WPT Quilt Expo – Fabric Designer and Quilt Artist Jane Sassaman

Our Nancy’s Corner segment
once again goes on location to the Quilt Expo in
Madison, Wisconsin, to give you a preview into
how fabric is designed. With me today
is Jane Sassaman, award-winning quilter and
fabric designer with bold, beautiful color. Welcome, Jane, to our
segment of Sewing With Nancy. Thank you, Nancy. Now, you are known for, as
I mentioned, color, design. It’s got a lot of impact. Tell our viewers
what you told me about what someone classified
your workmanship as. Well, actually, it
was my brother-in-law. And he said, “Jane’s work is William Morris
on antidepressants.” [LAUGHTER] Well, it’s beautiful work. Well, I think it
was a compliment. I think it was too, and I
think what we’d like to share with our viewers is
how you go about, the process of
designing fabrics. And you brought along some
illustrations that show where you begin. Well, I’m a nature girl,
so everything starts there. And very often it’s something
I have growing in my own yard. And I love Millefleur prints. And so, for this
particular design, I just started
drawing characters of favorite flowers. And then I actually
cut them all apart and arranged them
into a repeatable design. So what you see from the
black and white now is in your repeatable design. Right. And here. And then I can scan it
into the computer and start working with color. And with a line of fabric, for me anyway, it’s usually three different
color ways that sometimes talk
to each other because they have some of the
same colors in each color way. And then when you send the
fabric art to the manufacturer, you choose the colors
and where it goes. And we have to have big blocks
of color, at least 2″, so they scan and match the color. And it really is amazing when
you get your strike-offs back that they are so good at picking these odd kind
of greens, for example, but they can really match them up. A beautiful arrangement
of 12 colors here that make this fabric just pop. Mm-hmm. What is your most
challenging part, Jane, of designing fabrics? Well, I think these days it’s that I have to do
two lines a year. Ah. So that just means
I’m designing all the time, and so scheduling
can be difficult because one line just came out, so I have to show people
what’s made with that. I’m designing another line
at the same time and getting strike-offs from
another line all together. So keeping that straight is not
necessarily an easy thing to do. Now, strike-offs,
to our viewers, means the preliminary fabric. The first round
that really isn’t for sale. It’s maybe on fabric that’s
not quite as up to par. Right, and it’s usually
hand screened. So that’s where you check your
lines and your colors and your bleed and all of that and give it the thumbs up
or the thumbs down. Now, a quilt that you have
made with this fabric that you designed,
our viewers can see now. It’s a lovely combination. You really do– a lot of times I
noticed in your work– you have blocks on point
and some simple styling, but, wow, what impact it has. The fabric does the work. The piecing is
very, very simple, and that’s one
thing I’ve learned. The bigger the print, the
bigger the pieces you cut out. You just let the fabric
do the work for you. It would be a shame to
cut this into little pieces. Well, I totally agree, and
that’s why I promote making shower curtains and
duvet covers and pillowcases and all of that. Things beyond quilting. I think it has a
bigger life than that. Well, keep up the work. I know it maybe seems like a
treadmill, but as a consumer, I appreciate your
work and admire you. Well, thankfully
I actually enjoy every minute of it,
so thank you very much. And it shows.
Thank you, Jane.
Thank you. ¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶¶ Remember that you can
rewatch this episode of Sewing with Nancy and many seasons worth of programming at
NancyZieman.com. While you’re at the site, click to read my blogs or join me on various
social media platforms. Thanks for joining me. Bye for now. Donna Fenske has written
the book “Cuddle Buddies:
Hat and Scarves” which is used as the reference
for this one-part program. The book includes
full-size applique patterns It’s $12.99,
plus shipping and handling. To order the book call
1-800-336-8373 or visit our website at
sewingwithnancy.com/2926. Order item number: SWNCB Cuddle Buddies:
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with Nancy Zieman has been
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is a co-production of Nancy Zieman Productions
and Wisconsin Public Television.

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