Chapter 1: Meet Leesa Chandler (3 min)
Meet quilter and designer Leesa Chandler as she shares her quilt making journey and the various bag making techniques she’ll be demonstrating.
Chapter 2: Technique one – Pinwheel Base (15 min)
The first bag-making technique you’ll learn is to create a bag with a pinwheel base and how to create it for different sizes.
Chapter 3: Technique two: All-in-one base & sides (15 min)
Leesa demonstrates the next bag making technique where you’ll design and create the bag base and sides all in one go.
Chapter 4: Technique three: Curved base (13 min)
The last bag making technique you’ll learn is how to create and design a bag with a curved base, where you’ll how to create your base at any size and with any shape of front and back panels.
Chapter 5: Show and tell with Leesa (4 min)
Leesa takes you through a gallery of her inspiring quilts showcasing many different techniques and styles, with some examples featuring her fabrics.
Leesa began quilting at 18 by chance, when a quilter stopped at her farm and asked for directions on her way to class. “Like many quilters, my first quilt was a classic 12-block sampler. A really good one, actually, with many techniques and tricks I still use today,” she says.
Leesa describes her quilts as fitting into two distinct categories: “There are two styles of quilts I make,” Leesa explains. “The first are designed to display large print fabrics, such as oriental prints and my fabric designs. These are quick and fun to make and it’s all about the fabric. The second is all about technique and they may include 3D appliqué, foundation work etc.
“I do a lot of fabric folding, 3D work, machine appliqué, quilt as you go, paper piecing, whatever I need to get the right look,” she adds. “There are many cool techniques I still need to add to my collection, and that means there’s so much more fun to be had. It’s so hard to choose just one technique which is my favourite. I love needleturn appliqué. It’s a skill I relish because it challenges at every stitch, and there is always room to improve with each project.
“I am also into pre-pieced appliqué at the moment — well, I think that’s what we will call it! Piecing lots of small pieces together and treating it as a printed piece of fabric to cut leaves and 3D petals from — I’m working on it. I prefer hand-work, but as a tutor and shop owner I love the fun, results and time-saving benefits of piecing by machine. There are also so many cool techniques and threads that can only be used on a machine.”
For Leesa, inspiration comes from all over the place. “I find it anywhere and everywhere,” she exclaims. “I love designing with authentic influence from different cultures and have a real obsession and appreciation for botanical art. I find colour combinations everywhere. I got the inspiration for my new Russian collection’s colour story from an eye shadow pack while shopping for makeup! I will often be inspired to create a quilt design for a specific print, rather than the other way around. Having said that, I love using large prints and then taking particular sections and elements of the design for complementary appliqué and piecing.”
Leesa’s “free” time is spent teaching fellow quilters. “I love teaching,” Leesa states. “It’s so rewarding spending time with like-minded people and helping them create something special with their own colours and style. I teach everywhere, sometimes in country towns, guilds, retreats and around the occasional kitchen table. Styles and techniques change from year to year, but it’s always about having a go, having fun and taking home something that looks gorgeous at the end is a bonus.”
Leesa, husband Rob and their boys live in the Melbourne Bayside suburb of Beaumaris. The Chandler household is a busy one. Leesa and her husband run their business, Chandler’s Cottage, while raising their two boys, Philip and Steve.