Open house, open mind

Wenche Wolff Hatling's quilt

Workshop prep

Apparently, the local (this corner of Europe) Moda distributor is 30 minutes from my house and hosts an open house several times a year. What choice does a girl have? Last Sunday I went to their open house! It was my first wholesaler experience and it was an eye opener. I saw beautiful fabrics, patterns and notions and learned about the business cycle for fabric. It was overwhelming, but also super interesting to start thinking about all the possibilities that access to fabric like this presents. They also offered a workshop by Wenche Wolff Hatling from Northern Quilts to show her upcoming fabric line, Winterfall by Lecien. Despite being full, they let me join in and a couple nice ladies from atelierathome.nl offered to share their machine and good humor with me, so I was in!

Amazingly enough, I’d never participated in a sewing workshop before Sunday. The workshop was geared towards quilt shop owners, so I felt a bit guilty sitting in, but hey, who’s to say I won’t be doing the same or similar one day, right? Wenche started off by talking about some of the issues quilt shop owners have to think about. For example, if you a buy a line of fabrics, how many of each print should you have? How is that influenced by the patterns that come with that particular line? How do you encourage people to return to your shop? How do you encourage them to buy more fabric? How can you use fabric that isn’t selling well? It was pretty neat stuff.

The workshop project was a simple lined basket. It was faced with fusible fleece, which got my attention because it’s a new product for me and one that’s used a lot in the Bag Making Bible. Since I’m planning to make all the bags in her book, it’s nice to get a chance to use a bit of the fleece before I go invest in the 5 meters of it I’ll need for all the projects in the book. That’s a lot of fusible fleece! Second bonus was getting a chance to work on a Bernina sewing machine. Always fun to do a test drive!

Everyone got to pick a fabric package and I ended up being the only one to pick the modern package. Apparently, very traditional quilting is the way to go in the Netherlands and modern quilting (or fabrics) are less popular. That could explain why I have such a hard time finding fabrics I like around here! These choices are brighter and more modern than I’d pick on my own, but it was fun to try something new. The fusible fleece is fun stuff. It was easy to apply and gave the finished basket a bit of volume and some support. I’m curious to see how I’ll like it in the Reversible Bucket Bag, which will be my next bag project!

The sewing machines ended up giving up a bit. With two machines between three people, we ended up with a disassembled bobbin assembly and one empty bobbin and not much time to go. I brought my unfinished project home and finished it up in a few minutes on Monday afternoon with Pumpkin. She’s loving having new little bag. All in all, the open house was a success. I’m planning on attending again, armed with more knowledge and and better ideas about what I can bring home!

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