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Bake Shop Beginnings

Bake Shop Beginnings

Written by: 
Linzee McCray

So many quilts, so little time. And yet, there are days when I want to sew something, but I’m not sure what. That’s when it’s time for the Moda Bake Shop.

The Bake Shop has its origins in 2009, when Moda's marketing director, Lissa Alexander (AKA Modalissa), and web guru Angela Yosten got it up and running. Its original purpose was to help quilters figure out how to use precuts, those enticing bundles of coordinated, ready-to-sew fabric that first made an appearance in fall of 2006, when Moda introduced Jelly Rolls at Quilt Market. Since then, the Bake Shop has posted hundreds of patterns, created by dozens of “chefs,” and the result is a vast archive of patterns for quilters of every skill level.

At the helm of the Bake Shop since 2012 is Lisa Calle, a former technical writer and the founder of the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild.

In addition to posting projects (The Bake Shop averages between 7,000 and 10,000 hits daily), Lisa reviews applications from new chefs, helps chefs with their requests for fabric for the projects, and keeps track of which projects are posting when. (She’s also designed a number of projects herself.) Lisa says that though the Bake Shop has a good roster of chefs, she’s always on the lookout for more.

“Because there’s nothing new in quilting, I like seeing things that don’t immediately look familiar to me,” she says. She also appreciates projects that make efficient use of precuts, so that quilters get good value for their money. And I like projects that don’t require a lot of cutting, so you can just sew.”

If you scroll through the list of “chefs” who have successfully fulfilled that criteria you’ll find a few names familiar to lovers of Moda fabric. Vanessa Christensen, Vanessa Goertzen, Sherri McConnell, April Rosenthal, and Corey Yoder all designed Bake Shop projects before they were Moda fabric designers.

Sherri McConnell's contributions include the Easy As Pie Layer Cake Quilt and the Four-Square Layer Cake Quilt.

Sherri McConnell's Easy as Pie Layer Cake Quilt from the Moda Bake Shop.
Sherri's Hometown Summer Quilt was included in the Sweet Celebrations with Moda Bake Shop Chefs book.

“It was really exciting when my projects were chosen—I hadn’t published any of my own patterns yet and it gave me the confidence to do that, and to submit my designs to magazines." Since then Sherri’s published two books of her own patterns and in May 2015 started designing fabric with her daughter Chelsi. Their latest line is Creekside, will be in stores this fall.

 

The thrill of getting to play with brand new Moda fabrics inspired Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique to send her first project to the Bake Shop.

“When I realized anyone could submit, I jumped at the chance,” she says. She’s had a number of projects since then, including tuffets and Figgy Pudding, one of her personal favorites. “It uses my first line of fabric Into the Woods, and it was the first chance I had to show how great red and greens looked together. It allowed me to show a different side to the collection and also gain wider exposure—everyone loves a free pattern!”

Her new line is Olive's Flower Market.

 

April Rosenthal saw the Bake Shop as an opportunity to get her pattern company, Prairie Grass Patterns, in the sights of a larger audience. It also helped her hone her pattern-writing skills.

“It was a great way to test my instruction writing and see what style of instruction worked best for people,” she says. “Plus, free fabric and a project I got to keep was super fun!” Here's a photo of Starburst, stitched from her latest collection, Sweet Marion. 

 

Getting to use Moda fabric was a big draw for Corey Yoder, as well.

In the year her first project was accepted, she designed five quilts. “Dreamy Moda fabric for free? I was hooked!” she says. Having projects accepted for the Bake Shop gave her the confidence to submit patterns to quilting magazines and led to her writing her own book, Playful Petals. And when she felt ready to submit fabric designs, Moda was the first place she sent them. “It was a no brainer! Through the years Moda has been topnotch and I can honestly say the Bake Shop was instrumental in getting me to where I am today.” Corey's Lulu Lane line is out in stores—she says this Backroads pattern is her current favorite.

Corey Yoder's Backroads quilt stitched in her Lulu Lane fabric.

And Vanessa Christensen? These days she's best known for her ombré fabrics, but she’s got another claim to fame.

Vanessa's Criss-Cross Applesauce quilt in her ombré fabrics.

Her Braided Rag Rug,  Easter Basket, and Baby Life Quilt make up half of the Bake Shop’s top six most popular posts ever. (The others are Off the Grid Nine-Patch Quilt, Woven Jelly Roll Rug, and Jelly Roll Floor Pillows.)

Lisa Calle says that the popularity of numerous non-quilting projects indicates that textile lovers of all sorts, not just quilters, enjoy precuts. How about you—have you used the Bake Shop to find projects for your precuts? Do you have a favorite? Have you ever thought of becoming a chef? Tell us your story!

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