Friday, January 5, 2018

Behind the Seams with Axelle Valentin!

Today, on Making It Fun, we're going Behind the Seams with our new licensed designer...
*photo credit: Sophie Masiewicz 
*photo credit: Sophie Masiewicz
Axelle Valentin
Location: Nantes (west of France, 1 hour and a half from Noirmoutier's Island!) 
I am 39 years old, married (since 10 years this July ;)) and have two kids: a boy 9 years old and a girl nearly 7 years old. I've decided to work from home to become full time a surface pattern designer and to raise my kids. 

Q: What's your favorite piece of work that you have created, your favorite project or your favorite part of the work day?
A: One of my favorite piece of work I was really proud of is my painting for the anniversary of cinema, made when I was 17 years old for a national contest. It has been exposed during one month in the "Cinematheque" inside the Palaisi Chaillot in Paris just in front of the Eiffel Tower. Now I've offered it to my son for his bedroom.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am preparing new autumn-winter patterns collection for Premiere Vision Design trade show in Paris, where fashion brands will come from every country. And I am thinking of a few new stationary products for local Christmas markets.
*Axelle in her studio *photo credit Helene Petit Village
Q: What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
A: I wish I could create all my life long, as I do not even know if it will be enough to draw all my ideas!
When my kids leave home, I wish I could organise creative workshops with nice tea times and home made cakes... Meanwhile, I would like to learn always new techniques, meet other designers and follow some summer courses at Saint Martin School in London...
*Axelle creating in Proce park *photo credit: Sophie Masiewicz
Q: What are you doing when you're not creating or at work? What hobbies do you have?
A: I am fond of cooking, especially pastry... even at the London College of Printing, my personal project was a recipe book...
And I try to swim and run once a week to keep healthy mind in a healthy body... and it's always when I am outside that I find new ideas!

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: My godfather gave me a second name "Fleur" which means flower in English... and honestly flowers are what I love the most to draw, funny isn't it?

Q: Do you have any favorite blogs/magazines/IG feeds that you follow or read? 
A: I love the fresh but also stylish IG of my friend Helene (who came home to take pictures of me yesterday especially for you!) helene petit village
And since I've signed with MMF, I enjoy reading inspiring posts from Sarah Jane Studios.

Q:  Where else can we find you? 

Q:  What else should we know about you and your work?
A: Both of my parents like to paint, and the colorful portrait on my office table has been painted by my dad! 

*photo credit Helene Petit Village
In my childhood, my really first drawings were flowers and rainbows... and the funny thing is that they were already repeated!! Later, I've taken a few classes on Wednesday afternoons: drawing, painting, sculpture and later on silver jewelry when I was in London. Also, I've been a member of a photo club for a few years to be able to get my own black & white pictures when I was living in Paris and start using colors only when I've decided to change my way of life and arrived in Nantes! I've learned Illustrator at the London College of Printing where I spent a lot of time in charity shops and flea markets to find vintage clothes with nice patterns.
*photo credit: Sophie Masiewicz

When a friend of mine, Domitille, taught me how to sew, I did not find in the shops the the fabrics I've had in my head, so I've decided to create them...

My main inspiration is nature, which I like to stylize to get fine lines and add colors from my own.

Q: Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? 
A: For style, do really what you love. .. It's often the designs I've done for myself or presents for friends which has been sold first!

For those who wish to learn how to create patterns, it's really useful to take some classes on Illustrator or Photoshop (some are free online), you will save precious time!!

Q: Do you admire any artists / people? (famous or not!) 
A: In my town, I've met these two artists who are as nice people as talented artists: Izumi Idoia for her Japanese style and so delicate paintings and Dominique Le Bagousse and his funny little bears.

Q: What is your favorite....
Color: green
Animal: birds as they can fly
Season: I would say summer even if I like a lot of spring as well for the flowers...
Movie:"The Party" with Peter Sellers, which I find so funny and original.
Book: "Grain d'aile" my first book of Paul Eduard with the wonderful watercolors of Jacqueline Duhême, the story of a little girl who wished to fly...
Vacation Spot: Noirmoutier, a lovely island where I like to camp with my family to get closer to nature and do a digital detox ;-)


Food: the Nantes' cake, the original pastry of my town, with almonds, which was really rich in rum to be kept during days for sailors on boats. I've even create a poster for my relatives as they always ask me for the recipe
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Axelle's debut line with Michael Miller will hit stores in February! Here's a sneak peek of Strawberry Tea...
If you'd like to win a fat 1/4 bundle of Strawberry Tea before it arrives in stores, just comment and let us know what you'd make! 

One lucky winner will be randomly chosen on January 12th at 4pm est. Check back to see if you've won! 
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Behind the Seams with Michael Miller Fabrics!

Today, on Making It Fun, we're going Behind the Seams...
Dagbjört Linda Sigurðardóttir

My very long and difficult to pronounce name is Dagbjört Linda Sigurðardóttir (you can copy and paste it into Google Translate, choose Icelandic and hit the microphone to hear it.) I'm from Iceland but now I live in Norway. My husband got a job offer here and we decided to give it a try for a couple years and suddenly 16 years have gone by and we are still here. Before that we lived and studied in Seattle, Washington, and back then I was very happy to have my middle name. I am an optician by trade and worked in that field until a little over a year and a half ago when I switched jobs and now I work for an ophthalmologist. I love my job and I have wonderful colleagues but work and life can be stressful at times and that makes me love my sewing time in the evenings so much. I can't remember when I started a profile on patterntesters, I believe it was called, never really finished it though. When I received an email that they were making changes and it would be Sewing Portfolios from now on I was intrigued and followed the link in the email and started my new profile. I haven't added all my previous sewing to my portfolio but I add all my new makes to it. As I see it all I can do is gain from it, costs nothing - I have a diary of my sewing - somebody might notice and like my work. Like getting a chance to be a Sewing Portfolios Ambassador and play with some gorgeous fabric.
*looks feature In Bloom Collection
Q: What's your favorite piece of work that you have created, your favorite project or your favorite part of the work day?
A: I would for sure say that my favorite part of the day is my sewing time in the evenings. Don't get me wrong I love spending time with my kids too but you moms out there know what I mean! When I first started sewing about five years ago my only plan was to make some cute little skirts with elastic waistbands for my youngest daughter who was almost a year old. I was hooked on Pinterest at the time and found a tutorial and made her two skirts. After I washed them for the first time the inside was a total mess and I remember that we learned in school that you should zigzag your edges on woven fabric. This then led me in the direction of sewing blogs and the rest is history, I now have a fabric/pdf pattern/sewing addiction! But starting out with this simple goal of little skirts makes my favorite pieces the three outerwear garments I made for myself and love to wear. The bomber jacket, the cocoon coat and the blazer. These patterns I tested for Wardrobe By Me and with all of them at first I thought jeez what have I gotten myself into, I can't do this! But slowly and carefully with the trusted seam ripper by my side I got them done and I loved seeing them come together bit by bit and I wear them with pride.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: At the moment we are doing a bit of work at our house. My youngest two who share a room are now staying in my sewing room as we make the new room. While we are getting that done all I can do is swoon over the gorgeous makes everybody else is posting.
*Dagbjört next to her sewing machine in her sewing room/kid's room
Q: What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?
A: I can't say I have any specific goals, I love my life as it is. All I want is to see my kids happy and grow up to become good adults. Oh and of course keep on learning sewing techniques and grow my fabric and pattern stash.

Q: What are you doing when you're not creating or at work? What hobbies do you have?
A: After work and dealing with housework, homework and after school activities sewing is the only hobby I have time for. My husband is away for work a lot so most of the time I'm doing everything that needs to be done at home myself.

Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A: Maybe that we have two older kids. On the blog and Instagram you just see me and my two youngest. Our older kids are 21 and 18, I have sewn a couple things for them as well but they refuse to be photographed and shown to the world.

Q: Do you have any favorite blogs/magazines/IG feeds that you follow or read? 
A: I am ashamed to say that I don't spend as much time as I did browsing through the blogs I have saved in my Bloglovin' list. But I love Sewing Like Mad for tips and tricks. My Instagram is pretty much all sewing related and it's full of amazingly talented ladies and a couple of gents. I simply can't choose a favorite.

Q:  Where else can we find you? 
A: I blog here: bydagbjort and my Instagram is @bydagbjort

Q:  What else should we know about you and your work?
A: I don't think there is much more to me really. I'm a bit of an introvert I have a few but very good friends that I love to be with. A good night at home with friends and or family chatting about everything and nothing, a nice meal and some wine and I'm very happy.

Q: Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? 
A: Not all your projects will turn out as great as you thought in the beginning but don't be afraid to try again cause practice makes perfect!

Q: Do you admire any artists / people? (famous or not!) 
A: Can't really say that I do. I admire good honest people that treat others with respect and kindness, pretty corny perhaps. I don't like idolization and I never remember names anyway.

Q: What is your favorite....
Color: All the variations of blue and lately pink too.
Animal: Well we have a dog and a cat.
Season: Summer!
Movie: A good romantic comedy like the Bridget Jones movies
Book: So totally different from my movie taste, I love crime novelles f. eks. by Jo Nesbø a Norwegian author.
Vacation Spot:The Greek islands, we once stayed in Skiathos and what an amazingly beautiful place.
Food:Spicy Indian food.
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As an ambassador for Sewing Portfolios, Dagbjört created the looks below using In Bloom by Sandra Clemons (in stores now!)
Click HERE to read more about them! 

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Project Dovetail~ a licensed collaboration & "sew" much more!

Quilt Market Re-cap :: Part 1
We're back from International Quilt Market and I can finally share our news! We've been working with our licensed designers to create a collaborative collection...
https://www.michaelmillerfabrics.com/shop/collections/project-dovetail.html
Each of our amazing licensed designers created one design in two colorways...

Lily Ashbury :: Kayla (Peony & Haze)
Sarah Campbell :: Butterfly Blossoms (Cloud & Grass)
Sandra Clemons :: Bowtie Bunny (Flower & Wisteria)
Susan Emory :: Corsage (Water & Shell)
Laura Gunn :: Mini Grid (Fog & Moss)
Sandi Henderson :: Pomegranate Seeds (Blossom & Lilac)
Emily Herrick :: Sea Star (Ocean & Meadow)
Sarah Jane :: Nature Walk (Aqua & Peach)
Tamara Kate :: Tall Grass (Herb & Blush)
Betsy Siber :: Allium (Petal & Cotton Ball)
Patty Sloniger :: Birch Forest Too (Twilight & Mist)
Axelle Valentin :: Herbal Tea (Coral & Blackberry)


The backstory of our Quilt Market booth
 
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, we were all so worried about the city and the people that host Quilt Market every year... we watched the news as Houston residents streamed into the George R. Brown Convention Center seeking shelter. As we're sure you can relate, we wondered how we could help. Quilts! Of course, we can send quilts! We reconfigured our plan for the booth and created a working sewing studio. With sewing machines donated by Janome and thread provided by Aurifil, together with you, our sewing community, we made blocks out of Project Dovetail. We're going to use these blocks to sew quilts which we'll donate to Quilts of Compassion. 
Janome Sewing Machine M7200



We knew that a lot of you would be busy with appointments at the show so we sent attendees home with a bundle of fabric so they can mail blocks from home. If you're interested in participating, we will be accepting blocks until March 1st, 2018. The blocks must be 8.5" x 8.5" unfinished and made from our Project Dovetail fabrics. The collection will start shipping to stores in January so keep an eye out or contact your local quilt shop to see if they've ordered the collection. 

Please feel free to include the following Cotton Couture colors as well-
Metal, Pewter, Nickel, Hyacinth, Lilac, Opal, Jewel, Berry, Rose, Teal, Ocean, Spa, Loden, Avocado, Grass, Lipstick, Geranium, Blush 

We have lots of inspiration for Project Dovetail quilts... here are a few...
 Supernova Quilt designed by Lee Heinrich (of Freshly Pieced) and pieced & quilted by Tamara Kate
Hexies made by yours truly... just for fun!
Mapleton Avenue by Sassafras Lane

We'll be back next week with more Quilt Market fun!
xo,
Kait