Deborah Moebes of Whipstitch is the author of the popular Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time, and owner of the Whipstitch Fabrics online shop, and brick and mortar store in Atlanta. Deborah offers a wide selection of sewing e-courses through her site, and she’s hard at work on a follow-up to the popular Stitch by Stitch; her new book focuses on the intermediate sewist.

We love to hear what Deborah thinks about the sewing industry, and she was kind enough to take time to answer our questions in the midst of a move to her lovely new home (with great space for her sewing studio!). Join in with your answers too! Tell us what you think about any or all of our questions for a chance to win a gift certificate to Sew,Mama,Sew!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?
Deborah: I think my favorite new development in 2011 really was seeing people who have met through the online sewing and crafting community meet up in real life. I think we all have craved that personal connection, and I love that it doesn’t require us to necessarily DO anything– Just meeting someone with whom you are sympatico is enough, often, to rejuvenate my creative impulses. I sometimes run into people at IKEA or while I’m browsing bolts of fabric, and my hair isn’t done and I’m not wearing any make-up and my kids are melting down, and we’ve never met in real life before, but somehow it’s still always seriously cool to put the name with the face and shake hands or hug each other and pick up chatting like we just had coffee the other day. Totally loving that.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What were some of your favorite things?
Deborah: I don’t even know how to begin to list some of the lovely things I’m running across these days! I am pretty hooked on Pinterest, I have to say, and have amassed quite a collection of things I want to sew over on my boards. I love the way it gives me a chance to sort of define my own look and see cohesiveness in my tastes and interests in ways that I can’t always be objective enough to do in regular life; literally, I get to step back and see many images next to one another, and it gives me a bigger sense of what I am about and how my own style is changing over time. I also have fallen in love with the quilting bee– virtual and live-in-person. I’m part of a circle for do.Good Stitches, a charity bee, and a group of us are just beginning a Bee Bee using Melody Miller‘s Ruby Star Spring line. Something about all working in tandem, despite geography, and then pooling our sewing is truly delightful, while also being so restful. Getting to know other folks who sew while making something that has everyone’s stamp on it has been an unexpected pleasure.

Deborah’s Ruby Star Bee Skirt

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What did you make that you’re most proud of?
Deborah: Honestly, I think I’m most proud of the manuscript for my new book, but I can’t show photos yet! Most of my sewing hours this year were devoted to making the projects that will be in it, and I’m really so thrilled with how they all turned out. There are lots of different types of projects, which was fun. I also loved the Ruby Star Bee Skirt (free pattern!) I worked on with Melody Miller and, for sentimental reasons, was pretty proud of the Nautical Quilt I made for my sister; it was a gift that I was happy to make and didn’t realize how much it would mean to her until later, so it thrilled me to have offered her that.

Deborah’s Nautical Quilt

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What was your favorite fabric collection or print?
Deborah: Oh, wow, I don’t know how I would really pick one! I will always buy anything Lizzy House or Melody Miller ever design– I think they each have a great eye and are constantly pushing us all to embrace new colors, which we then all fall in love with and realize we needed all along. I really fell hard for Lotta Jansdotter’s new line that just came out, and this year I allowed myself to give in to my constant craving for really whimsical novelty prints– Loved Marisa Haedike’s collection for Andover, and Sarah Jane’s for Michael Miller.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Do you have a favorite sewing book or pattern from the past year to recommend?
Deborah: I really think Nancy Zieman’s new book is a great reference, and learned some great tricks there that I’d never encountered before; I know she may seem to some of us like she’s from and for another generation, but the lady knows how to sew, y’all. That trick she does with the corners? Really awesome.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Are there any trends you’re over and done with?
Deborah: Well, competitiveness, really. We’re so fortunate in the craft community that we don’t experience a lot of bad attitudes– But when there’s an element of competitiveness, it bums me out. There can be this one-up-manship that creeps in– and I am for sure no exception to it, at all– that takes some of the fun and excitement away. I think I’d be perfectly happy to see that need to one-up other folks vanish, and allow us all some margin and some breathing room to develop lots of super amazing ideas. There is SO much left to sew, no need for any of us to feel peer pressure to do one thing or the same thing or ANYthing; the beauty of creating is that we can allow new ideas to take the reins in a way that we can’t always in other parts of our lives. What drew me to sewing and this community to begin with is the way everyone seems to genuinely respect and admire one another, so I hate when I look around and see some of that being chipped away at the edges just a bit. I’d love to allow that trend to peak early and fade on away.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?
Deborah: Well, this is a list that could go on all day. Um, most recently and off the top of my head: I have this thing for acorns (my Master’s thesis was about prehistoric acorn processing, don’t ask), so I loved this:

Deborah loves these Squirrels, by Sian Keegan

That Infinite Variety red-and-white quilt display in New York last summer was out of control cool. I’ve also seen lots of map quilts and map sewing that is really rocking my boat in a good way (like this one) since we have a recurring map thing going on at our house:

Map in progress by Sarah Tucker of Create Studio, Images of finished project here.

I am in love with the Sunny Days mini-quilt and all the folks who have been really branching out with their quilting lines and trying some adventurous stuff lately:

Sunny Days 2 Mini-Quilt by Janet from What Comes Next?

…And something about this scrappy piece by Carrie Strine makes me want to cut teensy tiny pieces of fabric up to make something that will last until my great-grandchildren get married:

Medallion Quilt by Carrie Strine, from the Bloomin’ Workshop Medallion Quilt-Along.

There’s so much more! These are just the ones that are jumping out– Don’t get me started on the smocking trend that’s popping up, or all the folks venturing out into making women’s clothing!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?
Deborah: I love the connectedness I feel with folks whom I have really gotten to know through Twitter and through my blog. I sincerely value those relationships, and have fun sharing bits and pieces of my day and my life through those outlets. I don’t really love that there are SO many outlets from which to choose, I have to say, so I think I’ll probably stick just with the ones I have: my blog, Twitter, Pinterest– the ones that really seem to work for me without making me feel overloaded. It’s that same issue as above, where I think there is some level of “have to” when it comes to social media, and I respect the heck out of folks like Rae who have made a commitment to blog only when they’re ready and not when they feel they must. I love blogging, and like to set a goal to blog every day, but want to meet that out of love and enjoyment rather than obligation.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What do you predict for 2012?
Deborah: I think we’ll for sure see more group projects around the web, like the quilting bees and Flickr projects that have already been popping up. I think we all have lists out our ears of all the amazing things we want to sew, and working with a group offers motivation and inspiration and accountability so that we actually start on, maybe not all, but at least a good number of the ideas we’re itching to try. So, yeah, I think more group work is really likely. I also think we’re poised to really see a LOT more beginners joining the fray– I know it seems like there have been tons of new folks learning to sew for the past few years (woot!) but I predict that we’re not done yet with the spread of sewing, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love, love, love seeing all the new folks who are really on fire to learn and improve their skills. Alongside that, I think we’ll see many more patterns and books aimed at more advanced sewing skills, targeting those folks who have been sewing for a few years now and are ready to take it to the next level; so many of the tutorials and patterns have been written for total beginners, and I think lots of us are ready to see more complex and intricate techniques. Finally, I think we’ll see a lot more garment sewing for women.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Are there any bloggers, authors or designers who you think will be rising stars in 2012?
Deborah: I’m nuts for Ellen Baker— I have the good fortune to know her in person, and she’s such a good egg. Her first fabric collection is coming out in 2012, right behind her first book that came out this year (totally should have mentioned that above!), and I’m really looking forward to it. I like Thomas Knauer, and have been impressed by how strongly people are responding to his first fabric collection (the second one is just as good). And I’m super excited about Alexia Abegg‘s Green Bee Patterns, launching in the spring; she’s got some great ideas and solid sewing chops, and I cant wait to see what she’ll produce.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Can you tell us anything about what to expect from you in 2012? Any projects or life-changing goals you can share?
Deborah: Well, we just bought a mid-century ranch (moved in two days before Christmas!), so I’ll be doing a LOT more home dec sewing, most of it with a really solid mid-century modern vibe, which I’m excited about. I have my second book coming out in August, a follow-up to Stitch by Stitch that’s written for intermediate skills, so I’m thrilled to see that released. And I’m working on finding ways to really focus in 2012 on the things I’m think I’m best at, and that I enjoy the most– My online classes, doing live events like the Live Quilting we did this year, and my blog. I love all of those so much, and am excited to look forward to a new year where I can devote more of my thought and thread to the things I love the best so that I know I’ve invested my time in the things that I can be most proud to send out into the world.