I run, I craft, I write, and I make your favorite clothes.

I have written books about sewing for children and adults and I'm the indie designer’s patternmaking secret weapon. I've taught video and in-person classes to anyone who would listen since 2008. I believe that sewing clothes is a radical act of self-love that increases your sense of self-worth. I'm basically your sewing fairy godmother.

You know that special spark you feel when you meet a kindred spirit?  There’s electricity when such souls connect. At Quilt Market in Kansas City last Spring, those synchronicity sparks were flying around Carrie Bloomston’s SUCH Designs display.  I loved all Carrie’s work, especially her finger puppet sets and her Mandala Yoga Mat (Good Karma Quilt).  I loved that she used fabrics from the gorgeous Marcia Derse lines, which not enough people know about, in my opinion.

Kansas City 2012 was my accidental Anti-Marketing Conference Trip.  I went to simply enjoy the Quilt Market Atmosphere and see my little Goodship Dresses on display.  I forgot my business cards at home. Rae and I met loads of people, reconnected with old friends, and had a blast.  Naturally, I was surprised and delighted (blown away, really) when I received an email from Carrie that she was designing her OWN LINE for Windham Fabrics and wanted me to make her a dress to wear from her own fabric.  COLLAGE is fascinating, unique and so, so fun.

The result of back and forth emails about styles, inspirations, and ideas led to Carrie’s Rock and Roll Princess Dress:


A knee-length strapless dress, with boning, a side zipper, and shirring in back, the dress features Carrie’s beautiful Bird Dot fabric in Ivory and some sweet pink cotton trim. In fact, when Carrie wore it to Anthropologie to style the outfit for her photo shoot, the sales people thought the dress came from their store.  I guess that means we hit the Anthro-vibe nail on the head?

I loved working with this fabric.  It washes into a soft and gorgeous feel, and presses nicely.  Quilting cotton is notoriously crisp and wrinkly, but I’m telling you, if you pull it out of the dryer right away, you can wear it without bothering to iron.

She designed her fabric with such love and care; I was compelled to give her garment the same love in the details:

Carrie is a force for good in the universe.  I cried when I read the mail she sent the designers revealing that she had truly achieved her mission to enable the inner artist:

“My whole life I have been the artist–even my brand is about enabling the inner-artist for others. But, this is different. In designing fabric, I have become…the PAINT.”

Dear Carrie, you truly have become a medium through which garment and accessory and textile goods designers can express ourselves!

I loved the entire line, so I requested some fabrics to use in my menswear for the latest Kentucky Derby Fashion Party (last weekend here in Northville). Janna was kind enough to rush over some unedited photos of the darling Michael Pack in his Bauhaus Red dress shirt:
I bound the unlined Jacket seams with bias strips of the same print:
Pack in COLLAGE2

I love designing menswear with unexpected details. This outfit was a huge hit at the event. That little peek of collar in the stunning red really pulls a fashion punch in an otherwise traditional outfit:
Pack in linen closeup

I loved the selvedges so much that I used them as interior design details:
Pack Shirt selvedge detail

And I couldn’t resist playing with some of the not-quite-solids in the collection. I used the Charcoal for the inside cuffs, sleeve plackets, and the inside yoke of the shirt:
inside PackShirtyoke inside PackShirt

So, you see, quilting cotton CAN be used in garment sewing; and is practical, comfortable, and surprising.

If you’ve been following along with the Collage series, you know there’s a special opportunity for you to get your hands on some of Carrie’s fabric. Windham is offering a Layer Cake to a lucky winner from each stop on the blog tour. 

If you would like to enter, leave a comment here, telling me about your experiences sewing garments with quilting cotton.


The collection is just now hitting the road with the Windham reps and it will ship to stores July 1st. So Carrie needs your help. Please forward these posts to your favorite online and brick & mortar retailers. Let them know about the line and tell them to order it for their store!

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Leave a Comment

  • Gill April 22, 2013, 1:50 pm

    I love the dress and the guy’s shirt!
    I haven’t made anything for me from quilting cotton bit I have made a couple of dresses for my nieces! I’d love a tunic for myself from the Collage line!

  • Lisa Staley April 22, 2013, 1:55 pm

    The most I’ve used quilting cotton for is making simple skirts for my niece. They’ve been fine as far as I can tell.

  • Stephanie April 22, 2013, 2:25 pm

    The thing I love about using quilting cottons on kid clothes is that they get softer with each wash….who doesn’t love that?!

    Amazing construction, fit, and use of color. Brilliant!

  • katherine mcneese April 22, 2013, 2:48 pm

    Unless it’s a quilted item I don’t like sewing with quilt fabrics: too many wrinkles!
    which is too bad because the prints are great!

  • Lesley April 22, 2013, 2:52 pm

    I made matching dresses for my daughter and her best friend. They love to wear them together!

  • Cecilia April 22, 2013, 3:44 pm

    I’ve made a few dresses for my three granddaughters and I like the way they looked. The only problem is that my daughters don’t have a lot of time to iron. I do love the dress you made, especially the classic lines. Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway.

  • Lara April 22, 2013, 3:51 pm

    I haven’t made clothing with quilting cotton but from my experiences with trying to sew any clothing it would be difficult. :)

  • Sarah April 22, 2013, 4:26 pm

    I will sometimes make simple skirts for myself out of quilting cotton. I am a quilter so it’s very easy for me to sew with quilting cotton. As far as wrinkles, I always take these items out of the dryer as soon as it stops and hang it up to avoid having to iron.

  • Amy April 22, 2013, 4:26 pm

    I’ve made clothing for my daughter and myself with quilting cotton. I think good quality quilting cotton works well as a substitute for broadcloth. LOVE the collage fabrics!!

  • Jess Abbott April 22, 2013, 5:00 pm

    Everything about this post is amazing Karen. The anthro-vibed dress, the incredible men’s shirt – the jacket, my goodness – all of the details. I am simply blown away. So very, very well done!

  • Veronica April 22, 2013, 5:02 pm

    Until recently, I sewed my daughter’s clothes exclusively with quilting cotton. I’m a big fan of wash and wear, but I mainly love the variety of prints available and how easy it is to sew.

    These pieces were amazing, and I’d love the chance to sew with Carrie’s Collage line!

  • beckyjopdx April 22, 2013, 5:57 pm

    Oh, I love this.

    I’m wearing an infinity scarf I made from Timber and Leaf from Blend Fabrics right now! I get tons of compliments on it. The stiffness is great on windy days, or if I want to prop it up and cover my face more…I made another for a friend that bikes a lot and the stiff fabric keeps it in place around her neck and face. (those all start here: http://primrosewrath.com/upcoming-more-bags-infinity-scarves-and-modeling/)

    I sew garments with quilting cotton all the time. It works for me sometimes to use that “stiffness” to my advantage. Little girl skirts poof out without using horsehair, it holds structure and I am in the middle of using some vintage quilting cotton as bias tape on a voile dress right now – it keeps it from being too drapey in the neck area and gives weight where needed. Love it.

    okok, enough about me. I LOVE the snaps on the men’s shirt cuffs. I would never have thought to do that on my own. I’ve been drooling over some cowboy snaps on etsy and I see I will have to buy some now.

  • Sadie April 22, 2013, 6:00 pm

    Love the dress you made! It’s so pretty, and grown up but without losing the fun :-)
    The most I’ve ever made with quilting weight cottons is a headband – I ususlly stick to cushions and quilted items.

  • Fawn B. April 22, 2013, 6:04 pm

    I’m afraid I have limited experience in garment sewing with quilting cottons. I did use scraps to make some doll clothes and it worked out pretty well (American Girl size).

  • Tamie April 22, 2013, 6:36 pm

    I have never sewn garments but love using cotton for my quilts. Thanks for participating.

  • mjb April 22, 2013, 6:46 pm

    I love the ease of sewing with quilting cottons for garments, but I’m trying to figure out ways now to make them more professional for my office life, too!

  • WandaFish April 22, 2013, 7:00 pm

    Wow, I Love the garments you’ve created with Collage! They look fab :)
    I’ve used quilting cotton for kids clothes but wasn’t sure about using them for adult clothes (and I never actually seem to get round to making things for myself!) I’d happily use them if they can look this good and am itching to try a staple dress using Collage.

  • Shelley C April 22, 2013, 7:35 pm

    I mostly quilt with quilting cotton, but I have bought several yards of a print to make matching dresses for my granddaughters, just haven’t found the pattern yet. I am a bit apprehensive about the wrinkles, but soft dresses and a bit of care are so wonderful!

  • Meghan April 22, 2013, 7:42 pm

    I love that red shirt. I will have to make one like it for my other half. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Laurie April 22, 2013, 7:43 pm

    I have made baby pants with quilting cotton and they were cute – I used the AMH Quick Change Trousers pattern – one of my faves.

  • Christine Sherman April 22, 2013, 7:44 pm

    Great job!! I have not sewn any clothing yet, I’m new to all this and only done quilts and bags and small things. It’s on my agenda to make some simple dresses for my 5 grand daughters :)

  • Veronica April 22, 2013, 7:53 pm

    I’ve only made a few simple summer tops made of quilting cottons that I really love. I’d like to make some more things out of them because of all the cool prints you can find in them.

  • Sew Surprising April 22, 2013, 7:56 pm

    I love sewing garments with cottons, it seems easier to make a true and tested pattern pop, colours meld together beautifully. Couldnt imagine garment sewing with anything else.

  • Becky Greene April 22, 2013, 7:57 pm

    I have never sewn a “real” garment before, but your post certainly ipques my interest!! That dress is beautiful – It looks so high-end! Thanks for sharing and inspiring today. I am off to tweet my fave online store to make sure they will be carrying Collage. There are more than a couple of which I will be stashing some yardage.

  • Carrie B. April 22, 2013, 8:05 pm

    I love you. That is all.

  • Doris April 22, 2013, 8:30 pm

    I’ve sewn dresses with quilting cotton before, I think the right pattern is all one needs.

  • Adva Price April 22, 2013, 8:47 pm

    what fun clothes! love the shirt on the hot guy….

  • Maureen April 22, 2013, 9:04 pm

    I have sewn with cotton for garments ever since I learned to sew some 60 years ago. I like sewing with it. There used to be more variety in the types of cotton you were able to buy in the stores from pique to Swiss cotton foile to cotton gabradine. The beauty of cotton is that is minimum care. Love your outfits.

  • Nita April 22, 2013, 9:18 pm

    I have been wondering about sewing a dress with quilting cotton (I am a quilter) – and just this weekend I cut out a skirt pattern out of some lovely fabric that I had been saving to back a quilt with. So I was really glad to read your post today!

    • Karen April 29, 2013, 2:20 pm

      Nita, You won!!

  • JoNell April 22, 2013, 9:20 pm

    Really enjoy sewing garments for my grandchildren using quilting cotton. Love the dress-it has so much style.

  • Pam April 22, 2013, 10:18 pm

    I’ve never made clothes with quilting cotton, but your dress is certainly an inspiration to do so! Usually I do it the other way around – I’ve cut up cotton clothes to put in quilts. Thanks for sharing. I love every bit of this fabric too.

  • Dan Cargill April 22, 2013, 11:17 pm

    I just retired from education about 3 was ago so I haven’t sewn in many years but cannot wait to get reacquainted with my sewing machine. I used to sew cute little artist style tops for my daughter – I used quilt cotton &’she had one for every season in Pre K & kindergarten.

  • Lisa April 22, 2013, 11:34 pm

    Very nice garments! Sometimes the dressmaker does not make the best use out of the fabric (when thinking outside the box), but you definitely do!

  • Linda April 22, 2013, 11:36 pm

    I used to sew lots of clothes for my kids when they were little. I just began sewing again this Christmas when I got a new machine, but I’ve only worked on quilts. I hope to sew some clothing again soon, and love the inspiration I’ve gotten from the blog hop. I hate to see it come to an end!

  • Marilyn Robinson April 22, 2013, 11:59 pm

    I have discovered so many new designers anf artists during this hop. Thank you for sharing your creations with us – love the dress and the men’s shirt!

  • Sara April 23, 2013, 1:12 am

    I know it’s lame, but I love quilting cotton. It’s so easy to use, wears well, sews well and is so multipurpose. My kids have a bazillion totes made out of it, and most of their clothes I’ve made is quilting cotton.

  • Charlotte April 23, 2013, 1:14 am

    I have used quilting cotton to sew simple dresses and baggy pants for my toddler. In the summer, she can wear them just with sandals and nothing underneath, and in the winter we can add a turtleneck. Nothing too fancy, just a nice way to use beautiful quilting cotton for clothing. I love what you have done with Collage!

  • Jenny April 23, 2013, 1:44 am

    I have zero experience with garment sewing and am in awe of your ability! Carrie looks amazing in her dress

  • Deborah April 23, 2013, 3:07 am

    Oh how I love this fabric :-) I have only been sewing a little while and haven’t managed to sew any garments yet – just quilts, but it is something I definitely want to learn in the future!

  • diane stanley April 23, 2013, 3:17 am

    I have only made children’s clothes with quilting cottons but have a stack waiting to make some dresses for me. I was a garment sewist from way back and have turned into a quilter. Time to go retro I guess.

  • Beth T. April 23, 2013, 4:17 am

    I’m a quilter, not a sewist, so I haven’t made any garments with quilting cottons, but my mom did and I always loved how my dresses would drape and swing, and how soft to the touch they were.

  • Louise D April 23, 2013, 4:18 am

    I can’t wait for this collection to hit the shelves … Love that it is so versatile! Love your blog post!

  • Kay April 23, 2013, 9:13 am

    I haven’t used quilting cotton for clothing yet as I am fairly new to sewing. The dress looks particularly lovely, I really am taken by the birds.

  • Marie April 23, 2013, 10:54 am

    Wow, your skills are amazing! I’ve looked around your blog and everything you do just blows me away. Love the dress, was thinking of a skirt out of that fabric, now its a must, and the men’s shirt and jacket, WOW!

  • jody April 23, 2013, 1:02 pm

    I’ve been sewing and quilting for many years and have never found a collection as superb as COLLAGE which straddles both worlds! And your treatment in both dress and menswear is about as close to perfection as anyone could come! BRAVO!

  • Nathalie B. April 23, 2013, 2:54 pm

    Really nice line and garments, congrats to both of you !
    I have made several clothing items for my boys from quilting cotton (so much choice !), a Charly tunic from made-by-rae for example, and I was very pleased with how it turned out. I was worn a lot and held up very well in time.
    Thansk for the chance to win !

  • Krislovesfabric April 23, 2013, 3:23 pm

    I am in loves with this line and your projects really make the fabrics shine!

  • Gina April 23, 2013, 4:08 pm

    I use quilting cotton all the time to make clothes for my kids!! Clothes come out great! A lot of the quilting cottons are more light weight than they used to be and do not get as wrinkly. I love using them because their are so many great prints!! I will definitely be making some clothing out of Collage; it is a very fun and unique line and looks like it will be so much fun to create with!! Thanks for a chance to win a layer cake!!

  • Linda April 23, 2013, 4:14 pm


  • Dyann April 23, 2013, 4:23 pm

    I am just now getting back into garment sewing for myself and I have just the tunic pattern in mind for the bird fabric….can’t wait for the Collage line to get to our local quilt shops! Love the dress you designed, it is certainly an inspiration to me :) The red shirt is to die for…mens heck I want one!

  • Marcia R April 23, 2013, 4:55 pm

    I am mostly a quilter, but I have made a Tova top with quilting cotton. Though it usually needs a quick ironing, it gets softer and softer with each washing. Love it!

  • Melody April 23, 2013, 5:36 pm

    I haven’t sewn clothing in years but this really makes me think about starting up again. The Collage fabric is fun and love the colors. July can not get here fast enough! Thanks for the early chance to use COLLAGE!

  • B April 23, 2013, 5:38 pm

    Love sewing anything with quilting cotton.
    Nice dress! Nice Shirt!
    Can’t wait o get some of the birds with dots fabric.

  • Jessica B April 23, 2013, 8:35 pm

    I like using quilters cotton for little girls skirts. I love the dress you made and fabric used.

  • Sandy Cooper April 23, 2013, 10:04 pm

    I have not had experience using quilting cotton for clothing, but it seems like a wonderful idea as seen in these cool fabrics by Carrie. I love the dress & shirt and all the little details that you added!

  • Tisa April 24, 2013, 12:20 am

    I used to not differentiate between cotton for quilts and cotton for clothes, and don’t think it’s at all weird to make them interchangeable. In fact, scraps from shirts I made my boys when they were younger ended up in quilts I made for them as teenagers!

  • Heather H April 24, 2013, 4:01 am

    I have not used quilting cotton to make clothing….I will have to try it! Love the dress you made for Carrie.

  • usairdoll April 24, 2013, 4:53 am

    What a sharp. good looking men’s shirt! Love all the little details! The last time I sewed anything for myself, clothes wise was way back in freshman home ec, hehe. I have made an jnfant’s dress in quilting cotton, turned out wonderfully.

    Thank you, Carrie and Windham Fabrics for a super giveaway and a chance to win.


  • Rosemaree April 24, 2013, 6:32 am

    I have only used it as top stitching with good results.

  • Melissa April 24, 2013, 2:08 pm

    I love how easy it is to sew with quilting cottons. The only downside is the wrinkles.

  • Kristy April 24, 2013, 5:35 pm

    I love sewing clothing with “quilt” cottons, it provides so many more possibilities and wears well too!

    Thanks for sharing the great post and giveaway! :)

  • Becky A April 24, 2013, 5:59 pm

    This fabric line is AH MAZE ING! I am in love!! I love using quilting cottons for clothing for my daughter. I think it brings in so many more design options with the funky prints and pops of color! Excited for the giveaway!

  • Tara April 24, 2013, 7:50 pm

    I haven’t sewn clothes with quilting cotton (although I did buy white flannel and dye it and then make pajama pants out of it…). I would so totally use this fabric to make a quilt!

  • Deb April 25, 2013, 2:42 am

    I’m actually not a garment sewer, so all my sewing is quilts. i think this fabric line would look quite nice made into a quilt.

  • Teresa April 25, 2013, 6:32 pm

    QSO quality quilting cotton is especially a dream to sew into summer tops. Sooooo comfy for the hot Texas summers. I am dying to get my hands on this entire line!!

  • diane April 25, 2013, 7:11 pm

    My first love is garment sewing as I make most of my clothing now as I have time. This line is stunning! The idea of using parts and pieces to bind edges is smart! I will try it next time instead of French seaming!!! lovely!

  • robin April 26, 2013, 1:46 am

    I’ve made some little girls dresses. They can get pretty wrinkly!

  • Mary Ann April 26, 2013, 4:01 am

    I have been making children’s clothes with quilting cotton for several years. skirts, shorts, dresses…they sew up beautifully! Looking forward so much to this line! hanks for opportunity!

  • Margaret April 26, 2013, 4:24 pm

    I’ve used quilting cotton to make a few clothing items for my daughter. Somehow, I think it’s better-suited for kids clothes as opposed to clothes for me, but that dress is awesome!

  • MarciaW April 28, 2013, 1:54 am

    We make clothes with quilting cottons — skirts for me (Amy Butler prints) and skirts and dresses for my grandnieces. Good quality quilting cotton works well for our Florida weather, and it doesn’t get all wrinkled. It is very easy to sew, and feels great to the touch. We actually use only quilting cotton for sewing clothing, and of course, our quilts.

  • Holly April 28, 2013, 2:26 am

    I sewed dresses for my girls when they were small and loved working with cotton. It washes so well and lasts FOREVER! I wear cotton (or linen) myself. I don’t worry too much about the fabric crushing. I’m eye-ing off a skirt pattern and material right now. Such comfortable simplicity teamed with a plain tee, for warm summer days.

  • Johanna Olson April 28, 2013, 5:11 am

    I’ve made lots of clothing, softies, and quilts with quilting cottons. Different manufacturers have different feels. I’ve found some that move like a poplin, nice and crisp, and some that wrinkle up worse than linen. Windham has always been one of my favorites, and they really do get softer as you wash them, which can be used to your advantage!

  • Cheryl April 29, 2013, 3:43 am

    Made a terrible skirt once. Then I cut it up and made it into a quilt…I do better with kids skirts!

    • Pat V. May 1, 2013, 6:02 pm

      I have never sewn garments using quilting cotton. The last time I made clothing was when my kids were little. That dress is fabulous!

  • Kari April 29, 2013, 3:10 pm

    I have had mixed results sewing clothing with quilt cottons. I love to quilt though! I think I just need more experience with garments because it was usually the fit that was off and I just didn’t know what to do to get it to work.

  • Karen May 1, 2013, 8:07 am

    A long, long time ago I made clothes for myself and well, it was just ok. I am an avid quilter and love the feel of quilting cottons. I have made a skirt for my daughter in the last few months and while it was easy, she has yet to like it or wear it!

  • Jeannette May 2, 2013, 9:43 am

    I love what you did with this line!!! I usually prefer to sew with cotton personally.

  • Trina Gallop May 2, 2013, 12:53 pm

    I’m still very new to sewing clothes… but focusing on lil baby items right now… uses much less fabric if I screw up! :)

  • mary May 3, 2013, 7:27 pm

    This is superb.
    I’ve used quilting cotton for childrens clothing but never for adults, although my goal this month is to sew some clothes for me so I might be able to tell you something else soon! thanks for the giveaway

  • Kim May 4, 2013, 6:50 am

    Ive never sewn a garment with quilting fabric before. I’m always afraid the fabric will shrink too much for my ample frame!

  • Debby Saunders May 6, 2013, 4:55 am

    I have sewn a few garments from quilting fabric. I just love the prints. You can go bold or just quirky for a different look.

  • Sue L. May 22, 2013, 1:18 pm

    I am new in the sewing and quilting field. I have made baby items, aprons, and have started making dresses for my granddaughters. I also am in the process of making quilts for Christmas gifts. I would love to win this comma fabric to make clothing for my two young granddaughters. I am especially in love with the bird fabric. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

    • Karen May 22, 2013, 1:51 pm

      Sue – I’m sorry, the contest has ended. You can find Collage at your local quilt shop now, though!

  • Deborah Klopf February 21, 2014, 10:21 am

    This is the first I have heard of you. I found you in the new Stitch magazine . I live in Freeland Mi. have sewn my whole life. Is the fabric for sale at Habermans in Royal Oak? I would like more information thankyou. Debbie

    • Karen February 28, 2014, 4:59 pm

      Hi Debbie! This fabric is available in many independent local fabric stores. I did buy the trim at Haberman! My friend Carrie has a new collection coming out this Spring called Paint! and we’ll be showcasing some of that around here, too :) Nice to meet you! Feel free to send em an email, and maybe come to a Sew Ann Arbor meetup some month?

  • Mable Surratt September 13, 2014, 5:50 am

    I love this blog. The dress and guy’s shirt is looking nice. Actually I haven’t stitch any thing but after seeing your blog I want to make a cotton shirt for my niece. Keep posting like this, Thanks!


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