Whew! We’ve reached the end of our 2010 Reflections and 2011 Predictions! Thank you to everyone who answered on their own blog or in our forum. We’ve enjoyed browsing through your responses. We’ll be drawing the winners of the $15 gift certificates on Monday, so you still have a little time to put in your two cents.

Before I go on to the specific questions that we asked, I think it should come as no surprise when I say that the 10 people we chose to be our contributors in the series are people we think made a big impact on the sewing industry in 2010 and/or who will be influential in the coming year:

Susanne Woods: Chances are, one year ago you hadn’t heard of Stash Books. Now you probably have one or two of their books on your shelf. Susanne’s incredible eye for talent made that happen.

Shelly Figueroa: Shelly and her partner at Patterns by Figgy, Karen, are hitting their stride as designers of childrens’ patterns. Their non-fussy approach to real clothes for real kids of both genders is filling a significant gap in the pattern market.

Kathy Mack: Kathy has long had her finger on the pulse of the quilting community and has an amazing ability to forecast trends. You need only review her post to know that she has a genuine passion for everything about the sewing industry.

Katie Pederson: Katie and her up-coming book partner, Jacquie Gering, are wonderful and talented modern quilters who make quilting seem so…approachable. We love their style and you-can-do-this-too attitude.

Valori Wells: If you follow Valori on Twitter, you know she keeps it real. With everything from her art to her family to her home town, it’s all genuine and there’s nothing forced about her place in the sewing industry. She just does what she does and we love that.

Kim Kight: If you want to know what’s going on in the fabric industry you have to follow Trueup. Kim’s love and knowledge of fabric–past, present and future–are unmatched. (We can’t wait to find out about the personal and professional projects she alluded to in her post!)

Katy Dill: Katy has one of those blogs that makes you want to move into her life. (Yeah, I never wanted five girls, but  she makes it look so fun!) The winning formula:  family + lots of photos + sewing + style = A+  blog (still)!

Sarai Mitnick: Sarai of Colette Patterns is making a big impact in the sewing industry by creating timeless sewing patterns. We’re completely impressed by the way she’s always working to engage her customers by drawing them in with her passion for fashion and knowledge of sewing.

John Adams: John is smart, knowledgeable about the industry, and a very talented quilter. We hope he reaches his goal of making his passion his job this year. (I have more to say about John below.)

Michelle Engel Bencsko: Listen. There are people with great ideas, and then there are people with great ideas and follow-through. Michelle and her partner, Gina, fall into the latter category. Love them and Cloud9 Fabrics and all it represents. (I have more to say about them below.)

OK, now to my reflections/predictions! I could go on and on about this for days, but I edited myself and narrowed things down.

My Favorite 2010 Trend

Connecting Through Sewing in Real Life
I predicted it last year and for once, I was right! We’ve been witnessing a movement in which people are meeting in person to share their love of sewing and connect with one another. The Modern Quilt Guild has grown to over 96 chapters around the world, which is just incredible! In addition, sewing classes at spots like Modern Domestic in Portland, CityCraft in Dallas and Whipstitch in Atlanta are packed full of new and experienced sewists excited for the opportunity to learn among friends. Personally, my own small (12 members) sewing circle has become an integral part of my weekly life and I’m grateful for the chance to sew among such talented and ridiculously funny women. (If you’d like to connect with people in your area, we have a Sewing Circle board on our forum. If you want to be notified of posts on a particular regional board or thread, be sure to click NOTIFY in on the right-hand side.)

Portland Modern Quilt Guild

Portland Modern Quilt Guild members at the December swap.

2010 Fabric Trends

New Substrates
I agree with many of our contributors–it was really great to see so many new substrates! We loved the Anna Maria Horner velveteen and voile. Many of us ventured into new sewing territory with the Patty Young and Oliver+S knits. We saw several more linen/cotton fabrics and beautiful canvas and sateen home dec prints. It’s nice to have options, isn’t it? I think we’ll see more in the coming years. Wool? Bamboo? Silk? Looking forward to those and many others.

Solids and Smaller-Scale Prints
In addition to texture, we saw a movement toward solids, almost-solids and smaller-scale prints. Like so many of you, I’ve found that my own stash is full of large scale designs, so in 2010 I tried to find some balance with coordinates. I  loved Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley because it met my need for print, while filling in those small-scale gaps in my stash. I’m also hoarding Kaffe’s shot cottons and Moda’s Crossweaves. And there were a few random prints I loved that I’ve been using like these:

2010 stash

The Best Thing I Made

I’m proud of this baby kimono made with Kaffe fabric for Beth’s baby. I used the free Kimono pattern by Bettsy Kingston, modifying it slightly so it’s lined. I love the orange negative space on the main fabric.

Baby Kimono


I think Elizabeth’s Tokyo Subway Map quilt is quite remarkable. I’m not a quilter and not good with small pieces and joining points, so the whole thing kind of blew my mind. And the fact that there were so many people sewing along attests to Elizabeth’s skills as both a designer and instructor.

Tokyo Subway Map Quilt

Tokyo Subway Map quilt by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson!

2011 Prediction: More Men!

I think that in the coming years the sewing community will welcome more men into its folds. There was a time when our shop rarely received an order from a man (or at least an obvious male name like Henry), but they are coming in more and more frequently. John Adams (Quilt Dad) has been an excellent ambassador, proving–with talent and confidence–that quilting is for everyone. I was also excited to see that Peter at Male Pattern Boldness (love that name!) is leading a Colette Patterns Negroni sew-along.  As this demographic grows, it will be interesting to see how the voice of the male consumer will impact the industry.

I admit, I’m done with owls.

Oh boy, I really opened a can of worms AND I stuck my foot in my mouth (how’s that for a disgusting mixed metaphor?) when I asked the question about whether or not you’re ready for any trends to pass. I fear that I may have offended some people when I admitted that yes, I am tired of owls! I plead over-saturation from living with an 8-year-old girl with owl jewelry, owl softies, owl clothes…and then I go to the shop and there are owls on fabric! I’m going a little hooty. No offense to anyone who designs owl fabric or makes owl things, but here’s hoping 2011 is the year of the piglet. Or perhaps the return of the pink flamingo. Armadillo, anyone?

Rising Stars

I think Michelle Engel Bencsko and Gina Pantastico of Cloud9 Fabrics have an amazing thing going on, so I hope 2011 will be a big year for them. Michelle is a great artist herself, but this new Designer Series they’re starting is brilliant.  I think the artists that they’ve chosen for their first three collections are talented and innovative, while fitting in well with existing Cloud9 aesthetic. I’m also excited about their new “price sensitive” cotton. I think many of us are interested in buying organic cloth, but it’s been out of the budget. Their new lines will make organic fabric much more accessible and easily-justifiable (like the organic apples that are 2.99 a lb, but not the organic apples that are 4.99 a lb.)

Cut Out and Keep

Cut Out and Keep by Heather Moore for Cloud9 Fabrics

The WORST of 2010

We didn’t ask you or our contributors to identify the worst of 2010, but I have to say something here because I think it’s time someone said it out loud (so to speak). Although we saw dozens of amazing and flawless books and patterns released in 2010, many more books and patterns were full of errors. I hear this privately from reviewers we ask to write for us. I hear it from real-life friends in sewing circles. I hear it from customers. I hear it from other industry professionals.  Again, privately. Everyone knows that books are being released with projects that are untested and patterns are being sold with bad grammar and procedures that make no sense. For better or worse, the sewing community is kind and supportive and polite and these things go unsaid out in the open. But people know and they are getting frustrated.

I hope that in 2011 we’ll see a shift toward more pattern testing, technical editing, constructive criticism and professionalism. I’m not, of course, talking about a blog post or a free tutorial–we all make mistakes when we have to crank out fresh content day in and day out. But if you’re selling a product, your customers deserve to know that your patterns and techniques have been evaluated by objective and honest testers, reviewers and editors. *End Rant*

That’s all, folks! I hope you have a great weekend!