Though she grew up with quilters on both her mother’s and father’s side of the family, Corey Yoder really wasn’t interested in quilting. Then she visited stores near her home in Ohio’s Amish country and fell in love with fabric.
“I’d buy it without knowing what I’d do with it,” she says “This went on for awhile until I thought ‘This is ridiculous!’” Corey’s mom suggested she make a quilt. “I found a maple leaf pattern and chose the fabrics and cut them out using templates and scissors—no rotary cutter—then sent it over to my mom to sew. We did this for a while and eventually it became apparent I needed to learn to sew myself. So I did!”
This love of textiles is why Corey is especially excited to be one of Moda’s newest designers. “Fabric is what sucks me in,” she says. “I enjoy all kinds, modern and traditional, and love designing fabrics and quilts.” Her first fabric line, Prairie, will be making its debut this month at Quilt Market. “It uses some of my favorite warm, sherbert-y colors with small scale patterns, because I like smaller piecing,” she says.
Around that same time she’ll be debuting patterns to accompany her fabric. Designing quilts isn’t new to Corey—her patterns appear in magazines from American Patchwork and Quilting and McCall’s to Fat Quarterly and Stitch, as well as in the Moda Bake Shop and Moda’s Sweet Celebrations book. Last year she published her patterns in, Playful Petals, which focuses on raw-edge, fusible applique, a technique she used extensively in the kid’s clothing she made under the name Little Miss Shabby.
That business got its start in 2006, when Corey dressed her first daughter, Chloe, in clothes she made for her. Friends asked if she’d make some for them and Little Miss Shabby was born. Corey’s second daughter, Elonie, was born in 2008 and that was when Corey returned to quiltmaking. “I’d made a lot of applique jeans and while I enjoyed the design aspect, I didn’t so much like making the same things over and over,” says Corey. The online quilting community called to Corey and she participated in sew-a-longs and bees. “One year I did eight or nine bees,” she says. “I tend to jump into things with excitement and vigor. If one is fun, nine will be nine times as fun!”
While this attitude sometimes gets Corey in over her head, she says that if quilting weren’t fun she wouldn’t do it anymore. She likes to remind others it’s okay not to make every part of a quilt yourself. “If you don’t enjoy quilting, it’s okay to send your quilts to a quilter,” she says. “Traditional piecing not your thing? Go improv! If you’re not enjoying some part of it then change it up, try something different, or farm out the part you don’t like. Get rid of the rules and have fun with what you’re doing, because it opens up a world of possibilities.”
Part of what’s fun for Corey is sharing stitching with her Mom, who is helping sew samples for Market, and her daughters. In recent weeks Corey and her mom have set up sewing machines at Corey’s house and Chloe and Elonie have joined them, cutting, gluing, ironing, and jumping on the sewing machines when Corey and her mom are taking a break. “Chloe is making funny little stuffed animals out of the Prairie scraps,” says Corey with a laugh. “There are stuffed animals all over the place!” Chloe’s also helping her mom stay focused in the frantic pre-Market days. “She’s only nine but she said ‘Mom, you just need to make a list and check it off every day and you’ll be fine.’” Chloe is obviously wise beyond her years.
For more about Corey, including some free patterns and tutorials, visit her blog Little Miss Shabby.