MD Sewist Spotlight: Cathy Fowler

Every other week, we’ll be profiling one of our customers to find out a little bit about their sewing life. This week the MD Sewist Spotlight is on Cathy Fowler.

How long have you been sewing?

I asked my mom to teach me to sew when I was about 10 and although I’m not sure she thought I’d have the patience to do it I ended up loving it.  I made tons of clothes in high school, and when I moved to NY City after college I continued to sew a bit but when my apartment was broken into and my sewing machine stolen that ended that. I couldn’t afford to replace it at that time and I got kind of busy with my publishing career for the next 20 years. I got a new machine in 2010 (just before Modern Domestic opened), took a quilting class and fell in love with what is happening with modern fabrics and quilting and now sew pretty much every day.

 Tell us about a favorite recent sewing project.

There are a few things I made recently that are my favorites. One is a quilt I made as a graduation gift for my sweet niece, Elise.  I’d seen a picture of this lovely bento box quilt on One Flew Over and used the photo as inspiration.  

It was a nice way to highlight the Kaffe Fassett Millefiore fabric in blue which I’d wanted to use for a while.  It is so vibrant and has great detail even when cut into little pieces.


I really like textures in fabrics and I saw a pillow online that cost about $125 and thought, “I can make that.”  So I took a yard of fabric I had in the closet and did a lot of pressing, a lot of pleat sewing, stitched the pleats down in one direction and then the other. It makes me happy whenever I look at it. Plus it cost about $14 including the zipper and pillow form.

Oh, one more thing I made that was a lot of fun were some stuffed dinosaurs based on my son’s drawings.  We got kind of carried away and I made 12 of them as party favors for his friends.


What is your favorite sewing tip/tool?

Aside from my amazing Bernina sewing machine (purchased from Modern Domestic, of course) my favorite can’t-live-without-them tools are my Gingher lightweight embroidery scissors – I have two pairs just in case I can’t find one.  And those Clover Pen Style Chaco Liners – love ‘em!



Where do you sew?

I sew in my dining/living room.  Even though sometimes the sewing clutter gets to me I just feel too secluded in my office.  I have a nice big window I can look out, I can have a fire in the fireplace, and my son and husband can hang out in there too while I sew.  And although I yearn for a tall cutting table like MD has, for now it is great to have the dining room table space right there.

What sewing project(s) do you plan to tackle next?

Once I finish some holiday presents I have a few things waiting for me:
  • I have a queen size quilt for our bed that needs to be basted and quilted.  I used those fabulous new Lotta Jansdotter fabrics and I can’t wait to finish it.
  • I have a Vogue pattern and some luscious brown wool for a jacket waiting for me to tackle. (I hope I remember how to lay out a pattern.)
  • And I want to do some more things with fabric textures.  I picked up a copy of Stitch Magic by Alison Reid, which is all about stitching fabric into new forms, and it is simply inspirational.  Maybe I’ll get good enough at the techniques that someday I’ll teach a class at MD. That would be fun.

4 Responses to “MD Sewist Spotlight: Cathy Fowler”

  1. autumn

    what a great quilt – and i love the little sewing space!

  2. Kate

    LOVE Cathy’s bento!

  3. Patti

    Wow! Love the pillow so much! The dinosaurs were a great idea!

  4. Marty

    Everything she makes is beautiful. The dinosaurs were a stroke of genius. What a wonderful statement to a child about the value of their artwork!

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