October 18, 2023
Artist Spotlight: Sandy Gervais
When Sandy Gervais was a teen, she dreamed of life as an artist. Specifically, she wanted to design greeting cards. Her high school counselor instead encouraged a nice, stable career as a gym teacher—advice Sandy was happy to ignore.
Sandy did start her own greeting card business, but she didn't stop there. In 1992, Sandy founded a quilt pattern company, and in 1994 she began designing fabric. She is now one of Riley Blake’s most celebrated designers, known especially for sweet seasonal collections.
Learn more about Sandy below:
What is your favorite part of the quilting process?
- Designing the quilt pattern. Least favorite, proofing the pattern.
Who are your favorite fabric designers?
Riley Blake Designs Designers!
What notion or sewing tool are you most dependent on?
Hands down my rotary cutter and mat. I could not imagine cutting all the pieces in a quilt with scissors. The rotary cutter was not invented until 1979. It was invented by Yoshio Okada, the founder of the Olfa Company.
How were you introduced to sewing and quilting?
My mother sewed all of our clothing. When I was very little I sat on a chair by her sewing machine while she sewed. I would try to guess where the little screw on the wheel would stop each time she stopped the machine. At the age of eight, she taught me to sew my first garment, a gathered skirt, and a simple drawstring bottom top. It was my first 4-H project and my first blue ribbon received at the county fair.
What was the most frustrating sewing project you ever worked on?
A jumpsuit. I am long-waisted, therefore I always had to make the adjustment where you cut the pattern across the waistline and add a spacer to make the waist longer. (If you are not a garment maker, I am sure I have already lost you.) When I taped the top and bottom of the jumpsuit to the spacer, I inadvertently flipped the leg pieces. I now had a right top with a left leg and a left top with a right leg. The only solution other than throwing the thing in the rag bag was to cut it apart and sew the right top to the right leg and the left top to the left leg. Of course, once I did this, I lost almost the whole inch that I had just added making it too short-waisted...I did not wear that jumpsuit very often.
What occupation would you like to try if sewing/making wasn’t an option?
I would want Iris Apfel's job. And her wardrobe! And her glasses! And her jewelry!
What fabric have you been hoarding/saving the longest?
l still have pieces from my first line of fabric, which by the way consisted of 99 pieces. It is almost 30 years old... I am not sure why I still have it. I'm sure my kids will be asking that same question someday.
Describe your perfect day.
A day at the cabin with the grandkids. There is no greater joy than watching the excitement of a little kid catching a fish.
Winter Nights Table Runner Featured in BLOCK Magazine
Sandy’s designs are infused with country charm and plenty of color. “I like people to look at my designs and see a little piece of me; I like them to recognize a bit of Sandy in everything I do.”
Dive deeper into the world of Sandy Gervais in BLOCK Magazine vol. 10 Issue 5. You’ll love her Winter Nights Table Runner and get an inside look at 30 years of incredible fabric design.
More information: www.piecesfrommyheart.net.
Published by Danae M.