top of page

goal, format, inspiration

For projects, I usually begin to visualize with soft focus and a very specific end goal. First, I decide what type of project I wish to create; apparel, art, quilt, home dec, etc. 

I intentionally leave some decisions "in the wind" so I won't get bored. To best visualize at this stage, I might doodle a little on paper, but I always open my BERNINA DesignerPlus Software. In a flash there, I can rule ideas in or out with speed and confidence.

Oh to be inspired...

The type of project in mind sets up the format for all of the other design decisions. In the first image I was preparing to upcycle a medium weight, green wool sweater using BERNINA needlepunch. The ceramic button at hand suggests colors and also shapes to consider. Roving shingles prepared for felt making are laid a bit thick. My aim is to convert the sweater into a jacket.

Inspiration is often a constellation for me. It arrived this time as an expressive impulse plus a desire to create lightweight, yet strong felt. I planned to add silk and tencel fibers for luster. A thin, nylon sweater is the format.


It was springtime and among the small leaves outside my kitchen window, I'd recently seen baby birds popping their heads out of the nest for the very first time. I mused I could do the same in this sweater. :-)

What does a format do for me? 

Commiting to a format, I determine the desired size and shape for my project. It's the container for my thoughts and all of the creativity that happens next. Within any chosen format, I have found that creativity has boundless room to flourish.

color begins and continues

I love to paw through my stash to select just the combo of materials for the project goals and my color mood. I begin with just a few items and grow it from there.


Another important consideration is how much of which material or color I might like to use. Proportion, as it turns out, is kind of a big deal.

In your comfort zone and still learning... 

To advance to the next step, I use selected materials to point me toward techniques, considering the project type too. How will it drape? Will it wash well, hold up to a toddler, etc.? Which machines and accessory feet will work best?

skills and expressive intent working together

Materials affect my selection of techniques and sewing equipment for the project.


My machine settings and accessories are tested with the materials in use. I repeat tests until satisfied.


With that "bouquet" of technology in place for the project, I can return to advancing through to the end of the project, focusing on arrangement of the design elements and most of all, my intent. I rule out whatever distracts from the inspiration that initiated the project.

To arrive at my end goal...

Blank index cards are my friend. Test swatches selected are stapled to cards with my notes. These are great for future projects too. In the end, this preparation allows me to concentrate on the color and design decisions along the way. I am free then, to play and enjoy creating the expression through to completion. Off to the next project, the process begins again.

Find a process that works for you!

bottom of page