Guest Designer Spotlight: Connie Tessier


Patterns designed by Connie Tessier
click on the image for the pattern


This week in the Guest Designer Spotlight is Connie Tessier.  I met Connie through the Livejournal group hp_paperpiecing.  Connie started out as member of the group and pattern tester.  It wasn’t long before she was sharing photos of her own block designs.  It’s my great pleasure that she agreed to be included on the Guest Designer page of sewhooked.

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Connie and her husband, Paul, at a Cape Cod beach


First name and where you’re from: Connie, Manchester, NH

Website/blog/online store or other place where your patterns or photos of your work can be found? Website is not set up yet. Another work in progress…….

How long have you been paper piecing and/or quilting? Sewing since childhood, Quilting since the late 70s, I’m 54 now, so it’s been a LONG time.

I tried paper-piecing in the early 90s once for a bunch of log cabin blocks for a quilt and I didn’t care for it, too much repetition.  I tried paper-piecing again last year for a quilt for a friend.

What do you use own your blocks for? I’m hoping to make a quilt. I’m more into a “less fancy, more useful” type of quilt. My stuff is more for comfort than show. I’ve only make one wallhanging, everything else is quilts of various sizes including king-size.

When did you start designing? I designed some gelato cups for a quilt for my best friend in October 2006 to remind us our favorite dessert place (which is now unfortunately gone…). The quilt design got put on hold, and I didn’t sew the quilt until December 2007.

The second foundation block I designed was in February 2008. It was my Philosopher’s Stone, using the cover from the Adult book cover.

Was there a particular inspiration to draw your first pattern? I found some teacup, teapot, and spoon blocks that were foundation pieced and wanted to use them in a quilt I making for my best friend. She used to collect teddy bears, we usually go out to lunch and both have tea, and then we used to go out for gelato. So I wanted to make a quilt with those elements in it. I hadn’t liked my first experience with paper-piecing but decided to give it another try to make this quilt. I couldn’t find a design for a cup of gelato with 2 flavors, so I decided to try to design one in Quilt Pro since that’s what I was using to make the quilt design. I struggled to learn how to get the teapot and cups into Quilt Pro and then worked on designing the gelato cups.

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Gelato Blocks designed by Connie

Do you remember what your first design was? My first design of a paper-piece pattern was in Quilt Pro of the gelato cup for my friend’s quilt.  That was the only foundation pattern I had designed before I found your site.

When I found your site with Harry Potter patterns, I decided to try paper-piecing with smaller pieces and blocks.  I was really leary of trying such small blocks with such tiny pieces, but I had to have a Hedwig. I have a thing for owls, and when I saw your quilt it really inspired me.

After finding your site and making a few blocks, I wanted to try my hand at it and make my own Harry Potter blocks.  I decided to try making a block from each book and started with the Philosopher’s Stone for Book 1. This was my 2nd paper-pieced design and 1st Harry Potter design.  Then I did the Whomping Willow for Book 2.

I also wanted to try my hand at some of the ones you had already done to practice designing from scratch.

I figured I could see what kind of pattern I ended up with compared to one that was “piece-able”. I learned that my patterns of the same subject have a tendency to be too complex for 5″ blocks! I have lots of trouble simplifying the designs for piecing. I tried the House Crests (I used the illustration in the books), and Bertie Botts (I froze a frame from the movie).

I had a really hard time with Quilt Pro, and then I found Quilt Assistant which made it much easier to trace designs and break them up into pieces.

It really amazes me that you can come up with so many designs so quickly.

Do you have a favorite among your own designs? The Whomping Willow from Book 2. I used the Chapter art.

How has the online community changed the way you craft/quilt/design, etc.? I’ve learned a lot from using the designs on your website. The most important thing is to let go of some details or the pieces end up too teeny-tiny and too difficult to sew. That’s hardest thing for me.

What do you use to design your patterns? Paper and pencil, a specific software, etc. First I get an idea or a picture. I can’t draw to save my life. I don’t have Photoshop, so I used Quilt Assistant to trace the design. Quilt Assistant will save the pattern to an Electric Quilt project. Then I export it as an EQ project. Then in EQ I export it to a metafile. (I wish Quilt Assistant could export to a metafile!) The metafile is imported into Quilt Pro where I touch it up, and check that the sections are correct and numbered. Then I add text to the print preview screen, after mirroring it for the pattern, and save it as a JPG. Needless to say I’m looking for an easier way. Quilt Pro shows me what doesn’t line up or make proper sections, so I can fix the lines to make it right. I also like the precision of the pattern in Quilt Pro, but I’ve had a hard time tracing designs directly into Quilt Pro.  I really like Quilt Assistant for tracing, but I don’t like the way it makes templates instead of a foundation.

I’ve used Quilt Pro to layout quilts for years, since version 2. I also own Electric Quilt but haven’t really put it through its paces yet. Their interfaces are completely different and it’s tough to get used to one when you’re used to the other.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I haven’t had any time to paper-piece lately. Mom moved in with us after dad passed this year and she had to sell her house after breaking her hip. I really love the creative process, then seeing a completed block in fabric. I’m hoping for more creative time soon, I’ve got lots of blocks to catch up on, and I’d like to design some new ones as well. I’m really impressed by all the blocks you and the other guest designers have come up with, it’s just amazing!

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find more of Connie’s free patterns on the sewhooked Guest Designer page

Happy Crafting!

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