Meet New BERNINA Brand Ambassador Melissa Averinos
I experimented with sewing for the first time when I was in high school. I made baby doll dresses and headbands, patched jeans with scraps of vintage fabrics and cut up thrifted finds to turn them into something new. Lured in by novelty quilting fabrics in my early twenties, I decided I wanted to make a quilt and bought a Trip Around The World pattern. Pretty simple design, should be good to start with, right? But when I opened up the pattern, I was overwhelmed by the instructions and diagrams! I really just wanted to sew something with all these cute fabrics and didn’t care about matching points or ending up with a specific quilt design. I thought, can’t I just play with the fabric and make something I liked to look at?
And so began my love of improvisational quilting! I set the pattern aside and made up my own quilt design out of squares and strips. It wasn’t complicated, it wasn’t precise and it didn’t look like something I saw somewhere else. I made my own thing, with a relaxed attitude, and loved the results. I still approach quilting the same way nearly twenty years later!
Lately I’ve been working with more blender prints and solids and use the novelty prints or large patterns sparingly.
I love scraps.
I’ve been a painter since I was 13 and I’ve always loved painting faces. Approaching fabric as any other medium, like painting or collage, I experimented with a raw-edge appliqué self portrait.
(That’s my puppy Max. He approves.)
I shared the whole process as I went on instagram and the response was so encouraging! It really helped me see it through to a finished piece, when I might have otherwise just enjoyed it myself as an exercise and put it in a pile somewhere, uncompleted.
Next, I challenged myself to make another face, this time pieced! Again, I shared the process on social media as it went from this:
I’ve been a maker all my life, but when I finished this quilt top, I cried with joy— It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever made.
I entered it into Quiltcon and it won a judge’s choice award— I was so happy!
It was chosen as one of the top 20 of QuiltCon 2015 and will be traveling to major quilt shows for the next year. If you see it in person, look for the the small scale novelty prints I included— kitties, dancing skeletons, ducks, bees!
Since QuiltCon in February, I’ve made the foray into teaching. I’m so thrilled to be on the amazing list of faculty QuiltCon 2016! I’ll be doing workshops on small scale raw-edge appliqué faces.
Currently, I’m continuing to experiment with new ways of making face quilts, and now that I’m a BERNINA Ambassador, I get to use this amazing BERNINA 580!
Already, the knee lift has made sewing so much easier!
I can’t wait to experiment with the embroidery module, as my husband is a digitizer. I know, lucky me, right? I’ll definitely be sharing tips and tricks with the BERNINA community as I do.
I’m so honored to be part of the BERNINA family. I sewed my face quilts on a machine that I can’t stand, so I’m excited to see what I can make with a machine that I love. I feel like I’m just getting started!