What drew you to sewing and quilting?
Joanie: Our mom sewed forever so she was always sewing around us. She taught us how to sew. Each of us kind of came into it at our own time. Melanie has always sewn. I didn't start sewing for myself until further into college. We started quilting once we got into the industry; we started out creating booth décor [for companies for Quilt Market] and then really fell into the quilting end of it.
How did you come up with the name, Tailormade by Design?
We were tossing around terms from the industry. When we started, and it was a lot about booth design, the idea of tailoring what we did to what people needed. So we came up with Tailormade by Design.
How do you typically work together?
Joanie: When we started, we lived a little more than an hour apart. It was very easy to run over to Melanie's house (she had a studio space), and work together. We work best when we can bounce ideas off each other. A few years ago, Melanie moved a couple states away. It's been an adjustment, but the Internet helps—we just send more emails and make more phone calls. We're definitely on speed dial for each other! We do meet 3-4 times per year and take advantage of that time to get a lot done in person.
We both design and sew, but I probably end up sewing more than Melanie does. She is very good at organizing and project managing, so she takes on more of that side of the business. Also, with her graphic design background, she has the final say on color/balance, how everything plays together. I'll usually write the patterns, and then Melanie will do the graphics, layout, and edit what I wrote. It's really great to have another set of eyes.
Describe your quilting styles.
Joanie: We both like all styles. But I think we each lean one way: I'm a bit more traditional, and Melanie is more contemporary.
What's a benefit of working together?
Joanie: We are really very supportive of each other. There aren't many workplaces where you get the kind of support family gives you. We have a really good understanding of each others' strengths and challenges. The best part? Working with my best friend.
How about a challenge of working together?
Joanie: The distance has been a challenge we've needed to adjust to. Also, when we're together, sometimes it's hard to turn it off and just be with our family.
What's one surprising thing about working together?
Joanie: When we were younger, we always had coordinated outfits for every holiday, and Melanie was very annoyed she had to look like her little sister. Now many years later we're together all the time and everyone assumes we're related because we look so much alike. Our mom always teases us and says 'I never would have picked you two to work together.' Now we're together all the time and end up looking the same a lot.
Here's a sampling of some of Melanie and Joanie's work:
Hearth & Home
We used Melanie’s fireplace hearth as our inspiration for this quilt, made using Interlude by Michele D'Amore. The brick work pattern is just like this, and it made just a beautiful quilt.
Find more about this quilt and two additional Interlude projects designed by this duo here.
|Photo: Quilt magazine, April-May 2013|
Three quilts we designed using Manhattan Modern for Benartex's Quilt Market booth. So fun to see how different the fabrics look with both modern and traditional blocks.
Modern Baggage: We wanted to make a fun, take everywhere tote for Op Art Reflections from Kanvas, a fun geometric line.