Design Collective

The Stash Books® Design Collective is a series of craft sewing books that showcases select groups of fresh, contemporary designers. The books in this series feature unique projects created by artists with a presence on popular websites such as Flickr and Etsy.

Little Birds
Lunch Bags!
Countdown Calendars
Zakka Style


Bari J. Ackerman is a product/textile designer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She owns Bari J Designs, where she sells limited edition handbags and accessories as well as her line of “Keeping it Real” sewing patterns. To date, she has created two fabric lines for Windham Fabrics—Full Bloom and Art Journal. She is the author of Inspired to Sew by Bari J. and has contributed to Little Birds.

Amy Adams is a UK-based textile artist specializing in designing and making softies from an ever-increasing catalog of patterns. These softies are available as one-off pieces and also as published patterns. Her work mixes vintage and recycled fabrics and felted wool, with a dash of hand-stitched embroidery. She is the author of Countryside Softies and has contributed to Little Birds.

Heidi Allred started Front Street Designs LLC in January 2009. “I had a hard time finding patterns that I loved, so I decided to draw my own!” Heidi started selling online, and in the fall of 2009 began selling in stores. As a mother of 3, she stays busy running from here to there but of course she stitches and sews every chance she gets. She has contributed to Little Birds.

Chrystalleena Beauchamp I have always had a love for crafts, thanks to my grandmother, who taught me to be creative as a child. My main passion is sewing. There is just something amazing about cutting up fabric, sewing it together, and watching as it takes shape into something you have created. Most of what I make is inspired by my daughter, such as this lunch bag. I had been looking for an alternative to store-bought lunch pails and needed something to keep her food cold and that could be easily cleaned, all while still looking trendy. Chrystalleena contributed to Lunch Bags!

Lucy Blaire I graduated from the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University with a major in photography. After college, I worked in a custom drapery shop, where I acquired skills that I eventually used to open Lucy Blaire Creations, where I am both designer and seamstress. My online Etsy shop is just one of many accomplishments in this new venture. I spend my time running my shop, doing freelance work for other shops and interior designers, and writing books. Lucy contributed to Lunch Bags!.


Leslie Bowman I first started making these lunch bags when my mom complained that the commercial ones weren’t big enough to hold both her potato chips and her water bottle without crushing the chips. I made a bag for her that was taller than usual but that could easily be squashed down for a smaller lunch. Most of what I create is practical yet imaginative. Often my inspiration is something that I wish I had but can’t find. My pup and I live and work in Pennsylvania. Leslie contributed to Lunch Bags!

Strongly influenced by a childhood spent with her seamstress grandma, Abigail Brown’s work involves collecting new and used materials, which she uses to create surfaces rich in pattern, color, and texture. “My work centers around animals because they give me comfort, they are truly heartwarming, they make me smile…and that is the same reaction I hope to evoke in others. She has contributed to Little Birds.

Eleanor Bruce’s family loves to design new things with old stuff. “My daughters and I create creatures, mostly owls, out of felt and recycled fabrics.” Their creatures are mostly one of a kind, made without patterns. “We’d love to have you visit our shop and see our most recent creations.” She has contributed to Little Birds.


Jamie Christina’s creative journey began with her online fabric store, Phat Fabric. The abundant assortment of fabrics gave her creative energy to make clothing, aprons, and peg dolls for her store, Pretty Ditty. The successful reception of Jamie’s clothing creations made it only natural for her to direct some of that creative energy into pattern making. Her patterns combine practical engineering with concise instructions. She has contributed to Little Birds.

Denise Clark Working in downtown Baltimore, I noticed that many women on their way to work carried expensive, fashionable purses, but their lunch bags did not express the same fashion sense. After trial and error, I created the lunch purse to give some added style to women who carry their lunch to work. The Pattypan Shop is the creation of three daughters working with their moms to provide cute and “carryable” items that are unique and innovative. With four sewers and one yarn artisan, the shop offers a variety of products for just about anyone with a classic, unique sense of style. The most popular item has been my lunch purses. Denise contributed to Lunch Bags!

Laura Clempson The award-winning label Cupcakes for Clara presents a handmade aabundant assortment of fabrics gave me creative energy to make collection of beautiful toys, stationery, and home wares. A set of fictional twins, Clara and Macy—one grumpy and bossy, one quiet and sweet—set the tone for the collection. Every product is made with love, loveliness, and care. She has contributed to Little Birds.

Samantha Cotterill started mummysam as a means to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind fiber art inspired by her English upbringing. Each piece is lovingly made with 100% wool felt, cotton, and pure lambswool stuffing (straight from an East Coast farm!). She has contributed to Little Birds and wrote Fanciful Felties from mummysam.

Leanne Dougherty I am a Kansas girl who has always loved art and—yes—craft! Influenced particularly by Victorian and prairie fashions, the circus, and ethnic folk costumes, I began designing my own unique fashions. From my Etsy store, I sell one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories that are romantic and whimsical, but also chic and modern. My other pursuits include knitting, gardening, and supporting handmade and local businesses. Leanne contributed to Lunch Bags!

Yoko Drain Yokomono Studio specializes in modern bags and home accessories with a Japanese aesthetic. Blend two parts midcentury modern with one part functional Tokyo subway system, and stir! All Yokomono Studio items are conceived, cut, sewn, and stitched by me in my Berkeley, California, studio. My one and only goal is to create unique, well-designed handcrafted items that make their owners happy. Yoko contributed to Lunch Bags!

Alicia Diane Durand of This Little Fish combines a strong sense of color and childlike drawings to create dynamic, playful, engaging fiber art. She loves to share her stories with markers and fabric. Her quilts are fun to make and a joy to give or a treasure to keep. She has contributed to Little Birds.


Lisa Fell loves embroidery and all things crafty. She designs all the patterns she sells. Lazy May is the home of cute, quirky, and original iron-on embroidery patterns. Quick and easy to use, Lazy May iron-on patterns lead to great results—fast. She has contributed to Little Birds.


Jane Fitzpatrick I’ve always had an affinity for anything handmade, and I’ve enjoyed needlecrafts all my life. After friends and relatives started requesting handmade gifts, I realized that many others also shared my love for such items, and this led to my becoming a professional dollmaker. Now I like to mix things up and work on other arts, but I always find myself coming back to fibers. My focus is on quilting, totes, and accessories, using the gorgeous designer fabrics on the market. Making eco-friendly, reusable, useful items from these beautiful fabrics is something that gives me great pleasure. Jane contributed to Lunch Bags!

Shannon Fowler-Wardrep I was born and raised in San Jose, California, and consider myself the third generation of very creative individuals who always encouraged a passion for learning and creating art. My grandmother taught me to crochet at the age of eight. In 2007, I started selling my crochet goods online. Largely influenced by the simplicity and vibrating colors of the 60s and 70s, today my handmade creations mostly consist of crocheted wearables/usables and kitschy hair accessories. I live in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with my equally creative and supportive husband and our three children. Shannon contributed to Lunch Bags!

Karen and Rebecca Garcia Dirtsa is the creation of mother-and-daughter team Karen and Rebecca Garcia. We began creating custom textile goods as an outgrowth of our love of fabric, colors, and patterns. Mom Karen has many years of sewing experience, creating apparel and home decorating projects and teaching students to create their own beautiful quilts and handiwork. She is a top-notch cook, loves to read, and dabbles in many crafts, including basketry, beading, and stenciling, to name just a few. Rebecca loves form and design in addition to color and pattern. She studied American arts and material at Yale University and earned a master’s degree in American decorative arts at the Winterthur Museum. Her studies have informed both her personal and professional creative designs, which can be viewed at Karen and Rebecca contributed to Lunch Bags!

Nancy DeWeir Geaney learned her sewing technique from her seventh-grade home ec teacher, as well as at home, from her three sisters, mom, and grandmother. She went on to become a fashion model, and Vogue Patterns magazine even did a feature story, “Nancy Sews” (photo courtesy of Vogue Butterick Patterns— thanks James Bosco!). The needles and pins were put away for a time when her daughter and son were small, but emerged again with a vengeance about ten years ago. With the inspiration and encouragement of Sis Boom designer Jennifer Paganelli, Nancy started designing and sewing quilts of her own. She has contributed to Little Birds.

Christine Hmiel I am the designer behind Unspeakable Visions, a small-scale, homebased studio that encourages the enjoyment of simple pleasures through handmade goods. The collections are thoughtful, deliberate, and limited. Each item is made with quality materials and careful craftsmanship to create a lasting heirloom. From pure linen tea towels with original block-printed designs to reusable cotton lunch bags and quilted coasters, the goods are a celebration of a simpler, more meaningful appreciation for handmade craft. Christine contributed to Lunch Bags!

Debbie Hogan I have been sewing and crafting for as long as I can remember. As a designer, I find it very satisfying to visualize a style and to figure out the mechanics of putting it all together. With each iteration of a design, I learn more about the structure of bags. Often, inspiration comes from the beautiful fabrics available today. Other times, the challenge is trying to find the fabric to complement the design I envision. Debbie contributed to Lunch Bags!

Melanie Hurlston is an Australian pattern designer working under the pattern label Melly & me. She designs a range of contemporary sewing patterns that include bright and quirky toys and wearable purses, as well as fun, modern quilts. She aims to design items that are original, fun, and achievable in a day, as well as being completely usable in everyday life. She has contributed to Little Birds.

Elizabeth Hutton My lifelong love of sewing has become a fabric-overflowing-thecloset-size hobby. I try to come up with fun, creative ways to use my fabrics and share my ideas. This bag pattern came about because my son had several sets of wood blocks and nothing to store them in. So I designed a fabric basket with a drawstring top. I then realized all the fun possibilities. I downsized the bag, and voilà—lunch bag! Now we have fun fabric lunch bags that are washable and unique to each individual. Elizabeth contributed to Lunch Bags!

Catherine Janda I named my handbag company, May.tree.ark, after my grandmother May, whose values of perfection and dedication to making useful things are the soul of my business. My handmade bags are simple yet sophisticated. Each is built with organization in mind—to tote around our modern marvels like cell phones and iPods, all while looking charming. Catherine contributed to Lunch Bags!.

Janice Kalin I grew up with a creative mom who taught me very early the ins and outs of a sewing machine and the rewards and satisfaction of creating. When my own daughter was born, she became the inspiration behind my Busy Little Hands business, where I sell blankets, totes, and other handmade items for children. Seeing what interests my daughter, I have designed toys and accessories to make children’s lives more fun. With all the toy recalls, it is nice to know how and where things are made. And they are always handmade with love. Janice contributed to Lunch Bags!

Robin Kinglsey has been indulging in needlework of some kind or another it seems forever! It began with very primitive and simple embroidery when pregnant with her son over 40 years ago. Now needlework in the form of Bird Brain Designs has become a terrific livelihood for her and her sisters, Tina. Embroidery continues to be her favorite needlework, especially redwork—the most relaxing type of embroidery!  She has contributed to Little Birds.

Christina Lane I am a stay-at-home mom to one very active little boy living in Vancouver, Washington. Having grown up around crafting and sewing of all kinds, I later gained a love of quilting and fabric hoarding. I enjoy many forms of creating: fabric, yarn, paper, and digital photography, to name just a few. I enjoy creating tutorials that are easy to follow and that will get people crafting. Christina contributed to Lunch Bags!

Kimberly Laws is a mixed-media collage and assemblage artist. She generally works with paper but is never far from her sewing machine, as most of her pieces feature paper, fabric, vintage lace, and trim stitched together. “I am an avid ‘junker,’ and many of my vintage treasures find their way into my work.” She has contributed to Little Birds.

Quenna Lee I have enjoyed a lifelong love of creating, from doll dresses and granny square afghans to self-designed knitwear, and finally to sewing fabric accessories. My online store, Blissful, offers fun yet functional wallets and handbags to counteract the preponderance of black apparel. Designs are handcrafted with love and attention to color, detail, and durability. Along with satisfying my creative drive, Blissful gives me a viable reason to continually add to my overflowing stash of Japanese, retro, and floral prints. Quenna contributed to Lunch Bags!

Joan Leppek After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in package design, I set to work thinking outside the box. Creating custom boat canvas and interiors was my main focus before I began designing bags and clothing. My current company, Boneshaker Bags, was developed to meet the need for a more aesthetically and environmentally appealing bicycle bag. Boneshaker Bags are made from vintage and reclaimed materials whenever possible, with every bag containing at least 25% recycled materials. Joan contributed to Lunch Bags!

Stephanie Lopez I am a self-taught sewer specializing in custom sewing. My primary interest lies in uniting an amazing fabric with a functional item, such as a clothespin apron or grocery bags. I sell to people who are living a lifestyle that believes in buying from small local merchants who are doing what they love—like I am! Stephanie contributed to Lunch Bags!

Susan Lowe Heaney I love to sew, create, inspire, share, and, most of all, teach the craft of sewing. Sewing with juice pouches began with a single small purse, and ideas continue to grow into new creations. This lunch bag was created one year during back-to-school time. The side water bottle holder was created to help prevent spills. The sandwich wrap is a new idea to help diminish the use of disposable plastic baggies. I wish all the readers of this book creative sewing! Susan contributed to Lunch Bags!

Sandra Kay McCormick I taught myself to sew 14 years ago, and it’s the best addiction a girl can have. My designs come from a desire to add a bit of comfort and a bit of whimsy to my day. I find inspiration in pretty much everything. A touch, smell, or beautiful fabric is usually enough to get the spark going. I get such a thrill when people who have bought my items take the time to write a note telling me how much they love them. My hope is to continue to design and create until the sun gives up its rays. Sandra contributed to Lunch Bags!

Margaret Oomen, a rural physician and textile artist, draws her inspiration from her treasure-hunting family, her scientific and medical background, and her great love of the natural world. Her work has been featured in Country Living magazine, Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, Elle Décor SA,, the ReadyMade blog, Whip Up, the blog, Softies Central, and Plush You. She has contributed to Little Birds.

Kimberly Paglia It all began when Grandma gave me my first crochet hook in kindergarten. I’ve always had the undeniable urge to create. As a child, times were tough, but that didn’t stop me. From dryer-lint Barbie wear to toilet-paper Christmas ornaments, I always stayed creative, using whatever materials I could find. These days I cannot sit through a movie or long car trip without some project in hand. My focus is on creating items that support a sustainable lifestyle. Rural western Pennsylvania is my home, where I live a blissful life with my husband of ten years and our two darling little boys. Kimberly contributed to Lunch Bags!

Anita Peluso designs quilt patterns sold primarily through a local quilt shop and distributed by a local fabric manufacturer. Between designing and making quilts, she teaches beginning quilting techniques and blogs about her quilting adventures. She has contributed to Little Birds.


Annika Rau I launched Bugga Bugs—Heart-Felt Fun in the spring of 2008. This pattern shop is dedicated to childhood imagination and creativity. Popular in the pattern world are my simple step-by-step instructions and beautiful photography. My patterns create items that turn out beautifully time and time again, even for the novice. Always on the lookout for my latest designs, I find inspiration in the everyday and deem that the greatest insight for my creations comes from my children. Hailing from a long line of designers, I tapped into my roots and brought my mother, Veanne, and sister, Angie, onto the team. Our threesome enjoys putting our collective talent to good purpose—inspiring moms everywhere to play with and educate their children. Annika contributed to Lunch Bags!

Mary Lynn Shroeder I create at Dayshift, my very own studio and boutique in Carbondale, Illinois. Dayshift proudly features multiple local artists’ work. You can also find the hobo cinch, as well as many of my other handmade goodies, on my Etsy site. Mary contributed to Lunch Bags!


Sharon Smith is based in Birmingham, Alabama. Her online store features fiber arts, embroidered wallhangings, and jewelry. Sharon finds inspiration in God, nature, music, animals, fashion, and fabrics. In addition to crafting, Sharon works as a mental healthier therapist and enjoys spending time with her husband, cats, and Great Dane. She has contributed to Little Birds.


Cheryl B. Steighner Born on Earth Day, I have been sewing, crafting, and recycling for as long as I can remember. I created reusable sandwich wraps to reduce the amount of plastic bags used each week and to make my lunch a little more exciting. Since creating my Etsy shop, I have expanded my work to include snack packages, lunch sacks, and produce bags. Cheryl contributed to Lunch Bags!


Rebecca Striepe I am an independent crafter and freelance writer living in Atlanta, Georgia, with my husband and two cats. I love working with vintage fabric and salvaged materials. There’s just something about giving found objects a brand new life that really appeals to me. They lend their own stories to everything I make. My crafty business, Glue and Glitter, is all about using existing materials in products that help folks waste less without feeling deprived. I believe in the power of little changes: using cloth napkins instead of paper or a reusable bag instead of a plastic one. Things like this add up to make a big impact! Even the act of cooking is so much greener than takeout when you consider all the packaging involved in ordering that Chinese delivery. If a cute apron encourages you to get in the kitchen and put a meal together or a lunch kit gets you packing your lunch for work or school, I hope that I can make one to inspire you! Rebecca contributed to Lunch Bags!

Jantze Tullett is an artist living and working in England. She trained at Edinburgh College of Art and loves sewing, drawing, and printmaking. Jantze is inspired by childhood memories, wildlife, and nature—and by her daily life with a young family. Her work is available through She has contributed to Little Birds.


Holland Fabric House is a Dutch company founded in 2008 by Noor van Krimpen. It is a bright and cheerful place in cyberspace that offers colorful and contemporary fabrics and matching notions. The handmade collection for home, kids, and women consists of original accessories designed to bring joy and inspiration. She has contributed to Little Birds.


Monika Wintermantel has loved crafting for as long as she can remember, so creating bags and accessories using all kind of fabrics (old and new) seems to be the natural thing for her to do. She also enjoys experimenting with other materials such as plastic bags, coffee bags, and paper. She has contributed to Little Birds.


Mika Yamamura’s Cuore is inspired by everything from children’s fairy tales and vintage movies to modern Japanese design. The line consists of pillows, plushies, pins, tote bags, small accessories, and much more! A graduate of the Fashion Institute in Los Angeles, Mika Yamamura honed her skills at Paul Frank Industries, where she designed women’s accessories for 6 1/2 years. She has contributed to Little Birds.

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