Friday, January 21, 2022

Brand Ambassador Intro- Mariana Diaz

Our next 2022 Brand Ambassador is the incredibly talented Mariana Diaz. Her modern designs take colorful fabrics and bring them to life! Her mission is to provide tools to make quilting as painless and fun as possible and we are very excited to have her as part of the Michael Miller family! Read all about her and her sewing journey below.


Hello everyone! I’m Mariana, a graphic designer based in Georgia who loves Autumn, travel, photography and cannot function without a daily dose of coffee.

I started quilting a few years ago, when my sister had to go to many chemo sessions. Those places are cold! I decided I wanted to make her something special that would keep her warm.

Finding the perfect pattern proved impossible so, having worked design my whole life, I decided to dig in and think up a quilt for her myself.

That’s how it all started.

Well, that’s how quilting started. As for SewMariana, that came with my daughter heading off to college in 2018. I designed and put together a quilt to ensure she had a piece of home in those scary dorms. That pattern is probably my most popular to date, the first I sold, and the original prototype sitting on my daughter’s bed is undoubtedly the most-used quilt I’ve made. I also started writing tutorials on my blog, so you can take a look and you might find something new to learn.

As a self-taught quilter who relied on a combination of Youtube and trial & error to polish my technique, I know exactly how difficult and frustrating it can be to understand all the lingo, let alone how to achieve that perfect ¼” seam everyone talks about. My mission is to provide tools to make quilting as painless and fun as possible. My hope is to prove through my example that if you put time, effort, and heart into something, you WILL get results.

In case you’re curious, here is my studio, where all the magic happens! It is a weird space, but after bumping my head more times than I can count, I’ve made it work for me. 

Since I’m a visual learner, I create my patterns with lots of graphics and step by step diagrams that make it easy to follow along. Essentially, my process is this:

An idea becomes some shapes on Illustrator. The simplest version is chosen and printed, then the testing process begins! I use scraps or precuts I don’t love to help ease the fear of mistakes and bulldoze through what a block would look like, taking notes along the way. This involves a lot of deconstruction and a tireless search for the most efficient avenue. Then it’s back to the computer! With the data gathered thus far, I start making the graphics, detailing cutting and assembly, and doing all the math that goes into having precise measurements. At this point, it’s time to transition to InDesign to establish the pattern layout. Digital version is done first and used to create the first full quilt. I make adjustments as I go along, then send the updated file to a technical editor and a couple testers. At the same time, the quilt top is shipped to a longarmer for quilting, and I start a second quilt, usually with the goal of having a version with prints and another with solids. Once I’ve received feedback from my editor and testers, as well as the quilt top from the longarmer, all that’s left is to update the pattern accordingly, take the cover photo and voila! The pattern is ready for the world! Usually the printed version comes a couple of weeks later to allow reformatting time and printing. Then, it’s just rinse and repeat.

Apart from designing quilt patterns, I work as a freelance graphic designer, love traveling to new places and visiting old favorites alike, I have a passion for photography, and enjoy cycling outdoors (but would rather spend the day with my seam ripper than drag myself to the gym).

Ah and of course, here are my people. 

They look perfectly calm in the picture but don’t let that fool you. These “kids” seem to have their own language of crazy, they’re all taller than me (rude!), and my husband only encourages the chaos, making the household a worthy challenge to my type A personality.

I love them more than coffee.

So that’s me! Caffeine, a pack of rowdy quilt-holders, and gritty perfectionism, all packed into the making of something meant to keep loved ones warm. You’ll see me around, I’m sure, but always feel free to reach out and chat.

Be sure to follow Mariana with the links below to see all the Michael Miller fun she'll be sharing!

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