Alice's Textile Adventures. We were blessed with an amazing gift, presented so beautifully by this creative superhero. Something for our dearest little girl, Layla to treasure forever. A quilt of spectacular level, compiled with beautiful fabrics and stunning use of colour and design. This quilt isn't a regular baby quilt, oh no no no, THIS quilt showed many stories within its many stitches.
When Amanda heard I was pregnant with my first baby, she knew instantly that she wanted to create something special. A quilt which not only brought happiness in its colour, design and quilting details, it also showcased my journey as a pattern designer, commemorating my growth and achievements with an array of Sew Quirky characters starring in each block.
I see my little girl playing on this quilt and it brings me immense joy, filling every bit of my soul with love. Love for friendship that grew out of shared bliss of creating. Love for the sewing community that has allowed me to share my art and grow as a designer. Finally, love for family and values. I see Layla admiring the gorgeous stitches Amanda used, the textures and bright colours catch her attention. I can't wait to pass on my experience and share creative adventures together with my little girl.
Please enjoy reading about Amanda's design process below. You'll find creative advice, tips - highlighting her quilting process and also more about this gorgeous human! Amanda, thank you for all that you do and all that you are. You are an amazing friend and beautiful person...
Big smiles, Mandy
P.s view Layla and I opening this special gift and seeing it for the first time here.
Amanda, we'd LOVE to hear your design process for Layla's Quilt
This project was born through the community of creating giving me a beautiful talented friend! When you told me that you where pregnant I knew I was making you something and I wanted it to be special. Your journey of creating amazing applique creatures has come so far and I wanted to commemorate that in some way.
I gathered all your patterns since you started Sew Quirky, chose a block size that would allow them to shine but still be a usable quilt size and began playing on the computer resizing my favourites and the classics to fit into the blocks without compromising their detail. While I wanted a bright fun quilt, I felt it needed some kind of flow through each character, that’s where my scrap bin full of brights came in. I had about seven key fabrics that I included in some way across all the appliques and all the eyes, cheeks where made with the same fabrics, this gave me the cohesion I wanted through the quilt. The backgrounds I chose after all the appliques where made, again I wanted a glue to bring it all together, after lots of searching, the Ruby Star Society Speckled range fit perfectly!!
Legend, please share your tips with us..
Your patterns are so clear and easy to follow that there aren’t any tips I can possibly give about creating the appliques themselves. When it came to the final stage of quilting, well I have a few!
I used lots of dense quilting around the appliques to make them really “pop” and frame them, I recommend that if you choose to densely quilt a larger project, stitch-in-the-ditch all your blocks first and then go back and fill your blocks. This will baste your whole quilt, help stop the blocks shifting and should ease issues with your quilt shrinking unevenly during the quilting process.
Another tip I would love to share is when adding details to the appliques during the quilting process, Clear Monofil thread is your best friend! I used Madeira Clear 40, it takes patience and some testing to get the best tension and needle combo but SO worth it!! You are able to quilt along all your applique shapes, quilt in details and create depth to the designs without changing colours or worrying about ruining those fancy applique stitches!
Did you face any challenges with this project Amanda?
I knew I was going to be attempting many new things with Layla’s quilt that would push me creatively, but I love learning so when I get overwhelmed with what’s in front of me, I try to keep in mind why I’m creating the piece in the first place. I think the challenges that I found the biggest to work through mostly in my own head and as creatives we all seem to carry around our own personal bags of self-doubt. In saying that, designing the quilting layouts where my biggest hurdle. I wanted them to complement and frame the appliques without overwhelming them. I went through almost a whole notebook of options before I settled on three that I tested by drawing the designs on clear transfer with a sharpie and laid them over the blocks. I finally chose a line design that would be used through all the blocks and each colour block had its own free motion fillers.
We all have a favourite part to our craft, what part did you enjoy the most?
My absolute favourite part was building the appliques!! I can honestly say there is not one
creature that did not make me grin like a crazy person when I pressed down those final
pieces, this can be supported by my family who were all made to come and see each one!
Every one of the animals have their own personality, and it brings so much joy to be able to
bring them to life.
You must have a favourite block and we'd love to hear which one makes you smile the most?
This is like asking which is my favourite child! I do have a soft spot for the Budgie Buddies, their cute little faces and the tiny details are just so sweet!! There is something I love in each animal and that I think makes them all special.
What do you want to try next?
Is it polite to ask anyone that sews how many projects they have planned?? Lol I love to track things, so I have a spreadsheet of projects, essentially it’s a wishlist I add to as each new obsession comes along. I am currently starting to experiment with textile art and mixing medias to create more depth and interest into my work. I get a rush learning new skills, trying new techniques and then integrating them into patterns that have been designed for a more traditional interpretation. The joke in my creative circle is, “Of course you didn’t follow the pattern like a normal person!”
More about YOU please Amanda! How long you've been sewing for and what is your favourite style of sewing? Finding ones sewing mojo can be challenging at times too and we'd love to hear how you find yours? Oh, don't forget your go to sewing snack! Plus anything else you'd like to share with us :)
I started sewing about 4 years old at my grandmothers table on her big metal Singer, I’m seriously impressed it never electrocuted me. My grandmother was my idol, she was such a creative soul but due to the era she grew up in she never pursued her dreams, so when I began to create from my heart she was my biggest cheerleader. I always carry her with my when I create, literally, I have her portrait and sewing supplies tattooed on my arm. Like all of us my sewing style shifts and changes with my life, where I am on my journey and what opportunities are presented to me.
Right now, I’m obsessively into textile art and playing with so many new textures, but I also am forwarding thinking about mixing some FFP designs into bags for retreats I am planning to attend this year. I never say no to learning a new skill and so many amazing things have happened to me when I humbled myself to share my imperfections, lower my expectations of perfection and just create for joy. This is also why I give away a lot of my projects as gifts, I believe they carry the love and care I feel when making them and what’s better than a portable hug?
Snacks for sewing? TEA AND COFFEE!! These are essential for both productivity and
general pleasantness. I don’t snack much when sewing because I’m paranoid about getting
marks on my work but I will totally have a doughnut break at any time, always. Iced, with
custard, did anyone else hear my thighs crying?
My sewing mojo ebbs and flows with my busy life and mental health. I love that we no
longer need to hide away and ashamed if we are having mental health struggles, I have
learnt that my depression and anxiety are actually a huge part of what makes me a unique
creator and have a massive impact on my work.
This makes it even more important that I have to have plans in place to keep me motivated, especially if I have deadlines coming up during a rough time. I have a lot of projects on the go that I can cherry pick and that’s keeps the work new and fresh, even an older project is exciting if you haven’t touched it for years! No compromise condition,15mins of creating each day is mandatory. That time often grows into more, but by making it mandatory means I can’t procrastinate or avoid and I always walk away feeling accomplished! Finally be kind to yourself, we need to treat ourselves like we do our best friends, supportive, nonjudgmental and laugh at yourself!!
When I’m not busy creating or thinking about creating, I’m a mum to 4 (3 teenagers and 1 prepuberty – send help), in a blended family with my indulgent partner of 8 years. We live in North Queensland on 20 acres where my other obsession (and biggest love if you ask my partner) Gus, my thoroughbred horse lives his best life being pampered and occasionally
FOLLOW THIS LEGEND!
PATTERNS USED IN THIS RAD MAKE
Rosie & River Roo
Jagger the unicorn
Toby the RAD Jack
Frankie the Frenchie
Cuddleee the Sloth
Daisy & Duke Chihuahua's
Sprinkles & Feathers
Fierce Beauty Leopardess
You can check out PDF
patterns here &
hardcopy patterns here.
The following can all be found in Mandy's book Applique the Sew Quirky Way
You are Dino-mite!
Alpaca My Bags
Toucan Do It!
Life's Short, Eat Donuts (Sausage Dog)