When she’s not staring at her fabric collection, designer Amanda Brown turns it into beautiful creations. See what other methods Amanda uses to express her creativity!
Tell us a little bit about your business.
Prior to starting Fabric Heart I had a knitting and crocheting business making eco-friendly wash cloths. I knew how to sew, I just hadn’t allowed myself to really dive into it. I feared that if I started buying beautiful fabric I would never stop. Turns out that fear was completely justified!
When I was pregnant with my oldest I decided I would make her a cute blanket. I went to a local quilt shop to find some fabric. I walked in and fell in love with a quilt on the wall. I signed up for a class to make the quilt and I haven’t stopped sewing and making quilts since then.
When I first started Fabric Heart, I would make almost anything requested but my real passion is quilts. Slowly I’ve started to focus my business almost entirely on quilts. I still sew other things like bags and clothes but those are mostly just for myself.
How did you choose your business name?
I’m not sure I can explain my love of fabric. If I’m having a bad day fabric shopping will instantly lift my spirits. I love playing with my stacks of fabric and dreaming of all the things I could make with them all. Fabric Heart just seemed to capture where my quilting came from. I’m often inspired by the fabric and base a quilt on the fabric than designing a quilt and finding fabric to suit. Another part of it was when I started Fabric Heart, I had been working on building my knitting/crocheting business and I was afraid of dropping it completely. I also was dabbling in making cakes because I really can never have too much cake! I wanted to create a name that would allow me to expand and move around a bit if needed. I could easily branch out and have ‘Yarn Heart’ or ‘Cake Heart’. Needless to say, I’ve never felt the need to stop with my fabric obsession.
What is your community like? Do you have friends in the community who enjoy sewing, too?
I live in Binbrook which is a suburb of Hamilton, a larger city in Ontario Canada. My community started as a very small farming town with a corner store, a few churches, a seed store, a tractor dealership and not much else. Now that it is expanding you can feel the roots of the original families and we come together in beautiful ways when needed. We host a county fair in the heart of the town, where I chair the quilt department, so I’m getting to know more and more quilters in my area. I have a few sewing friends in my town. I’ve made some amazing friends who quilt in other parts of my city and their quilting and friendship had taken my quilting to places I never dreamed of.
Do you specialize in a specific look or technique?
I’ve only been quilting for nine years which is not very long for a quilter. I often joke that most quilters don’t peak until their late 60s so I have plenty of time to master it. I’m still discovering new techniques and styles and trying to follow my heart on what brings me the most satisfaction to my quilting. I tend to gravitate to projects that require a lot of intricate piecing. If it looks like it will be painfully slow to make with lots of tiny pieces, that project is for me. My quilts typically feature a lot of bright and bold colours and I love adding in stripes and florals.
What is your ‘go to’ craft when you want to do something different?
This past year I’ve discovered watercolour painting. I never imagined myself as a painter, but I really love developing this new skill. An added benefit is it is something that my kids and I can do together. My girls love when I get out the paints and we spread out creating together.
Is there a certain season you love to sew for?
When most people think about quilts. they imagine cold winters nights and needing quilts to provide warmth. However, I really love quilts for the summer, and it is when my quilts get the most use. I love dragging them out on adventures! They make perfect picnic blankets and are great at the beach! If I’m going to be outside anywhere at night, I make sure to bring a quilt or two to keep warm when the sun sets.
You wouldn’t be surprised to find ________ in my snack drawer.
Pastries! I am a sucker for baked goods of almost any variety. I like to dabble in baking croissants, pies, cakes and almost anything that contains copious amounts of butter, sugar and flour. Yum!
Besides OLFA, what are your go-to quilting tools?
I try to keep things simple and not acquire a ton of tools but three things I couldn’t live without are my Wonder clips, Fine Line Disappearing Ink Pen and Bohin Chalk Pencil. I use clips more than pins because they are less pokey. I’m pretty klutzy and I’m known to stab myself regularly when I use pins. The Fine Line Pen and Bohin Pencil are perfect for all my marking needs and between the two of them I can mark on any colour.
Please give us a quick organizing tip.
I’m very lucky to have a dedicated sewing space. It’s tiny but it is all mine. I’ve made it work by optimizing the wall space. I have peg boards for days! IKEA’s pegboard system is so easy to use and has great accessories! I really love my teal pegboard which my husband built me with materials from Home Depot. Also, don’t forget the space at the top of your walls close to the ceiling. I have barn board shelves (made from the barn I played in as a kid) at the top of my walls leaving enough space for Dollar Store bins to hold my ongoing projects.
What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
The most rewarding part of my business has been meeting so many amazing people around the world! I’ve made some of my closest friends because of Fabric Heart and I couldn’t imagine getting through life without them!
In 2019, Amanda was an OLFA Ambassador. Now on the 2020 OLFA Creators Design Team, be sure to read the touching story behind her project, Irish Blessings.
You can follow Amanda at:
Company name: Fabric Heart
Website url: www.fabricheart.com
Other social media urls: Facebook www.facebook.com/my fabricheart www.instagram.com/myfabricheart