I really love interviewing people from the sewing and quilting community because I still have so much to learn. This world moves so incredibly fast and people are coming up with amazing ways to integrate sewing into everyday life. One of those people is the awesome Julia Eigenbrodt from the inspiring sewing and crafty blog Stars and Sunshine. She seamlessly fuses technology and sewing together with her adorable 3-D printed hoop necklaces found in her Etsy shop, she also has wonderfully geeky paper piecing patterns in her Craftsy store, and a vibrant and fun Instagram!
Read on to gain some tips on fussy cutting, follow her inspiration, and what this bright star is continuing to bring to this community!
You seem to do it all! If you had to choose, what’s your favorite craft? That whole desert island question…
Thanks! Lately I feel like I’m trying to do everything and not getting much done, so I think maybe the internet is misleading. One craft?! If sewing is too broad of an answer, I’d probably pick foundation paper piecing. I love that I can use it to make pretty precise pictures out of fabric – like unicorns, dinosaurs, and letters!
What are your creative goals? What are you planning on next?
I have about 15 patterns I’m trying to find time to get drawn up and sewn, not to mention the 6 quilt tops I’m working on – I’d really like to get some of those finished this year. Right now I’m really excited about a space-themed medallion quilt pattern I’m working on finishing up a pattern for – there are moon phases, constellations, and shooting stars <3.
Is there anything you haven’t tried, but want to?
I’ve only briefly tinkered with printing on fabric and bias tape applique. I’d really like to explore those more. Non-sewing wise, I’m really hoping to try glass blowing and putting programmable LEDs into some garments.
I know you have a degree in nuclear engineering, how has science influenced your art?
I have one degree already, but am getting another in May (yay, school!) I think math and science are some of the most inspiring artistic things out there. The elegance of formulas and basic science principles blows my mind every time. I think there’s a lot of overlap in the problem solving and creativity found in engineering and crafting in general, but especially creating your own patterns.
You really are so innovative with including technology in the crafting world,what motivates you to mesh the two?
I guess I’ve always like mashups of my favorite things (Totoro in a tardis? Yes, please!), but I think people have a tendency to apply tools they’re familiar with to problems they have. I’m not saying its always the best solution, but sometimes it can lead to really cool things.
Holy fussy cutting, Batman! You’ve made some really beautiful and mind blowing pieces that line up immaculately. Any tips on how to get your seams juuuuuuuust right?
Fussy cutting is my favorite! The little details in fabrics are often the best parts, and fussy cutting really highlights them. It’s one of my favorite aspects of paper piecing- with a little bit of patience (a light table also helps!) you can have precise shapes and stick critters or other details wherever you want them. Shameless plug – my mini hoop necklaces are a great way to turn your favorite fussy cuts into accessories!
My biggest tip for getting paper piecing fussy cuts or corners to line up is to ‘baste’ a seam with a regular stitch length if it’s really important. That way you won’t have to rip out a million tiny stitches to get it just right – so you might actually fix it. Just make sure to go over it with your regular paper piecing stitch length once it’s set so you can still get the papers off!
As generic as it sounds, who inspires you? You seem to pull from so many different facets of life!
If you’ve seen much If my sewing, you know I’m also crazy about Lizzy House’s fabric. More than anything, I love how helpful and generous the online sewing communities are. I used to read a lot of sewing blogs, but since google feed reader went away and I got lazier, instagram has been my go-to for creative inspiration. Favorites include @iamlunasol, @penandpaperpatterns, @pennypoppleton, and @wombatquilts, but the list is super long. I also love inspiration from non-sewing creatives like @brianna_land, @printspiring, @stefankunz, and @hemlockandheather.
I have to ask, you’ve had brightly colored hair before, what was your favorite? (Clearly, I am a fan of purple!)
When I first dyed my hair, it had layers of teal, aqua, cobalt, and a pinkish people. I loved it, but it was too much work to keep up with so I just played with different shades of teal/aqua/blue each time I touched up the color. I’d use different brands and shades and often mixed colors, and loved that the color was always a bit of a surprise. I’ve been letting it grow out as I finished grad school and interviewed for/started my ‘real job’, but I miss it!
Your paper piecing patterns are adorable! How do you decide what to make next?
I mostly design paper piecing patterns I want to make, and if I think other people might want to make them too I’ll polish them up into a format I’m willing to put out there. I’ve been crazy busy with moving and starting my new job, so I have a backlog of patterns in various stages of design/testing/tweaking/basically finished that will be coming to my shop in the near future!
Working on anything super secret that we should be on the lookout for?
I’ve got lots of new patterns in the works, and having been toying with the ideas of printing some of my patterns and putting together some new hoop designs.
Gotta a maker you want to hear more about? Lemme know in the comments, and let’s see if we can’t get an interview out of ’em, eh?