International Quilt Market Takeaway: Can Quilters Sew Garments?

I was on a Coats and Clark panel last week at the International Quilt Market in Houston that was geared to quilt shop owners and providing tips on how to gain the fashion sewing customer. Like many, I firmly believe fashion sewing is on the upswing, and more and more quilters are crossing over, mostly due to the gorgeous quilting cotton fabrics. new fashion fabrics, and brilliant indie patterns that are out there. Plus, fashion sewists are discovering the fabrics and having a blast with the amazing prints.


Garments here …


there …
     and everywhere at International Quilt Market!

Every Quilt Market, I see more and more companies catering to the fashion sewists. Many women and men are walking around wearing garments created from these fabrics, and booths everywhere have adorable clothing on display.

I really don't see the distinction between quilting and sewing that some see. Most of the quilters I know have some fashion sewing in their background, just as fashion sewists like myself have tried their hand at quilting. It's a fluid boundary, and it's the pretty fabrics and colors that hook us, however we translate our creativity.

If the attendance at the panel was any indication, lots of quilt shop owners feel the same way, and it was a fascinating topic to explore, especially from an economics point of view. And I think you can expect to find the notions and tools of both sides of this crafting coin in the independent stores more and more.

The reason that I love Stitch magazine is that it has something for both crowds, from quilts to accessories with quilting techniques to garments, all of them with that lovely handmade, modern aesthetic so unique to Stitch. You will definitely find that in new Stitch Winter 2014. Check it out in the Sew Daily Shop!

Are you a quilter or fashion sewist or both? I would love to know!

Happy stitching!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Amber

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

19 thoughts on “International Quilt Market Takeaway: Can Quilters Sew Garments?

  1. My background is in clothing and tailoring, about 14 years ago I was ‘bit’ by the quilting bug, soooooooooo, now I do both, and I learn so much from other members of my Sewing Guild, and my Quilt Guild.

  2. I started young with handwork, graduated to clothing, then on to quilting in my early 30s. I sewed clothing constantly for many years, got work in a fabric store that I later managed. I sew garments occasionally now and wish I had time to do more as I have a good stash of clothing fabric.
    I enjoy your passion for sewing clothing as I remember it from all those years. Thanks for sharing with us!

  3. I started young with handwork, graduated to clothing, then on to quilting in my early 30s. I sewed clothing constantly for many years, got work in a fabric store that I later managed. I sew garments occasionally now and wish I had time to do more as I have a good stash of clothing fabric.
    I enjoy your passion for sewing clothing as I remember it from all those years. Thanks for sharing with us!

  4. I learned to sew as a teenager. Quilting came later and now I am doing both. Recently I created a pattern for insulated snow skirts – very popular in Alaska. I teach that class often at the quilt shop where I work. It is always interesting watching “quilters” sew garments: scissors! 5/8″ seams!

    Debby

  5. I’ve always done both fashion sewing and quilting. My grans taught me both arts beginning in the early ’60s when I began primary school aged 5.

    Thanks to them I’ve always had lovely clothing included quilted pieces in addition to the bed quilts, wall hangings, pot holders. I piece the tops on the sewing machine then hand quilt the tops to the batting and backing, and let me tell you there is nothing like the Zen of a long autumn or winter evening spent watching telly and quilting down bits of the clothing I’ve sewn for myself and the family over the years. I taught my daughter, and BONUS – now I’m teaching my oldest granddaughter the same way my grans taught me:)

  6. I have a question for you experienced folks! I am returning to sewing after many years away and am both fashion sewing and quilting. In sewing for my granddaughters (7 and 5), I find that I LOVE the quilting cottons for “Mathilda Jane” type clothing but often it wrinkles so much when (even when prewashed) washed and these girls’ parents are NOT ironers/pressers. Is there a secret to picking which quilting cottons wrinkle less and hold up well for “little people” clothing without high maintenance care?

  7. I’ve never made a quilt my life, but I’ve used techniques from quilting publications, and quilt fabrics, in both personal and professional garments. (Among many other things in my life, I was a theatrical costumer.)

    If you can shove fabric through a sewing machine, you can create nearly anything, and one set of sewing skills merely enriches all the others. And having techniques from one arena can make dealing with challenges in another easier: I once made folded-fabric orange poppies, from a book intended for quilters, for a costume representing Califia (the state of California represented as a woman, like Columbia for the US or Britannia for the UK). And I’m currently working on a vest from a class taken at a local quilt shop, to which I have added embellishments from my ‘beader’ skills, and which I have adapted for fit from my ‘clothier’ skills (the original version had no darts; I added them, hidden in the piecework seams).

    Why limit yourself? Having multiple sources and ideas can cross-pollinate and open vistas you’d never otherwise have known were there.

  8. @Jenna:
    I think the term ‘sewist’ came about because of the alternate meaning/pronunciation of the word ‘sewer’ (sue-er instead of soh-er) which can also describe a pipe that takes waste away from your house. ‘Quilter’ doesn’t have that problem. I don’t like ‘sewist’ which I find awkward on the tongue and which you have to explain to most people – who then ask if you meant ‘sewer’!
    @bsugrad07:
    That’s a great way of describing it – I’m going to borrow that. Thanks.

  9. I’ve done garment sewing for my whole life. My daughter only wore dresses I made for many years. I’ve done enough quilt making I can’t remember how many I’ve made or for whom. Now, I do well to get the mending done, so do very little quilting or garment sewing. I love the designing part.

  10. BOTH – I became a fashion sewer from necessity mostly because it was cheaper to clothe my kids. PJ’s are especially easy. Mistakes on them don’t count! Good place to practice and kids don’t care if they’re mismatched. In fact, I made them of different fabrics many times just to use up odds and ends. Quilting came later. Again, because I had a lot of different odds and ends. I rarely bought fabric just to use for quilting. I do now but mostly for special projects – like buying fabric while on vacation. The quilts become memory quilts.

  11. I’m right in the middle. I have made my first quilt top, but have gotten distracted by a couple of other projects — making footrests from foam with a vinyl cover and a seat cushion for my rocking chair. I don’t construct garments, but I alter almost every piece of clothing I buy. I’m very short and even petite short clothes are too long, so I’ve become expert at shortening blouses, shirts, skirts, jackets, etc. I am interested in embroidery, but so far haven’t found the time to fit it into my schedule. I enjoy seeing the very creative projects that other sewists have completed.

  12. “Everything old is new again…” Fabric has many uses. Using fabric to express creativity has been a very important part of my life. Quilting, custom dressmaking, fashion sewing, what difference does it make if it brightens my day and allows me to share with others. Personally, I find the term “sewist” affected and artificial…but if it makes you happy, use it.

  13. “Everything old is new again…” Fabric has many uses. Using fabric to express creativity has been a very important part of my life. Quilting, custom dressmaking, fashion sewing, what difference does it make if it brightens my day and allows me to share with others. Personally, I find the term “sewist” affected and artificial…but if it makes you happy, use it.

  14. I sewed clothing for years before I started quilting. Knowing how to sew certainly helped my sewing 1/4 in seams faster and even free motion quilting. I am now making quilted jackets and always love the compliments
    Karin McElvein

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