Kathy Mack is a quilter extraordinaire and the owner of Pink Chalk Fabrics. Kathy also writes patterns, shares her love of sewing and for years has highlighted the best the sewing industry has to offer. On her blog Kathy shares local talent, discusses favorite trends, projects and fabrics, while also providing excellent information about how to grow your business, how to price handcrafted items and more. We were excited to get Kathy’s take on the sewing industry in 2010 and 2011– We know you’ll enjoy today’s interview.

Kathy’s interview is part of a series! Don’t miss our interviews with Shelly Figueroa and Susanne Woods.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Looking back on the sewing scene of 2010, what trends stand out in your mind?

  • The proliferation of designers printing their own fabric designs. From small batch offerings on Etsy and Spoonflower to full-blown manufacturing like Cloud9, Daisy Janie and Birch Fabric (all on organic base cloths, another trend!).
  • Young designers making their mark on the industry. This includes fabric, patterns, magazines, and books. Many got themselves noticed by sharing their work on blogs, Etsy and Flickr. I think that’s cool beyond measure!
  • Modern Quilting. However you define it, there’s an entire group of quilters (growing daily) that self-identify with the term. They’re producing amazing and fresh approaches to the design and construction of quilts. The popularity of the Modern Quilt Guild movement also reminds us that we still crave the satisfaction of getting together in real life.
  • New base cloth choices including Voile, Cotton Lawn, Velveteen, Linen, Home Dec, and Canvas.
  • SMS: What were some of your favorite things?
    Kathy: Voile. I’m in LOVE with Anna Maria Horner for being the first Free Spirit designer to put her art on this fabric. She truly started a trend that is now taking on a life of its own. Other manufacturers are producing prints on cotton lawn as well as other Free Spirit designers. It has a beautiful hand, a gazillion uses, and is amazingly affordable for the quality. Because of the accessibility I also believe it’s spurring a renewed interest in garment sewing by quilters.

    SMS: What was your very favorite fabric collection or print?
    Kathy: Hope Valley by Denyse Schmidt. No question! It was the only collection I personally hoarded yards of this year.

    SMS: What is one of the best things you saw that was made by someone else?
    Kathy: I really liked Candy Glendening of Candied Fabrics Mod House Ornaments. I’ve watched Candy’s art grow and mature over the past three years, I think these houses are a spectacular turn in her work.

    Mod House Ornaments by Candy Glendening

    Mod House Ornaments by Cathy Glendening

    SMS: What do you think 2011 has in store?

  • Continued high-speed competition amongst fabric manufacturers. There seems to be a real race to come up with fresh, new, and different. That means more choice for fabric buyers.
  • More independent pattern designers coming into the market. Affordable and accessible self-publishing tools continue to make designing and distributing patterns open to anyone with the talent and motivation to do so.
  • Solids. Maybe I said this last year too! I have a bit of bias about solids so I’m super excited they continue to gain in popularity.
  • Kathy’s I Spy Quilt

    SMS: What was the best thing you made in 2010?
    Kathy: My I Spy Quilt that appeared in Craft Hope.

    SMS: Any bloggers, quilters, sewists or designers who you think will be rising stars in 2011?
    Kathy: I think we’ll continue to see exciting things from some of my favorites: Lizzy House, Cheri House of Cherry House Quilts, and Emily Cier of Carolina Patchworks. I hope Elizabeth Hartman is working on another book!

    SMS: Anything you’re ready for the world to get over?
    Kathy: Owls!

    SMS: Any thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate? Predictions or wishes?
    Kathy: I’m actually really intrigued with the power of social media and the ability for sewists to get their work recognized via those outlets. It’s so cool that there really are no roadblocks to pursuing your passion whether it’s to link up with like minded souls or create a viable business around your craft. Personally, I’m finally getting the hang of Facebook for our business page and I’m enjoying it much more than I thought I would.

    SMS: Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2011? Any big projects, life changes or goals you can reveal?
    Kathy: My passion for writing sewing patterns is really calling me to come home! I plan to make 2011 the year I return to it in earnest. Finding a balance between running the shop and still producing personal creative work is an ongoing challenge I’m determined to conquer!

    Pink Chalk Mail Sack

    Kathy’s Mail Sack Pattern

    Wishing everyone a Fantastically Creative New Year!

    Thank you, Kathy! There’s more to come… Our favorite quilters, sewists, designers and shop owners have a lot to say in the upcoming weeks! We’d love to hear from you too. Don’t forget to answer any or all of our questions and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win one of five $15 Sew,Mama,Sew! gift certificates on January 15th.