Pellon®: Where do you find inspiration?
Jessica VanDenburgh: I find my inspiration everywhere from magazines, to the internet, to the fabric itself. I am addicted to Pinterest and Instagram so I am always inspired by what other quilters and bag makers are doing. Sometimes the fabric will just “speak” to me and I know what it needs to be turned into. I always have a sketchbook or notepad on hand to doodle or jot down any thoughts I might have for a project. I once took a picture of floor tiles that I thought would make a great quilt!
P: What does your process entail?
JV: It always starts with a sketch whether it be on graph paper or just a scribble on a napkin. I usually revise the sketch several times until I’m happy and then it’s off to the sewing machine. Sometimes things come out exactly as I imagine and other times, not so much! I just keep playing until it looks the way I want it to. Mistakes are just new projects waiting to be made!
P: Why do you enjoy sewing/crafting?
JV: Sewing always reminds me of my grandmother. It keeps her memory alive for me. It’s also my therapy. Nothing is more relaxing than sitting in front my sewing machine with the TV on quietly in the background. It keeps me sane! There is such a satisfaction in making something exactly the way I want, in the colors & fabrics I like.
P: Do you create for satisfaction, gifts, etc…?
JV: I create for all those reasons. When I first started my business I created custom bags for other people. I also love to make baby quilts for friends and family. It’s very rewarding to see someone carrying a bag or using a quilt that you made. It also gives me satisfaction when I see something finished that I had dreamed up in my head. Mostly I create for the fun of it! I love fabric!!
P: What tips & tricks have you learned?
JV: Whenever I am teaching a class and a student asks me “would you redo this?” my answer is simple: “will it bother YOU if you don’t?” The only person who should judge your work is you. Don’t try to keep up with everyone else, work at your own pace. A very important tip I learned the hard way is that fusible products plus a hot iron equal one sticky mess! I always put my fabric on top and iron with the fusible on the bottom. Ironing pad covers are much cheaper to replace than irons. And be sure to pin. Pinning can be tedious sometimes but the end result is worth it.
P: When and why did you start crafting?
JV: I can’t remember a time in my life that I didn’t do something crafty. As a child I made cornhusk dolls, friendship bracelets and woven potholders. I have tried every craft from jewelry making, to knitting (unsuccessfully I might add), to garment sewing until I found what I loved the most which was quilting & bag making. I grew up in a creative household so I think it’s just in my nature to be crafty.
P: What inspires you to start a project?
JV: Sometimes the need itself inspires me – maybe I need a new bag or a quilt for my house. Other times it’s because I see something that I like and want to figure out my own way to make it.
You can never have enough tote bags. They are handy to have around for work, grocery shopping or a weekend road trip. This oversized, sturdy tote is the perfect way to show off some great fabrics while you are running errands. Fabrics used for samples were Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets, Alison Glass Sunprint Feathers, and Textured Solids, all from Andover Fabrics.Read more