Where Do You Find Your Sewing Inspiration?

I consider myself pretty lucky to work at a sewing magazine. Daily, I’m surrounded by creative projects, fun fabrics, and interesting patterns. Living in a world of sewing stitches means I don’t have far to go to find inspiration.


A few of the books that have come
across my desk lately.

I find it when I edit the text for projects that will appear in upcoming issues, look at submissions from designers, peruse books that we may want to feature in the magazine, and elsewhere.

Plus, there are other editors in the office, doing the same thing for the quilting and craft magazines they work on. It’s neat to be surrounded by some really creative people who love their work, and whose desks are also populated by handmade goodness.

Not long after I began working at Stitch, I started a list I keep in my desk drawer of sewing and quilting projects I come across and want to make. The list is growing, as I find myself saying fairly often: “Oooooh, I want to make that. And that. Oooh, and that too.”

I’ve got plenty of ideas on my list, but if you’re looking for some new projects, or just want to see some gorgeous quilts, check out the 2013-2014 special issue of International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene.  

Where do you find your inspiration? In books, magazines, or online? Are you a member of a sewing or quilting group or guild? Do you have crafty friends to talk shop with? Or perhaps you find inspiration in your fabric stash or while your sitting at your sewing machine? I can’t wait to hear. 


Other sewing topics you may enjoy:


Sew Daily Blog
Abby Kaufman

About Abby Kaufman

Abby Kaufman is assistant editor of Stitch magazine. When she's not scoping out new fabrics for her collection, Abby enjoys outdoor activities, and spending time with her husband and two dogs. 

12 thoughts on “Where Do You Find Your Sewing Inspiration?

  1. Encouraged by the book “Quilting Happiness,” I have finally started a quilting journal. It’s a spiral-bound, hardcover sketchbook that I plan to fill with sketches, notes, magazine clippings, inspirational photos, whatever. I used to keep this stuff pinned to a bulletin board, where ideas usually got buried under layers of paper and forgotten. I like the journal method much better.

  2. I find more often than not these days that a single picture possibly while browsing the internet for something else, can bring up a whole host of ideas for projects. I print the picture and/or work up a pattern on my computer and glue it into a project book. The project book is just a bound theme book. I will likely never do all the projects, but it is fun looking through the books for inspiration on a rainy Saturday. My latest projects have been baby quilts with large appliques across the squares. Fun and easy and they don’t take so long that you lose interest.

  3. I find inspiration in fashion magazines, retail stores, and people on the street; style is the elusive goal. Forty + years of sewing enable me to create almost any garment I wish, it’s how to make it uniquely mine that is the challenge.
    I post my adventures in sewing on my blog WeSew.blogspot.cm

  4. I belong to a quilt guild (300+ members) and a quilt bee (12) as well as a group of quilters at my public library. We’re always sharing ideas gleaned from magazines, on-line and from books. I volunteer at the library and see all sorts of books as I check them back into the library, so grab them at will. And I subscribe to several quilting and sewing blogs here on-line. My to-do list is pages long and I’m trying to make things from my SABLE (Stash Beyond Life Expectancy) so it’s always an adventure.

  5. Oh, how I would LOVE to work for a sewing/knitting magazine. I would probably go crazy wanting to do everything that came across my desk. But since I don’t work for any magazine, much less a sewing/knitting magazine, I depend a lot on such magazines for my inspiration/dreams. Most of it is dreams right now, because of school and work. But some day . . .

  6. I get most of my inspiration from the prints I do on my fabric. I make my own hand carved blocks and print with them and real leaves on most of my work. So color and nature inspire me the most. I will admit I have been scrolling though Pinterest a lot lately and a floral form or the way some one has put their pieces together will inspire me to try something new!

  7. Inspiration: it’s going to be a hard winter. I’m wearing a tacky, old dark green parka from a thrift shop. I go to Lands End and then L.L. Bean. I study the parkas. I’m vegan which means no down, i.e., goose feathers. The nicest parkas are over $100 and not my favorite color. I go back to Seattle Fabrics, call the order line for samples, and get the owner of the company! I tell him his website is confusing and I need a jacket. We talk about polartec 200 and 300, the colors and how the website says “some of the fabrics” are DWR, durable water resistant. Seattle Fabrics is one source for Malden Mills Polartec — the real deal, not just the uncertain cheap crap you get by googling on fleece. [I like cheap, too, if I’m standing in Joann’s and can feel of the stuff!] I ask him what shade the teal is. Is it almost black or is it bright turquoise? He can’t say, but he assures me they’re working on the website. I tell him to go see how Linda Podietz does on Emma One-Sock. Awesome! The sweet man sends me gorgeous samples for free. I repay him with a three-figure order of teal polartec 300 for a hooded jacket (Burda pattern), turquoise microfleece for a pretty top, and two yards of amazing stuff for pants. The amazing stuff is silky smooth on the outside and thin fleece on the inside — perfect for fitted jackets and slim ski pants. I figure I can handwash the dressy-looking slacks and they’ll be dry almost overnight. The inspiration is need — not marketing or boredom or a need to create. I need clothes! Neiman-Marcus taste, Lands End reality and K-Mart budget. Mimi Routh, South Lake Tahoe, CA

  8. I find much of my inspiration or fashion sewing as I browse online fabric stores. Many times I can see exactly what a fabric could be. And then I buy the fabric, and who knows how long it will be until I get to it. But I’ll still know what it should be when I find it again.

    I get great pleasure in sitting among my cotton fabric stash, too, imagining the mix of fabrics I can bring together for a quilt. To be honest, I’ve only just finished my first quilt top…but I have four bins of cottons to choose from for my next one!

  9. I belong to a crafty Yahoo group “25 Weeks of Christmas” where we exchange links and ideas for mostly freebie patterns for making all kinds of items, not just those that are sewn.

  10. First, I find inspiration from a piece of fabric, then explore where and how I will use it. I have fun deciding the embellishments, and who will get the finished object. My first loves are creating fabric art or wearable art. My second love — deciding who will get the final creation. Fabric drives all those endeavors.

  11. Portraits
    Extant historical garments
    Live Action Role Play game settings…
    Books (both fictional and on-fiction)
    Film and TV
    Commercial patterns
    Fashion illustrations past and present
    The natural world…
    A pair of shoes!
    A scent or a sound
    A piece of music
    A poem…

    Almost anything can provide inspiration.