Double dare…

When someone dares you to do something, you might do it.  But when you’re double-dared… you have to do it.

Especially when your name is Mari VanderStelt and you’re the owner of Yankee Dutch Quilts in Brownsville, Oregon and it was your customers who issued the challenge.  So she did it.  Mari sent the following letter to Mr. Dunn, the man behind Moda Fabrics.


Dear Mr. Dunn:

First, let me compliment you on your strong marketing skills, keen business sense, ability to recruit talented designers (although you have not recruited me… yet…) and your company’s user-friendly website. You have left many other fabric companies in the dust in just a few short years.

I do, however, have just one small complaint.  Okay, it used to be a big complaint but thanks to appetite suppressants, exercise, and the fact that I no longer eat, my problem is getting smaller. Yes. I am talking about my thighs, stomach and rear end.  (Okay, I’m not entirely serious… I figure the Moda Bake Sh0p thing was only responsible for about 20% of my weight gain.  Yes, I realize I’m responsible for my own choices…)

I am referring to the Moda Bake Shop.  Sir, it was a brilliant move to name pre-cut fabrics after delicious foods that invoked memories of Grandma’s kitchen (This was before Grandma got dementia and started to forget to add the sugar… sigh.  I miss Grandma.) and including “recipes” for the pre-cuts.  Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, Honey Buns, Candy, Turnovers…

However, there was a dangerous side-effect to all this goodness. Some of us quilters got hungry, and when we got hungry, we ate.  Baked goods were already on the mind so you can guess what happened next.

It was so innocent at first. We could keep this quietly controlled. An occasional jelly roll was slipped into the shopping bag at the quilt store, and we might stop off to get a jelly filled doughnut on the way home to complete the experience. Then we graduated to hosting “Moda Bake Shop” parties , slicing and dicing up our layer cakes and snacking on chocolate cake as we sewed. Quilts were completed more quickly, which gave us more time to have seconds of the turnovers brought in by the skinny baker/quilter who never gains weight.  (We’re all pretty sure she’s taking something illegal… but dang, her turnovers are good!)

Our New Year’s resolution was always to make more quilts and lose weight but we never realized that by accomplishing one, we were setting ourselves up for failure in the other.

But I have finally found a solution to the problem.  Fabric is fiber and fiber is good for you. Fabric has no calories and you can’t get fat with zero calories! All of the Moda treats are low-fat, have zero calories and are high in fiber.  And since traditionally, low-fat, high fiber food is also low in taste, this should help me trick the old taste buds.  I will continue to use my Moda “baked goods” to finish more quilts and if I get too hungry, I will just eat the fabric.  Desperate times call for desperate measures!


I am sure you had the very best of intentions and didn’t know that you would be contributing to America’s obesity problem.  Maybe, as an act of good will, you could use one of your Collections for a Cause fabric lines to sponsor scholarships for Weight Watchers! I am also open to a tummy tuck, whatever works best for you.


Mari VanderStelt/Fabric Geek

Mr. Dunn got a huge kick out of Mari’s letter and called her.  Mari told me that she was so shocked to receive a personal phone call from him that she was sure she sounded a wee bit like a bumbling idiot.  After it had all set in, her “head swelled to extreme proportions and [she] was forced to walk through doorways sideways until [her] teenagers deflated [her] ego a bit.”

It gets better.  Mari then wrote… “picture it something like this: ‘I was just talking with Mark Dunn of Moda about the weather.’ Or, ‘I was just talking with Mr. Dunn – the President of Moda Fabrics, you know – about my husband’s Dutch heritage.’  Name-dropping.  Five minutes of blissful name-dropping until the teens reminded me to cook dinner.”

We owe a huge thank you to these ladies – the Tuesday Thread Therapy Quilters group.  If it weren’t for you, everyone here wouldn’t have been laughing out-loud reading Mari’s hilarious e-mail.  Thank you!



By the way, Congratulations are in order for Mari!  When she replied to my request to re-print this e-mail, she wrote that she’s lost 24 pounds on her “Moda” diet.  She just keeps chanting, “This fabric is vegan, it’s not a baked good! This fabric is vegan, it’s not a baked good!”  Apparently it’s helped a lot… along with the appetite suppressants and “stupid exercise.”

And if she ever meets the guy who invented Diet Pepsi, she’ll kiss his feet.  (Don’t we all want to read the e-mail she sends to the President of Pepsi?)

Until then, she’s on a fabric diet.  I might need to adopt her chant as I’ve just spent the past week at the Zermatt Resort in Midway, Utah where there is an on-site bakery…


I’d better stick to these…


Zero calories.  High in fiber.  Low fat.

My favorite “baked goods” are the Layer Cakes and the charm packs – I’ll call them “cookies” because I always seem to grab two of them.

Which Moda pre-cut is your favorite – and why?

Then tell me what your favorite baked good is t- cake, pie, cookies, etc?

As much as I love these Moda treats… it’ll never taste quite as good as that Lemon Meringue Tart.

Jump to Leave us a Comment

74 thoughts on “Double dare…

  1. Jelly Rolls. I made my first quilt with one. Blackcurrant pie, home made of course, closely followed by Lemon Meringue pie. You can see I like Tart Tarts, maybe that could be a new fabric cut

  2. Well, my favorite pre-cut is a fat quarter bundle b/c the possibilities are endless! After that, it is a layer cake. My favorite baked good? Well, I’ll go with my husband’s motto: VITSOL. Variety Is The Spice Of Life….how can I pick a favorite between warm, gooey cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven, hot, fudgey brownies, lucious lemon pie, or blueberry pie made with just-picked berries? Can you tell that we enjoy our sweeties around here?

  3. My love of precuts has evolved and I now like layer cakes. There are more possibilities. Likewise, baked goods – lemon or coconut anything, especially pies. How about round “pie” precuts? OMG, I can feel the weight piling on!

  4. I love charm packs. A little bit of everything. My favorite baked good is a buttermilk pie.

  5. Layer cakes, either the versatile Moda variety, or devil’s food with gooey chocolate frosting and a side of vanilla ice cream!

  6. You know one of the reasons I love sewing in the evening whlie the TV is running is that my hands are occupied and I can’t snack (true story and yes, I helped me to lose some pounds now I fit in my size 6 again also my size 4 jeans still don’t fit, boo).
    My favorite precuts are charm packs, not so expensive and a certian someone made and still makes great patterns for them:-) My favorite baked good is strawberry cake … and raspberry cake … chocolate cake … I think I have a thing for cakes! And cookies … you know there’s a reason for starting sewing in the evening;-)

  7. I love the combination of layer cakes and jelly rolls for quilts. When Moda first came out with Jelly rolls i was hooked big time. I was known as ‘The Jelly Roll Queen” in my quilting group. I have a large wicker basket in my sewing room that is filled with those Moda tapes and name cards that tied up the jelly rolls and layer cakes in the early days. Thanks to Moda for feeding our fabric cravings!

  8. I have so many jelly rolls I could piece for months and not have to buy, so they must have been my favorite at some point. But I find that a combination of jelly rolls and layer cakes gives me lots of flexibility so that’s my new strategy. With a jelly roll I get strips and I can make mini charms; a layer cake gets me large square backgrounds and I can make charms. What’s not to love? For a grab-and-go snack you can’t beat cookies, but for sheer decadence I can’t resist a good German Chocolate cake. My hips can attest to that!

  9. I love fat-quarter bundles – they contain so many possibilities. Unfortunately, I can’t eat flour, so my jelly rolls, turnovers and layer cakes from Moda have to fill the dessert void.

  10. Layer cakes, both the Moda and the baked kind. No fancy fillings, just buttercream frosting. (And I just found out that my favorite bakery – Mother’s Macaroons in Arlington, VA – will close this month. Wah! Her macaroons and shortbread cookies send me into a sugar swoon, just like making the Thimbleblossoms quilt of the same name out of Lily Ashbury, the Comstocks, Sweetwater, Kate Spain, Zen Chic, Vanessa…)

  11. Mari, do you have a camera in my house ??? I just finished baking a chocolate cake to take to a workshop featuring – you guessed it – layer cakes! I don’t see the camera so you must be very clever. Which you are based on the extremely funny letter! And congrats on your weight loss . . . if might help me if I focused on sewing my treats instead of eating them. Thanks for sharing this Carrie and helping me start my day off with a big laugh (and not baked goods).

    P.S. Diet Pepsi – ick! Diet Coke, is my weakness of choice.

  12. I love charm packs & I have a drawer full to prove it. This is because I just LOVE your patterns. 🙂
    My favorite baked good is my MIL’s Texas Sheet Cake……it’s to die for.

  13. Right it’s jelly rolls but it changes according to the project I want to do……and my favorite sweet never changes. I’ll eat all that!

  14. Yes if I would spend more time in my Studio with my collection of Moda I would loose weight. I like the charm packs, and jelly rolls. But winter is hard to not do some backing which will be cake. Nancy P.

  15. what an entertaining post today – you had me laughing. I think I like cake best – but if you put a good looking ice box pie in front of me I would chose that and then warm luscious chocolate chip cookies are terrific too – I have a sweet tooth and admit it. As far as the pre-cuts go I think jelly rolls win for me – because fat quarters weren’t on the list – but then they are not a baked good are they?

  16. Such a fun post. Well, I was going to say I love layer cakes, but honestly, in my opinion, the Fat Eighth bundle is the best. I used to buy fat quarter bundles all the time, and would end up with half of it left over. Fat eighths bundles are the way to go!

  17. My favorite pre-cut is the charm squares, I have yet to make anything with one but I have several to choose from. I find it hard to open up and start in, matter of fact i have brought several pre-cuts and have not made a single one up yet. Big ideas!! So little time…. so I satifiy myself with making cookies, pies and candy. My husband makes wonderful Oreo balls, what better than oreo cookies crushed up with cream cheese and covered in chocolate. My family says my apple pie is the best.

  18. My first love was jelly rolls, but lately I have discovered a passion for layer cakes. Right now I am working on my first charm quilt. They are ALL lovely! As far as real treats, give me a potato chip kind of salty goodness and I am in heaven. If I have to do pastries, my mom’s cinnamon buns are the best!!! 😀

  19. Oh Carrie! Now I’m hungry for lemon Meringue! (My Grandpa Shaw made the best Lemon Meringue pie ever.) I love the Layer Cakes and the Jelly Rolls the best. So many delicous ways to bake them…..I mean sew them.

  20. Since more is better, I always go for at least the fat eighth bundles, but the fat quarter bundles are my favorite! I have stacks of jelly rolls, but have never found the courage to unroll them–they are too cute!!

  21. As much as I love Layer Cakes I seem to gravitate to the Charm Packs…FOUR…you NEED four! Or at least this seems to be the number that follows me home! The truth of the matter is…I love ALL pre-cuts!!

    1. I had the same addiction to charm packs until I realized (DUH!!) that a layer cake can be cut into charms … so then I became addicted to those as well. Yes, absolutely NEVER less than FOUR charm packs … if only I could hold down the urge to get TWO layer cakes which equals EIGHT charm packs …. it’s hopeless!!

  22. My favorite pre-cut is charms but I would like to try layer cakes too. I too like salty rather than sweet, but I do love chocolate……..pie, cake, brownies, etc, etc, etc.

  23. Charm Squares and Jelly Rolls tie for my favourite pre-cuts – there are just so many ways to combine them and use them to make adorable quilts. PS. Charm squares and jelly rolls in single colour solids (a good red, for example) would be a winner with many quilters! So much easier to make a red and white quilt!!! PS2 – Thrilled to see a pic of the bakery case at the resort (she writes as she wipes drool off her chin with one hand). Great post – lots of fun! Thanks!

  24. That last picture looks so delicious! My favorite pre-cut is a fat quarter (does that count as a precut??)-but that just sounds….fattening. Other than fat quarters I seem to buy the most charm packs. My favorite baked good? Well, they aren’t so tempting-it’s the ice cream that gets me! Good thing Moda isn’t naming after ice cream treats…I might be doomed.

  25. Jelly rolls and Charm packs are my favorite and I have lots of each! I’m searching for that perfect pattern using one of each from the same line…..then I could deplete my stash (somewhat). Pies are my favorite because my Mom makes the best apple and lemon meringue !!

  26. Thanks for sharing Mari’s email with us…it was so funny! I tend to pick up fat quarters since I find you can do so much with them. But charm packs often call to me, too.

  27. Lemon anything. And precursor of all sizes. I was just diagnosed with acid reflux disease, so I have to give up the chocolate and lemon versions… Thank goodness the fabric is still there for me!

  28. Fat Quarter Bundles are definitely my favorites, closely followed by layer cakes (I also get them in doubles).
    So many sweet cuts!
    My foodie fave is cake. Regular cake, cupcake, crumb cake, pound cake… Yup. Any Cake! With frosting please!

  29. So I am not alone in my “love of Moda Fabric”. This month it’s mini charm’s. Next month I’ll add some charms
    packs. Then it’s layer cake time. Last is yardage. My oh my I love it all. Thank you Carrie for another great posting.

  30. This was absolutely hilarious!!! What a fun letter !! I think I will stick to my favorite Layer Cakes and try to stay away from the ever indulgent cheesecakes, if it works for Mari it can work for me too, right 😉

  31. The Moda blogs are on my most anticipated blogs list. I am voting to regularly hear from Mari at Moda. Put a smile on my face. And Mari, you can workout at the fabric store by adding bolts to your weightlifting. You will quickly lose weight in the wallet. LOL

  32. I can’t resist buying charm squares. So many beautiful fabrics in a small package and you can do so many things with them. My favorite dessert today is blueberry cheesecake.

  33. I find myself using jellyrolls the most but I’d never turn down a precut of any size!!! And, cookies…gingersnaps, chocolate chip, oatmeal…I can’t turn those down, either!
    P.S. Mari’s letter is hysterical!

  34. Aside from the fat-quarter, it has to be layer cakes. More versatile. My favorite edible baked goods would be pie. Any kind!

  35. My favorite is the charm packs. I collect them and have no clue what I’ll do with them all. They’re reasonable in price and I can afford to buy the “whole line of fabric”. 🙂

  36. I finally have decided that layer cakes are my favorite pre-cut. With one layer cake, you automatically have 4 charm packs or the equivalent of a jelly roll, albeit in 10″ lengths of 2-1/2″ strips. So versatile!
    (Please don’t look askance at the plethora of charm packs I’ve purchased over the years, and seldom used in sewing projects!)

  37. I love charm packs but, if I need several of the same line, I grab a layer cake and slice it up! As for edible, I love pound cakes of any flavor. I made a Coconut Pound Cake for Easter and am planning on making a Lemon Pound Cake with Orange Glaze for the Kentucky Derby!

  38. My favorite item from the Moda Bake Shop is a Layer Cake… got a bunch of them! And my favorite dessert is my homemande Lemon Meringue Pie… need to bake and sew!!!!

  39. My favorites precuts are jelly rolls! Without a doubt! Favorite baked good? Wow, that’s a tough one. 5 flavor pound cake is right up there, that is the first thing that came to mind 🙂

  40. It’s time for a road trip!!! I live just up the road 50 miles from Mari….I must go see her! She gave me my first good belly laugh of the day! I love all things Moda and cannot help but gather charms (cookies…from now on) I also pick up handfuls of candies and a jelly roll or two. My favorite treats from the kitchen are bar cookies, they don’t crumble on my quilting as much as a cookie or cake.
    Thanks again, Carrie and Mari for making my day!

  41. Hi All: of course you realize it hard to pick a favourite, however, those awesome jelly rolls work wonders for me and have help me finish baby quilts in super speed and the borders for my “Junk Jean Rejuvenation Projects”. Thank you again for sharing the bake shop with me. Debra from Lethbridge AB, (currently enjoying sunny time in Phoenix). Take care

  42. Oh my, while I cracked up reading Mari’s letter She sure made me have a craving for two things…fabric and things I should not eat. My fave pre cuts are charm packs and jelly rolls and mini charm packs maybe I should eat the minis?

  43. I love fat quarters, jelly rolls, layer cakes, really….love them all! As far as my favorite baked good, probably just about anything with chocolate or something made with lemon, yum! Thanks so much for sharing Mari’s email! Truly LOVED it!

  44. My favorite would be the fat quarter bundles, even though I love them all. My favorite baked good would be Texas Sheet Cake, lots of yummy chocolate! Loved Mari’s email….so cool that Mr. Dunn called her. Thanks for sharing!

  45. I like charm packs & jelly rolls the best as there is just so many creative things you can make with them. I’m a pie lover, but never turn down a vanilla cake doughnut with chocolate frosting & peanuts or coconut.

  46. I love charm packs! Charm packs are versatile & fulfill the need for that “must have” new Moda line. They are also easier to hide and stash away from your husband who thinks you have WAY too much fabric. I love baked goods of all kinds but my favorite is pie & any kind will do.

  47. oh so pleased you published that letter………that is so much fun……….I like the layer cakes best I think……………although I have too many of all of them………I must get sewing with them…………need more hours in the day……………

  48. Thanks for publishing her letter. I like charm packs and cheesecake is my favorite desert. Yankee dutch quilting is where I buy 95% of my quilt fabrics. I would encourage everyone to check out Mari’s store and go her wonderful classes. They are so enjoyable and just as entertaining as this e-mail. some of us are so blessed to know her and get to shop at her shop and take her classes. Thanks Moda for publishing her story and I look forward to new products which I am sure she will bring in for us all to purchase.

  49. Well I just love me a fat quarter bundle! Candies & charm packs!
    The very best dessert EVER, southern pound cake still warm from the oven with a gentle crusty crust on top!
    I am glad Moda & Mr. Dunn published her story, I really enjoyed the laugh!

  50. My favorite precut is a charm pack. My favorite sweet is cake. I love the cute story… Wish I could blame those jelly rolls on my weight gan too.

  51. Cute story. I love charm packs….but you always need more than one! I need to go on a fabric diet too, but your darn company keeps coming out with fabric lines I can’t live without!

  52. I love them all! 🙂 Well, like you, I tend to grab 2 charm packs, so I LOVE that you call them cookies!
    Thanks for the giggles!

  53. Charm packs and layer cakes albeit I have a hard time figuring out what to do with layer cakes. Favorite dessert…Ina Garten’s Coconut Cupcakes and a good old Chocolate sheet cake from the Betty Crocker cake book. This was a fun post! Yea, mari

  54. Hmmm I think I Love the layer cake the best, followed by the jelly roll!, then the charm pack, ohh the list continues lol

  55. Layer cakes are my fave, in fabric and in food, and since I don’t eat the layer cake food anymore, I’d be content to live on layer cake fabric! Some of my friends have mentioned that my fabric collection could stand to go on a diet…I think they’re jealous.

  56. I really should love the bigger treats best, but I always gravitate to the charm packs and the mini charms… But then again, I am much more of a cookie person than a whole big cake person!!! Loved the letter! My husband is also my “personal trainer”…and he helps me stay “Sew Fit”….my motto for the last couple years, since I took up sewing in earnest 🙂

  57. My favorite fabric cuts are charm packs. And you know why? it’s because I became addicted to Schnibbles! Fast and fun, that’s my story. So now, who do I need to lay the blame for that? Huh, Miss Carrie???
    As far as calorie wise, the Cheesecake Factory is on my Do Not Enter list. MUCH too tempting and waist gaining.

  58. Mine is the jelly roll but my wallet says charms oh well I can still have the occasional jelly bean.

  59. I have an easy solution to the baking and eating. I’m allergic to gluten. So, when everyone else is eating all the high calorie goodies, I just eat one bite and then call it quits, knowing it is not worth the consequences my body will face later. Then I sew. Lucky for me, I love vegetables and fruits.

    I love the fat quarters best because I’m rather a newbie and don’t have a pattern preference yet. In another way, though, I’m finding that if I can get by with just a jelly roll, I can have many more of the new lines. It is impossible to enjoy all the new fabrics. I’m a fabric junkie to say the least.

    Now I must go make another healthy dinner…

  60. My very favorite baked good is true shortbread — made only with butter, flour, and sugar. Melt in your mouth calories — no need to chew. Shortbread — wonder what kind of fabric cut that would be? Short cuts? Suppose my favorite Moda cuts are layer cakes — big enough to make a block, small enough to afford! One cut one of our now long gone fabric shops used to sell were long yards. Half width, two yards long. Great for uncut borders! Miss those.

  61. I just cannot pass up those candy squares. I am looking for some patterns that just use squares. I have been following a gluten free diet for a couple of years now so most baked goods are out. Just give me some fruit and ice cream and I’m good.

  62. Charm packs are my favorite Moda pre-cut, and if the budget allows a Jelly Roll as a 2nd helping.
    No matter what time of year, Pumpkin pie rules 🙂

  63. I’d say that Fat Quarter Bundles are my favorite precut because of the versatility they allow, but Charm Packs are the most tempting for me to buy and hoard! My favorite baked good would be my Grandma’s homemade cake doughnuts. She’s gone now and I’ll never have anything as good as her doughnuts, but I have many memories of eating them at her house.

  64. I really love Jelly Rolls. I’ve made so many quilts and if I plan just right, I can make a couple of table toppers or baby quilts out of one jelly roll with a little background fabric. Since I’m on the little chunky side, I try not to like desserts a lot; however, I believe my all time favorite dessert would be a cherry pie!

  65. What a great letter — thanks for sharing. I’ve been loving layer cakes lately because there’s just so much you can do with them. But as for real cake I only love it if it’s cheesecake.

  66. I’ve often had these same thoughts . . . I love all these precuts but they give me fat quarters!

  67. What an imaginative, funny letter. Thank you for sharing a few moments of laughter, we can never have too much of that…or layer cakes. I must like layer cakes best because they make me think of carrot cake with cream cheese icing.

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