February Featured Sewist: Tabitha Sorensen

This month's featured sewist is Tabitha Sorensen. Tabitha has been the biggest supporter of me opening a combo quilt shop & urgent care for crafting accidents. She is the one and only customer I have refused a sale to when she wanted to purchase the scalpel seam ripper citing it was just too dangerous in her hands! lol

~What types of things do you sew?

Most of my sewing time is spent doing hand embroidery- I always have a project going and kept right next to my spot on the couch.  I took one of the first classes Angie offered in embroidery and just fell in love with how creative it allows me to be.  I like to say, “It’s the coloring book of hand sewing.”  I can mix colors and stitches to make unique art.  I also have cross stitch projects I am always working on.  For the sewing machine, I like to work on quilts, pillows, and wall hangings. I like to call myself a flat quilter, I’ve tried the bags, the stuffed animals, and the hats, but I find flat is best.  Paper piecing is my favorite mode of quilting.  I recently started to combine my hand embroidery with quilting to make unique wall hangings.

Paper Pieced Pillow Top

~When did you first begin sewing?

I always remember working on projects as I was growing up.  My first sewing projects were stamped cross stitch kits.  Along the way I did try different projects of sewing pillows and stuffed toys with my mom helping me with the sewing machine.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college in 2000 that I bought my own sewing machine and started making some quilts, well the same quilt pattern a few times for gifts to friends and family.  I then took time off from that when I had my three children.  My oldest became involved with theatre and when asked who owned a sewing machine, I raised my hand. I then spent a few years making costumes for children’s theatre.  Making clothes is not my go to, but it did increase my interest in learning to sew with my machine and start creating again.  And honestly, it was with the opening of Stitch, and seeing all the cool fabrics and patterns out there, that got me wanting to try new things.  On my first visit, I bought the Big Foot quilt Legendary pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. I was determined to learn to quilt and make this for my then 12-year old son. Well, it’s still a work in progress. I am determined to get it done this month, a great way to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Stitch! From taking the classes, I learned that I just love paper piecing and hand embroidery.  Now there is just not enough time in the day to get all the things done that I want to create.

Legendary by Elizabeth Harman

Edit: She finished the quilt top and is in the process of gathering backing to get it completed! Woot!

~What was your inspiration to learn sewing?

My mom.  When I was little, I always remember her working on different crafts: cross stitch, knitting, crotchet, and sewing clothes for me, my sister, and our dolls.  Seeing her always creating and making things for us made me want to do the same

~Do you have a favorite designer of patterns, fabrics, etc.? If not, what general themes or colors do you typically gravitate toward?

Everyone that knows me knows I like bright colors.  Yellow is my go-to color.  Right now, I am working on a block of the month quilt using fabrics by Kaffe Fassett- I look forward to working with the bright colors and patterns that he has created.  I can’t wait to see what I have created by the end of the year

Kaffe Blocks

~Tell us a little about the project you are most proud of or your favorite.

I have two, both of which I created last year, one as a gift and another as my entry into a Stitch contest.  I made a quilt for my daughter’s theatre teacher at Morgantown High School.  When Ms. Barns announced that the spring musical would be 9to5, Angie announced that Stitch would be getting the 9to5 fabric line that very same day. It was fate, I just had to make Ms. Barnes a quilt. I loved the colors and patterns in the fabric line but could not find a pattern that I like.  So, I bought the 9to5 fabric panel, cut the images apart, and then just created the quilt by sewing pieces together until I got what I thought was an awesome quilt.  My daughter and her friends were excited to present it to Ms. Barns at their end of the year ceremony for theatre.

9to5 Quilt

 The second is the wall hanging that I created for the contest that Angie had at Stitch- to create something out of a fabric panel for face masks.  I started by making small paper pieced quilt blocks and crumb pieced blocks, but could not figure out what to make with them. 

Crumb Pieced Blocks

But then I had the idea to have them as a border around a hand embroidery project.  While looking online I found a cool skull image, so I copied that and embroidered it on some fabric, then made labels for the bones of the skull, put it all together, and got something I really enjoyed making and that looked great too.

Mask Panel Contest Piece

~What is the one sewing tool (besides your machine or hands) that you would hate to be without?

Stick n’ Stitch by Sulky- this paper is great.  It allows you to make your own embroidery patterns.  I can print anything from the computer and then it becomes a big sticker that I put on the fabric.  You stitch right through it and, when you are done, it washes away in water.  No lines are left on the fabric, so if you don’t follow the pattern exactly, it’s not there on your finished project.  This allows me to change things up as I go along.  Anything that can be printed or copied works- so many options.


~Do you have a tip or trick that you would like to share with everyone?

Directional fabric- oh the stress.  When starting a project, I always tell myself, “No directional fabric,” but it always happens.  I just have to have that one fabric that can only be used in one direction.  So always buy extra, beyond what the pattern calls for in this case.  As a beginner quilter, I have made the mistake of cutting out all my fabric pieces stated in the pattern only to then realize the fabric pattern is in the wrong direction! I have learned when using directional fabric, not to just cut the fabric before piecing.  I will cut from that fabric as I actual place the pieces together so as to make sure the direction is correct.  Always remember to double check the direction after sewing those pieces- best to catch it early if a mistake is made.  Then again, there are times I use directional fabric and I just let the pattern be in random directions.  Just something to be aware of when picking fabric for a pattern.