Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Meet the Make It Mine Judges

As our Make It Mine Challenge comes to a close we want to thank our sponsors and introduce our judging panel.

First and foremost I want to thank Art Gallery Fabrics for their generous donation of over $450 worth of gorgeous fabric for the prize packages. I hope everyone that has participated in the challenge has come to love Art Gallery Fabrics as much as I do. The quality is top notch, the colors and prints are stunning, and the company is amazing to work with.

Judge #1
Pat Bravo
Owner (with her husband Walter) of Art Gallery Fabrics
 "I see the world for its beauty and majesty. The intricate, the ornate, the royal... All of this catches my eye. You can say I have soulful eyes." 

My passion for sewing materialized at the age of 9, when I sat down at my mother's sewing machine for the first time. At the age of 13, I joined a sewing school in my native Buenos Aires, learning everything about fabrics, dressmaking, and patterns. For many years I lived in this wonderful world, until it was time to go to college. I decided to study law and sew on the side, but soon realized that this was not my dream. I dropped out and took three years of painting classes and around this time, I met the love of my life, Walter Bravo. Twenty-seven years later, we're still married and have a beautiful son together. He is my friend, my confidant, my everything… and my partner in our company, Art Gallery Fabrics. 

 In 1989, we moved to the United States and I became pregnant with my son, Alex. My life changed radically after the move. Everything was completely new for me: the people, the culture, the food, the city. It was such an intense period of adaption, that for a good amount of time, I had no energy to do the things that I loved and cherished. That all changed when Walter got me my first sewing machine! With that, I immediately came back to life!

I fell in love with quilting, sewing triangles and squares together, eventually teaching myself everything that could be achieved using traditional quilting techniques. Throughout the years, my taste started evolving and I began to cross the bridge towards art quilts. First, I started with landscapes and with time my style became more abstract. I hard a hard time finding color variations in batiks and that's when I decided to paint my own fabrics. I began to see that quilters loved them, and not too long after that, Walter and I founded Art Gallery Fabrics.

I am convinced that everybody is born to do something in life. This is what I was born to do and I am sure that this is what I will do for the rest of my life. 

Judge #2
Bari J. of The Curated Maximalist
Designer of the Anna Elise fabric line.

“Color is of the utmost importance in design.” 

I was born and raised in Chicago, but decided to move to Scottsdale, Arizona with my two teenage daughters: Anna and Emily, and my husband Kevin to stay closer to my family. 

I have been passionate about design for as long as I can remember. As a child, my mother would paint and craft, so it was only a natural progression that I would inherit her love of crafting. I began crafting and creating jewelry, but when I first learned to sew I knew I had found my passion. I was hooked on it. That obsession is what inspired my own handmade handbag business and my first book: Inspired to Sew. 

My style is rather eclectic, and has grown over the years into what you see today. While I love vintage and soft designs, I am constantly drawn to color and bold prints which are very modern, as well as mixing the two for surprising combinations. I don't hold back when it comes to mixing fabric prints and colors. The world around me inspires me…. I look at photos and imagine faraway places. I see a color and that inspires a whole collection. I am a color junkie. 

 It was my love for fabric that got me back into graphic design and specifically textile design. In 2009, I created my first fabric line, Full Bloom. Since then, four additional lines proceeded. Due to their popularity, they were featured in magazines including Accessories, Romantic Homes, Quilts and More, Studios, Belle Armoire, and many more. LillyBelle being my first one with Art Gallery Fabrics.

Judge #3
Caroline Hulse of Sew Caroline
Designer of the Happy Home fabric line.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." -Walt Disney 

Caroline currently resides with her husband and their puppy in Fort Worth, TX. In her free time, Caroline loves to travel, walk her pup and create adventures in her everyday life. 

She grew up in the piney woods of East Texas where a sewing machine was the furthest thing from her mind. She loved being outdoors and most evenings you could find her riding her bike through the neighborhood. She went off to Texas A&M in search of a business degree, but what she found was a husband and a total disinterest in the corporate world. The Christmas after she turned 20 Caroline received a sewing machine as a gift. Her sewing machine sat on a shelf for the better part of two years, until one day she decided to figure out how to work it. She watched YouTube videos, read blogs, and went through a lot of scrap fabrics before she found where to put the bobbin, how to thread the machine, and how to set the tension straight! 

Since then, she’s found her passion in sewing and designing women’s garments. Caroline defines her style an ever-evolving mix of classic feminine romance and modern trends. Seeing a pile of fabric transform into something beautiful to dress herself amazes her every time. 

Judge #4
Jeni Baker of In Color Order
Designer of the Curiosities fabric line.

 “We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry." - E. B.  

White I have been sewing since I was 11, but crafting nearly all my life. From mud pies to friendship bracelets and collages made from magazine clippings, I’ve always felt a strong urge to make things. I taught myself to sew with the help of my mother, who always encouraged craftiness. Throughout high school I sewed tote bags and small projects, but eventually other hobbies took precedence. When I went away to college, I dragged along my trusty sewing machine and sewed off and on when I found time between classes. Finally, I moved into an apartment and made my first quilt. I have been hooked ever since! 

My favorite part of the sewing process is fabric and color selection, I love nothing more than to be surrounded by fabric. It feels natural to be entering into the realm of fabric design with my first fabric collection, Color Me Retro. 

I’m still trying to find my style. One side of me loves clean, minimalist designs with limited colors and patterns. The other side loves patchwork goodness, sweet vintage florals, and an explosion of color. One thing is for certain; I love a bit of whimsy! 

In addition to sewing, my hobbies include photography, baking, and collecting vintage kitchenware and linens. I currently live in Wisconsin with my pet bunny, George.

Judge #5
Chelsea Andersen of Pink Fig Designs
"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul." - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I have not always been creative. Most of my childhood and teenage years were spent on a tennis court. In fact it wasn’t until high school while taking the required art classes that I found I could do more than just swing a racket. I absolutely loved art and to create things from my own design was exhilarating! So, I decided to pursue it a little more in college. While there, I also signed up for a basic sewing class where I learned how to thread a machine, sew a straight stitch, unpick seams, read patterns, and for the final I had to make myself a skirt and top from a pattern of my choice. Despite my efforts, it turned out hideous! The fabric was ugly, it didn’t fit right, and I ended up with a B, barely. I was convinced that sewing with patterns was not my thing. Still, I knew sewing was something I wanted to do, so from then on it was all home dec. I sewed bedding, curtains, and pillows for my own home and then eventually for others. What was meant to be a creative outlet for myself while staying at home with my kids, turned into a nice little side job. I also picked up a second job with a local clothing company doing fix its and alterations until I was eventually made head seamstress. It sounds more glamorous than it really was. I mostly just shipped out supplies to all of the other seamstresses and kept them on task, but I had a chance to work with notions and I learned a ton! 

When my first daughter was born, I decided to give patterns a second chance. I went to the local fabric store and bought all the cutest patterns and fabric I could find and started sewing! I made custom clothes just for her at first, but after relentless persuading from a few good friends I launched my designs into the boutique world taking custom orders from mommies all over the country. It was hard work, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. In 2008 I decided to take it one step further and started my own line of patterns under the name of Pink Fig Design.

A HUGE thank you to Chelsea for the free Miss Milly Apron Dress PDF pattern available on our Facebook group, Whimsical Fabric & Me*This pattern is available to group members until 11:59pm ET tonight, Tuesday, 9/22.

Hurry and grab some Pink Fig PDF patterns for 30% off through 11:59pm MT tonight, Tuesday, 9/22!

Judge #6
Suzanne Winter of Winter Wear Designs
A HUGE thank you to Suzanne for the free Horse Free Motion Applique PDF pattern available on our Facebook group, Whimsical Fabric & Me.  *This pattern is available to group members until 11:59pm ET tonight, Tuesday, 9/22.

Hurry and grab some Winter Wear Designs PDF patterns for 20% off with the coupon code WFsave20
The code is good until 11:59pm ET, tonight, Tuesday, 9/22.

Judge #7
Jessica Stewart of Izzy & Ivy Designs
Hurry and grab some Izzy & Ivy Designs PDF patterns for 20% off with the coupon code MAKEITMINEThe code is good until 11:59pm ET, tonight, Tuesday, 9/22.

Judge #8
Alicia Miller of Swoon Patterns
Hurry and grab some Swoon PDF patterns for 20% off with the coupon code whimsical
The code is good until 11:59pm ET, tonight, Tuesday, 9/22.

And finally, you can still save 15% off at Whimsical Fabric on all Anna Elise, Curiosities, and Happy Home fabrics(and coordinates) by Art Gallery Fabrics. Also save 15% off all paper and PDF patterns. No code needed, prices are already reduced.This offer ends at 11:59pm MT, tonight, Tuesday, 9/22.

Don't forget that all Make It Mine entries are due tonight, Tuesday, 9/22 at 11:59pm PT.  Please email your pictures along with your order number(s) for the fabrics used to us at   whimsical.fabric@yahoo.com    Thanks!

Happy Creating!
Danielle Storm 

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