Past meets present with Inspired Free-Motion Quilting

I could not be more delighted to take part in the online book tour for Inspired Free-Motion Quilting by Bill Volckening and Amanda Leins. I have been itching to get my hands on this book for a while now because it combines some of my favorite things: antique quilts, free-motion quilting and Mandy.

I met Mandy at International Quilt Market in Houston the year our previous books were published. (Her: Wanderlust Quilts. Me: Modern Style for Girls.) Have you ever had one of those encounters and you just know about someone? Yeah, it was kind of like that. Little did I know that my new friend was an amazingly talented quilter and teacher — but I would soon find out.

And take full advantage of it.

Luckily for me, Mandy was okay with me occasionally picking her brain. I quickly learned that she had a way of breaking down quilting designs that made total sense for me. If I was struggling with something (ahem, feathers), Mandy would send me a sketch with little arrows so I could really see how to move and make the shape. It really helped me visualize how to go from Point A to Point Z and everything in between. Those same illustrations of the quilting designs are throughout this book and I think you’ll find them just as helpful.

Inspired Free-Motion Quilting is like having Mandy right there, along with antique quilt eye candy that serves as the basis for the quilting designs. The anthropology nerd in me totally geeks out over the quilt history included throughout the book. The wool whole-cloth quilts, in particular, really spoke to me. I’ve always thought of quilts as being rectangles or squares, so seeing T-shaped quilts covered in a variety of quilting designs sparked some interesting ideas I may need to explore (my half-canopy iron bed with footboard would benefit from a T-shape).

But first, I will be adapting some of the quilting motifs to some of the tops in my queue. My eye was immediately drawn to the Swag (pg. 64), as well as the Pomegranate (pg. 74). I think both would be great in borders — an area of my quilts where I’d like to add a little more oomph. Normally, I warm up a little more before I try tackling designs but I was so excited, my hands started moving and the next thing I knew, I had a little Swag going on!

I’ve been working on a quilt project since late summer (a Jen Kingwell Spindrift quilt made with Tula Pink’s De La Luna fabrics) and I can already see that some of the FMQ designs from the book can be adapted for those blocks. And now I’m kind of itching to try a whole-cloth piece (maybe with that Dream Big panel I keep petting).

Are you ready to be inspired, too? I’m excited to be giving away an e-book to one lucky winner! Just comment on this post between now and 5 p.m. EST on Sunday, 1/13/19, with your biggest quilting challenge. I’ll use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner and announce it here that evening. Good luck and happy quilting!

Be sure to check out all the other great stops on the tour with more chances to win (and Mandy’s grand prize at the end) :

Jan. 7
C&T Publishing
Bill Volckening

Jan. 8
Amanda Murphy, Amanda Murphy Design
Kim Lapacek, Persimon Dreams
Stephanie Palmer, The Quilter’s Planner

Jan. 9
Teri Lucas, Terific Creations
Lynn Harris,
Debby Brown, Debby Brown Quilts

Jan. 10
Robin Koehler, Nestlings by Robin
Patty Murphy, Patty Murphy Handmade
Mary Abreu, Confessions of a Craft Addict <-you are here!

Jan. 11
Joanna Marsh, Kustom Kwilts
Amanda Leins, Mandalei Quilts

Disclosure: C&T Publishing is also my publisher. I received an electronic version of this book as part of the online book tour. Opinions are solely my own.

Hack that Tote! Blog Tour

hackthattotecoverIt’s been so much fun to read along with each stop of the Hack that Tote! blog tour. I’ve loved seeing what each of the talented folks who’ve taken part have done to tweak the bags from the book to suit their needs. A big “thank you” to these wonderful folks for being a part (be sure to check out each to see what they’ve whipped up and enter their giveaway):

9/27 C&T

9/28 Sue O’Very

9/29 Gen Q Teri Lucas 

9/30 Patty Murphy

10/1 Vanessa Lynch

10/2 Lindsay Conner

10/3 Stephanie Moore

10/4 Katy Cameron

10/5 Kim Niedzwiecki

I wrapped up the book last fall but I’ve continued to play around with different ideas for modifying not only the Basic Tote Bag but many of the projects in the book. I’ll see a shape or a fabric or fun hardware and wonder “how can I use that?” and off I go!

That’s somewhat how this particular hack came to be. I saw a metallic leather bucket bag on a fashion blog and immediately realized how similar it was in shape to the Tote. My plan is to make it metallic leather some day but I had some beautiful metallic champagne vinyl in my stash and got to work.

bucket bag

This bag is closer in proportions to the Goodie Bag with Reverse Applique, with all four sides finishing about the same width. I made one long strap and attached it to the center of the side seams with a nice, big box stitch.

handle stitches

Because I put metal grommets around the top of the bag for the drawstring (which I still need — the silver cord is just a placeholder), I opted to use another piece of the vinyl for the top of the lining. It makes it a bit of a challenge when it comes to pressing the top seam of the bag but I like having the extra durability of the vinyl vs. using a full lining of fabric.

One of the touches that I love is the magnetic closure. The tabs are separate pieces and the vinyl should help them hold up to the wear and tear that happens with this type of bag closure.

magnetic closure

My hope with Hack that Tote! is that you’ll not only love the projects I’ve included but that you’ll be inspired to mix up things and make the bags you sew reflect your style. I’d love to see what you make! Tag your projects #hackthatote or share them to my Facebook Page because show-and-tell is my favorite!

And … C&T Publishing is graciously giving away a copy of Hack that Tote! to one lucky reader of this blog! (Printed copy for those in the U.S.; ebook outside of the U.S.) Simply comment below and tell me a favorite hack from the tour. I’ll use to choose a winner after 5 p.m. Eastern time on 10/10. Good luck!


Your Guide to “Modern Style for Girls”

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Modern Style for Girls: Sew a Boutique Wardrobe, October 2015, Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing
Modern Style for Girls: Sew a Boutique Wardrobe, October 2015, Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing

Modern Style for Girls is finally here! It’s such a crazy thing to see it “out there,” where anyone can buy it and sew from it.

The book includes three basic garments — bodice, skirt, pants — that you can modify to create a variety of wardrobe pieces in sizes 7-12. Add collars, shift necklines, change armholes — all kinds of tips and tricks for making each piece have a fresh look.

I’ve broken things down again by garment: Basic Bodice, Pants and Skirts. Each garment has four projects for a total of 12 pieces. But that doesn’t mean you’re limited to 12 looks! Mix and match parts of patterns to create something completely different, whether it’s adding the collar from the A-line Dress to the Sleeveless Empire-Waist Top or adding the cuff from the Cuffed Dig ‘Ems to the Shorts (instead of lace). I really love playing with patterns to make them into something new and encourage you to do the same thing.

The techniques in Modern Style for Girls are the next step after my first book, Little Girls, Big Style. I’ll show you how to add invisible zippers, sew a set-on waistband, insert a trouser zipper and even on-seam pockets.

All the looks in Modern Style for Girls are reflective of today’s kids, my daughter included. She had a lot to say about the projects, from the ruffles to the fabrics. I hope you love it just as much as we do!


Here’s your chance to win an autographed copy of Modern Style for Girls! I’m using Rafflecopter, so just click and comment.Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Time!

I’ve joined the weird, wonderful world of Periscope! It’s a live-streaming app that allows you to interact. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing but I’ve been using it and I really like it. I’ve added a link in the sidebar of my website that not only links to my Periscope but tells you when I’m live broadcasting so you can watch on the web.

This afternoon, I shared some peeks at Modern Style for Girls on Periscope and announced a giveaway on Goodreads. I’ve been a Goodreads author since Little Girls, Big Style and I love using the site to discover new things to read! If you’re on Goodreads, you can enter the giveaway here:


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Modern Style for Girls by Mary Abreu

Modern Style for Girls

by Mary Abreu

Giveaway ends October 15, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


You’re also welcome to buy an autographed copy from me!

Not Going to QuiltCon?

If you’re on social media with other quilters/sewers, you’ve probably been watching as many of them prepare to descend on Austin, Texas, for QuiltCon 2015. New bags and outfits have been made, buttons prepped for swapping, #HelloQuiltCon introductions made. Like me, maybe you’re relegated to watching not just the QuiltCon prep but the entire event unfold on social media.

What’s a non-QuiltCon attendee to do?

Since you’re already going to be “liking” and  commenting on the flood of pictures that are about to fill your screen, why not take part in the Unofficial 2015 QuiltCon IG Scavenger Hunt? (Not affiliated with nor endorsed by QuiltCon, The Modern Quilt Guild or anyone involved whatsoever with QuiltCon.)

Head over to IG and follow me (thatcraftaddict). I’ll post the scavenger hunt list on Thursday, Feb. 19, at 9 a.m. Austin time, along with a link to the form. There are 20 items on the list and you need to enter at least 15 in order for it to be considered complete. The form will close at 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 23 (again, Austin time). I’ll randomly choose from the completed entries and send that person a prize.

Sewn Hats Giveaway

As cool as it is to have a book of my own, I have to admit that I probably squealed even louder when my contributor copy of Sewn Hats arrived on my doorstep. There’s just something incredibly fun about seeing your name alongside those of some of your favorite sewing friends. It’s kind of like those old Mickey Rooney movies when all the kids got together to put on a show.

Carla Crim aka The Scientific Seamstress may just be the Kevin Bacon of the sewing world. Flip through the contributor list and I think you’ll be inclined to agree: Alexia Abegg, Bari J., Melissa Averinos, Lisa Carroccio, Joanna Figueroa, Shelly Figueroa, Linda & Scott Hansen, Karen LePage, Kathy Mack, Kaari Meng, Heather Niziolek, Jennifer Paganelli, Betz White,  Patty Young and many more.

But what’s really impressive are the hats.

A little closer look at p. 100:

My own Miss L was clearly the inspiration for this darling cloche, but I also have to tip my hat to the amazing Diva, my friend Lisa, who was the impetus for this project. (Those gorgeous spiderweb roses on the samples in the book are her creations — and the book includes instructions for making them yourself.)

Want a copy of your own? Just comment on this post and you’re entered to win! I’ll close comments and use to choose a winner on Thursday, Oct. 4. In the meantime, be sure to check out the other stops (and more chances to win a copy of the book) on the Sewn Hats blog tour:

9/4 –  Scientific Seamstress

9/5 –  ModKid Boutique

9/6 – French General

9/10 – Pink Chalk Studio

9/11 –  Lulu Bliss

9/12 – The Domestic Diva’s Disasters

9/13 – Green Bee Patterns

9/14 – Goosie Girl Boutique

9/17 – Melissa Lilac Lane

9/19 – One Girl Circus

9/20 – Tie Dyed Diva Designs

9/21 – Figgy’s Patterns

9/25 – Craftiness is not Optional

9/26 – Bari J.

9/27 – Confessions of a Craft Addict

9/28 – Sis Boom

10/1 – Sew Mama Sew

10/2 – Aesthetic Nest

10/3 – Blue Nickel Studios

10/4 – Betz White

10/8 – Yummy Goods

10/10-  Wiley Craft

Modern Mix Blog Tour

One of the hardest things about writing a book was not being able to tell anyone what I was doing. Luckily for me, the fabulous Jessica Levitt was also hard at work on her first title for Stash Books, so we did the secret handshake and got to do a little private cheering for each other.

Of course, that just made it all the more painful to have to wait for her book to come out. I have been a Jessica fan since meeting her at a pre-Market party in Pittsburgh in 2009, where I got a sneak peek of what was to be her first line of fabric for Windham. I dream of throwing the kinds of parties she gives her family and her blog post about “glamping” made me want to run right out and buy a camper. So, yes, the anticipation level at Casa Craft Addict for Modern Mix was sky high.

Let me tell you, it was definitely worth the wait. Better yet, why don’t I show you?

Gradations Bag

Twin String Quilt

Pebble Road Quilt

Modern Mix combines solid fabrics with amazing designer prints and Jessica has designed 16 projects to show off those fabrics to their best advantage. Paging through the book had me nodding my head, visualizing my family living with this quilt (Pebble Road, you will be mine) or seeing that bag on my arm (check out that Gradations Bag). I am itching to get started on a few of these projects!

I had the opportunity to ask Jessica a few questions as part of this stop on the Modern Mix blog tour. Read on for a little insight into her creative life and inspiration:

You wear so many hats — fabric designer, mom, wife, work, author — and yet still manage to pull off everything you do with such style and grace. How do you make time to be so creative?

Well, I pretty much live to create. I’m sure the crafters out there understand that NEED to be creative. I just have to. So it’s what I make time for. What suffers? Oh the laundry. The sweeping of the kitchen floor. The endless cluttered corners of my house that need to be sorted out. I do hope all of my projects really reflect my style and I spend countless hours making things “just so” but you’re not seeing the mess (and stress) that goes on behind the scenes. It’s all a balancing act and you have to have priorities. Mine are my family and creating, in that order. It’s great when I can overlap the two, like throwing elaborate parties for my kids…
When I see your work, I can really see “you” in it. There’s such a clear style to everything you do, whether it’s fabric, quilts or other art. What do you think is the strongest influence in your creative life?
Wow, I consider that one of the best compliments there is, so thanks! It’s all about staying true to your own vision. Naming a strong influence is difficult for me. Certainly my husband’s encouragement has helped me to take risks and grow creatively more than I ever imagined I would. Growing up my father help set me on the path of the “next big project”. But currently I’m influenced but nearly everything. I’m a very visual person and I think my mind just catalogs all the awesome inspiration on the web and in the world and then I put my spin on it. The periods of history that I look to the most are definitely the Mission Style or Arts and Crafts Movement or Art Nuveau. I love a modern adaptation of those.
How have the milestones you’ve hit in your career in the past couple of years (licensing your fabric, writing a book) affected your goals or plans for the coming years (or have they)?
Accomplishing those things that I didn’t even know were goals a few years ago has definitely opened up a lot of possibilities to me. There’s a (somewhat tenuous) confidence that comes with career milestones that makes me believe that I can really do what I put my mind to. So now it’s about choices. I know I want to continue in these areas because I’ve found it so rewarding and fun, but I’ve also seen how much work they are so I have to be sure to take on projects when the timing is right for me and my family. And certainly now I have Quilt Market twice a year that factors into my planning. 🙂
* * * *
Guess what? You get the chance to win your very own copy of Modern Mix! Comment on this post and tell me some of the fabrics you’d love to mix. I’ll randomly choose a winner on Wednesday, Oct. 19. (If you reside outside the United States, you will receive an electronic version of Modern Mix.)
And don’t forget to check out the other stops on the Modern Mix blog tour; those fabulous bloggers also are giving away copies of the book!

10/6/11 – Sew Mama Sew

10/7/11 – Jaybird Quilts

10/8/11 – Blue Nickel Studios

10/9/11 – Handmade by Alissa

10/10/11- Stop Staring and… Start Sewing

10/11/11 – Quilting is My Therapy

10/12/11 – Stitch Magazine Blog

10/13/11 – Oh Fransson

10/14/11 – Gen Q Magazine

10/15/11 – Quilt Dad

10/16/11 – Confessions of a Craft Addict

10/17/11 – Amy’s Creative Side

10/18/11 – Pink Chalk Studio

10/19/11 – Connecting Threads Blog

10/20/11 – Keepsake Quilting Blog

10/21/11 – Juicy Bits

Congratulations, Ali Hughes!

She+Me (and a giveaway)

I’ve been trying to stretch myself a bit creatively this year, tackling new and different projects in an effort to broaden my horizons. I came across Christy Tomlinson‘s She Art Workshop and decided it was just the thing I was looking for.

I started working on Week 1 this week (I had time on my hands with contractors upstairs, repairing our roof and water-damaged kitchen ceiling) and I am loving it! I’ve long admired collage/mixed media art but the actual process of creating a piece never really clicked for me. Christy’s videos are a real eye opener and I can’t wait to do more with the techniques I’m learning.

The workshop has also given me the chance to play with the new Design Memory Craft Mix & Match products from Faber Castell. The kind folks there sent me the Mixed Media Sampler and Color Gelato & Clear Stamp and I’m seriously in love. The gelatos are so creamy and look especially great on textured paper. I’ve got the blue and can already tell I’m going to need all the other colors — they are just that awesome.

But don’t take my word for it: Two lucky readers are going to win their own Mix & Match Mixed Media Sampler and Color Gelatos & Clear Stamp kit! Just comment on this post and you’re entered to win. Deadline to enter is noon (EDT) on Monday, May 9. I’ll use the random number generator to choose the winners. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was provided with a Mix & Match Media Sampler and Color Gelator & Clear Stamp kit at no charge. My opinion of these products is my own and is given honestly and without compensation.