Our next Brand Ambassador for 2021 is the incredible Tara Sinclair. Her love of fabric and crafting is infectious and we're so excited to have her on board. Learn more about Tara's journey here and make sure to follow her and her Michael Miller projects.
In 2014 I took a beginner quilting class for myself. I was so caught up in being stepmom and working that I needed to find an outlet for myself. I registered for a class, bought a simple sewing machine and fabric, and completed my first quilt in 2 months. I am still exceptionally proud of the quilts I have made to date, but when they started taking months, I looked for little kits to try. I made my first bag from a kit using jelly roll strips, a button on the front and no hardware, which spurred me on to more and more. I have never turned back!
I started taking on the odd custom bag request, but rather preferred making my own versions of patterns I found. Combining unique fabrics, learning different stabilizers and interfacings, and sharing in a community of people eager for knowledge and eye-candy, spurred me on to try more and more projects. It wasn’t long before a bag pattern designer reached out to me to help test her pattern before it was released publicly. I jumped at this amazing opportunity! In my day job, one of the items I do regularly is software testing and documentation, so the pattern testing process was something that came naturally to me. This led to many more pattern designers also requesting my help which introduced me to so many new techniques and pattern styles. I started sharing creations on a weekly basis, which was the birth of UhOh Creations. Bright fabrics, and new patterns were the soul of my new Facebook Page as I created bag after bag (my husband is still hoping I will find new homes for them all).
As I started to get to know my quilting community locally and gained experience with bag patterns, I became the local bag-lady (never meant in a mean or negative way). I loved sharing my experience and knowledge with anyone who had questions and Tracy from Purple KATZ Quilting (my local quilt shop) invited to me to do that at her upcoming retreat. I had never attended a retreat before, so had no clue what to expect – and wow was it incredible! At that retreat I taught 38 women how to make the Emmaline Bags Retreat Bag with zipper and frames. All 38 finished their bags successfully and had a great time in the process! Since then, I have shared my bag making experience openly through Facebook, in-person classes and trunk shows for guilds, introducing garment sewers and quilters to the unique world of Bagineering.
Because of my pattern testing and social sharing, I was publicized on a blog for Andrie Designers in a “Meet the Maker” series. I was also lucky enough to have bags displayed at Houston Quilt Market in 2018 to showcase new patterns and fabric lines being released that year. I also collaborated with a talented pattern designer to create the Charlie Holster Bag – my very first pattern! I could never have done it without help, but I got the pattern making bug. The following year, in 2019 I got the kick in the butt that I needed to launch my website and new patterns with a brand-new fabric line being released by a friend of mine. I even got to see Houston Quilt Market myself with my bag patterns featured in that new fabric. What an experience! That was also the year that I co-hosted the Great Alberta Bagineer Getaway – a retreat for 40 bagineers in Calgary, AB. What an incredible experience! In 2020 I was even invited to be a designer with the Bag of the Month Club, which was an incredible honor as I’ve always been a club member and loved every minute of the community and unique designs.
As I learned to sew, I dabbled in some stretchy fabrics for garments, and of course upgraded my sewing machine to play with embroidery. I also invested in an industrial machine to create leather bags and make unique items like the blacksmithing apron for my brother-in-law and sew patches on leather vests for our anti-bullying biker organizations. And with the inspiring quilt designs out there, I’ve come back to my sewing origin by working on a number of bright and vibrant quilts. I also have just learned about diamond dot painting over my recent holidays and how relaxing a project like that can be as I let the creativity percolate.
I currently have an incredibly talented group of testers that I work with on my pattern designs and continue to pattern test for designers that I consider good friends. I do plan to continue to host retreats (once public gatherings are allowed again of course) and continue to share my experiences and knowledge through my website, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Hopefully, I will be able to continue teaching quilters and sewists as I share future designs.
Be Sure to follow her with the links below to see all the Michael Miller fun she'll be sharing!