“Quilt Floral” is an exclusive pattern by Vera Bradley for QuiltCon.
You might have noticed a new brand at QuiltCon this year. Fort Wayne, Indiana-based luggage and handbag brand Vera Bradley was a platinum sponsor of the event and had a booth on the show floor where they unveiled four bags, a lanyard, and an enamel pin made up in an exclusive print called “Quilt Floral.” The company also commissioned six original quilts to be auctioned off for charity and had charm packs of recolored Vera Bradley prints for sale, the first time the company has made its fabric available to the quilting market.
According to Alyse Contrata, Senior Manager at Lividini & Co, the company’s public relations firm, Vera Bradley was introduced to modern quilting when team members were in New York and attended an event held by the Modern Quilt Guild a few years ago. “They were absolutely hooked,” she said in an email on Friday. “The team attended last year’s QuiltCon in LA and knew the brand had to be part of quilting in a larger way.” Vera Bradley bags are known for their quilted floral fabrics.
The “Quilt Floral” design was created by in-house designer Lindsay Lord and is a variation on a design created for an upcoming season. To showcase it Vera Bradley had another in-house designer, Molly Shea, plus a team of freelancers including Anne Gates, Heather Hancsak, Coleen Clines and Maggie Clines, Sybil Magrill and Katherine Lowe, create six quilts to be displayed in the brand’s QuiltCon booth.
Anne Gates shows her “Charming Flock” quilt which uses a Vera Bradley charm pack. This pattern is available as a free download on the Vera Bradley website.
Each designer was given approximately three yards of fabric to work with, including their choice of two Vera Bradley prints. There were no design requirements for the quilts they created. “We really wanted each quilt to be different and stay true to the quilters’ design inspiration,” Contrata said. Designer Anne Gates also created a free PDF quilt pattern, “Charming Flock,” now available on the Vera Bradley website, using the charm pack.
Quilt by Sybil Magrill for Vera Bradley.
The Vera Bradley booth at QuiltCon 2019.
The five bags, lanyard, and pin, plus the four charm packs are for sale now on the Vera Bradley website and will be in stores beginning on February 21. The charm packs include current, vintage, and exclusive recolorations of Vera Bradley prints. Up until now, sewists who wanted to work with Vera Bradley fabric had to get creative, buying vintage cloth napkins at rummage sales, on Etsy or eBay to cut up for patchwork. Contrata says there are no plans to sell the charm packs, or yardage, at independent quilt shop or fabric chain stores.
Vivika DeNegre, Editorial Director of Quilting Arts and QuiltCon magazines was at the show and had this to say about the Vera Bradley booth: “I just stopped by the booth and was impressed by the enthusiasm and clear joy that the staff had for modern quilting. Clearly, there is an appreciation for the art form, the dedication, and the artistry of the quilters from the Modern Quilt Guild. The fabric they were selling was typical Vera Bradley.”
The Iconic Large Cosmetic Bag by Vera Bradley in Quilt Floral.
One of four Vera Bradley charm packs available at the show and on the Vera Bradley website.
Vera Bradley was founded in 1982 by friends Patricia R. Miller and Barbara Bradley Baekgaard who noticed a lack of feminine luggage at airports. They named the company after Baekgaard’s mother, Vera. Robert Wallstrom has served as CEO since 2013 having previously spent more than 18 years in various roles at Saks.
The founders created the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer in memory of their friend Mary Sloan, who died of the disease. The philanthropy helps to fund research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis. Five of the quilts created for QuiltCon will be auctioned off, at a value of $599 each, to benefit the foundation. The sixth quilt was made in collaboration with the Anchal Project, a non-profit run by two American sisters who have their textile designs made by women in India. The proceeds of the sale of that quilt will be split between the two charities.