A former interior designer and student of textile design, Brigitte Heitland has been sewing since she was a young girl. After making her own clothes for many years, Brigitte discovered quilting about ten years ago and was immediately hooked. Brigitte launched her brand ZEN CHIC in 2010 with her quilt patterns and soon added fabric design. As an experienced, skilled long-arm quilter, she teaches classes on contemporary quilting techniques. She also teaches classes on the use of color, using solids in quilts and finding inspiration for color palettes. Brigitte is mother of three children and lives with her family in Germany.
What inspired you to take up sewing?
I was inspired by my Grandma she and her cousin, who was a seamstress made all of our clothes as children and I sat next to the machine and I wanted to sew with both of the elder ladies.
Who can you remember doing your first sewing with?
My granny – she taught me how to sew with her old Pfaff machine with a pedal which went up and down when I was about 6 years old
What was the first thing you made?
The first thing I made was dolls clothes
What is your favourite type of stitch?
Running stitch as I need it all the time
What type of sewing do you like to do?
I like to sew little pouches because they are quick projects mostly done in an afternoon and you can use them for all kinds of things and they make a great gift.
What is your Inspiration for your designs
For all my fabric designs I draw my inspiration from everyday things, interior style magazine, colour schemes I find randomly here and there and then I create a collection out from that starting point.
For my quilt designs, I have a look around. Outside of quilting industry I go to modern art museums I go to catalogues of posters of graphic art, architecture, anything which is modern and clean and straight serves as inspiration
What do you consider your best piece of work?
There are a lot of great quilts which come to my mind – one of them is one I had in my book – On The Ball and it was exhibited in several museums around America.
What is your very favorite thing you have made?
There are many things – I guess all the things I make for my beloved ones, the things I make for my children and my grandchildren, who like my projects – all the quilts and the dolls I make for them.
What is your favourite tool or gadget?
There are many – I guess I like all kind of bloc loc rulers because they help me trim the units to accurate sizes.
Do you have a favourite colour?
Actually I love all colours I don’t want to be bound by a single one but what I notice in my collections there is mostly a grey colour in a group – I especially love the light grey more the one I have in my brand Zen Grey
What type of fabric would you choose to work in?
Of course quilting fabric because that’s my whole world!
Do you prefer hand work or machine work?
I prefer machine work over hand work because I have so many things to do and I couldn’t do it all with hand work!
What’s your dream sewing machine?
I love the Bernina brand I have a 770 and I have furniture where this machine is and so I love to sit there and sew.
What is your advice for a newbie?
I would be start with a simple baby quilt and learn everything about patchwork, making the quilt, binding absolutely everything that goes with that small simple project and go from there!
Drove to tears – what piece of work has driven you mad?
Nothing really, I am quite cool and when something goes wrong or I make a mistake – I try to rip it off and fix it and I am fine.
Do you make things for others ?
Yes of course my friends and family
Who would you like to create something for?
No one comes to mind
What’s the best sewing background music
Club or lounge music
Are you an early riser or a night owl
I am an early riser I can wake up at 5am and start sewing but my family would be disturbed from the noise, so the best time is to sew in the afternoon or weekends.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love ball room dancing and my partner in life is also my dancing partner and I enjoy photography and editing pictures.
Who in the sewing or crafting world do you most admire?
Last pictures are from Brigitte’s Just Red collection – the quilt is Bohemian Spark and there is a free pattern over on her website.