We got the chance to speak to the talented designer and author of A Spoonful of Sugar, Lisa Cox. We wanted to know all about where she gets the inspiration for her bright and pattern-filled designs and her favourite project from her book.
When did you learn to sew?
I come from a family that values hand made. My Mum made all of our clothes when we were children and I used to love watching her sew on her old Singer sewing machine that was set up on the kitchen table. It was fun accompanying her to fabric stores and flicking through pattern books and selecting the perfect fabric. She taught me the basics and encouraged me to have a go. My early projects were making dolls clothes.
I bought my first sewing machine at 18 years and started making my own clothes when I was a university student, and then progressed to making home wares and baby clothes/toys when I started my own family. When my children were small, I loved to escape to my sewing machine during their nap-time to make up a new toy or outfit for them.
When I lived in Houston, I attended the International Quilt Festival in 2000 and that inspired me to make quilts. I checked out some quilting books from the local library and taught myself to quilt. Since then it has developed into a passion.
What inspires your designs?
I have had the opportunity to live in a number of countries including France, Norway, and USA and have also travelled extensively with my family. I have been inspired by the cultures, handicrafts, and crafting materials I have found in my travels. My family are used to me searching out fabric, craft, and baking supplies when we are on holiday. I am constantly inspired by everything around me. More recently I have started “collecting” vintage haberdashery supplies. I love the old sewing notions and patterns and these inspire me.
Do you have a favourite project from A Spoonful of Sugar?
One of my favourite projects is the Love to Bake Wall Art as it combines two of my loves – baking and sewing. The aqua stand mixer matches the one I use in my kitchen. I love to bake sweet treats for my family and friends and are usually found in either the sewing room or the kitchen, working on my next project.
I love that you use a lot of patterned fabric in one project, what process do you use to match these contrasting fabrics together?
With fabric, I can’t resist florals, polka dots, and ginghams. Small retro prints are also a favourite. I am addicted to vintage haberdashery supplies and have a growing collection of old spools, buttons, and notions. I am drawn to bright colours – and especially love aqua, pink, and red. I love to combine quilting fabrics with solids such as linen, osnaburg, and quilters homespun in my projects. The solid colours, especially white, really help the colour to pop. I have a weakness for Japanese textiles, and love the cute (“kawaii”) cheerful prints, that are often printed on linen or linen blends. When starting a new project, I usually audition a number of fabrics from my stash and lay them out. I don’t start sewing until I am happy with the combination of fabrics.
I search for vintage sewing supplies at flea markets, thrift shops, and garage sales. Adding old buttons, lace, or vintage fabric is a great way to add some interest to a sewing project and make it a one of a kind creation.
What’s the most impressive thing you’ve ever created?
I am always one to jump right in and the first quilt I made was a queen sized quilt that was completely hand quilted. I basically taught myself to quilt during that project and it is still well used today and one of my favourite makes.
You can pre-order A Spoonful of Sugar now and you will receive a free eBook, so you can start creating some of the wonderful projects from the book straight away. You can also get free sewing tools holder pattern on our blog, which is a bonus project from the book.