“I love satins, ruffles, that posh look,” says Moda designer Anne Sutton. “But I also love whimsy and putting a little smile on people’s faces.”
Elements both debonair and droll are reflected in Lily & Will II, Anne’s new line of fabrics that blends motifs from filigreed Victorian wallpaper with fun-loving plaids, polka dots, and rabbits. That same spirited mix is reflected in the patterns she designs for her 10-year-old company, Bunny Hill.
Anne’s older sister taught her to sew and Anne stitched clothing during her teen years. But it was at a shop near her northern California home that she got her start in the quilting world, first taking classes and eventually teaching and designing. “A quilt shop can be such a center of creativity and the place where so many things start,” says Anne, who notes that Moda designers Joanna Figueroa and Sandy Klop, among others, also developed skills there.
The shop is where Anne kindled her passion for appliqué. “I took one class and knew it was for me: I love the handwork and the idea that you can take a piece of fabric and tell a story—it gives me such joy,” she says.
Anne also takes great pleasure in designing fabric. This is her third line for Moda and she says the opportunity has fulfilled a dream for her.
While Anne imagines new moms using Lilly & Will in sophisticated nurseries, she has more than babies on her mind when it comes to stitching “It kills me to think if we don’t teach our children to sew, a whole generation will miss it,” says Anne, who is passing along sewing skills to her young granddaughters. When her sons were young, they learned to stitch, too. “They sewed sequins onto felt Christmas ornaments and sold them house-to-house,” she says with a laugh.
Although neither son still sews, Anne does sometimes ask for their opinions if she gets stuck on a design. And she loves that those designs inspire others to create.
“To think that people will use the fabric and pattern you’ve designed, and then will treasure it for years, is so gratifying,” Anne says.