We absolutely love having the opportunity to highlight the work of Aurifil & Moda Designer Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic. We have been working with Brigitte for years and truly adore her. She has impeccable style, with cool colors, clean lines, and modern accents. She is an absolute sweetheart, hard-working, dedicated, and we pretty much just want to have her redesign our lives;).
Brigitte’s newest collection is Just Red. It may sound simple, but it’s truly a bold and brilliant masterpiece. Brigitte had never really worked with red before, so she went all in, picking a vibrant lipstick red and constructing a full collection around it. The range is a delightful juxtaposition of fiery and sweet and we challenge you to not smile when scrolling through Brigitte’s project images.
Her coordinating thread collection pulls together all of that bold and all of that bright in a gorgeous range of 50wt thread. We know you’ll love this one… particularly on the heels of the most passionate holiday around — Happy Valentine’s Day!
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2021 – 2415 – 5007 – 2730 – 2775
2784 – 2430 – 5022 – 2326 – 4667
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got started in the world of sewing and quilting?
I was introduced to sewing by my grandmother when I was about 6 years old. By that time, she was sewing clothes for all of us children. I was always around her, so I wanted to learn how to work with the sewing machine, too. I’m so proud that she taught me! I did only sew clothes at first and didn’t actually learn to quilt until about age 40.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Kaffe Fassett was really the driving force. I discovered his books and he was really the person who drew me to give quilting a try. Also Amy Butler and Denise Schmidt were my idols.
How long have you been partnering with Moda and what do you love most about working with them?
Moda found me in 2011 at my debut market and offered to work with me. Our first group/collection was released in 2012. Since then, I”ve released more than 20 groups and I love that they treat me like a family member. They really care and treat everyone in a loving way. We are a great family together and it makes it joyous to work with that company.
What inspired Just Red?
When I looked through my own fabric shelves, I found a lot of blues, black, and white, all of which I’m naturally drawn to. I found a little bit of yellow and also some hot pink, but I’d never done anything with lipstick red. I thought that was a color that was missing in my portfolio and I should do something with it. So, I created a collection featuring all hues of red set around that fiery shade of lipstick red. There are pale shades like powder rose and dark shades like a burgundy red. There are also warm orange shades and cooler pink shades. I added a bit of white so we do have that complete contrast.
What did you love most about putting the collection together?
I really loved the vibrancy of those colors and loved getting a chance to play with only one main color scheme, one analog color scheme, grouping light and dark around the lipstick red.
Do you have a favorite project or projects that you’ve made with the collection?
We did a complete lookbook with small projects, done by a variety of other makers. I myself worked on the sample quilts and my favorite is Bohemian Spark which is really striking.
When did you first discover Aurifil Thread and why is it your go-to?
It’s hard to remember… I guess I discovered Aurifil before I even started as a fabric designer. It happened via facebook when I noticed what other quilters were using. They often mentioned what they were working with. Aurifil was a thread that was already the go-to thread company in my mind. When I joined the industry as a fabric designer, I connected with Aurifil and we decided to curate a collection matching some of my fabric collections.
Aurifil is truly my go-to brand because of the wide range of different colors, of the high quality in threads, they are from long fiber cotton. It’s really wonderful to work with the threads. When it shows up on my doorstep, it has a certain elegant shimmer — a quality I really love!
Do you have a favorite weight or color?
My favorite weight is 50wt because I use it most often for piecing and for when I do clothes. For top stitching, I like 28wt. Colorwise I tend to have the same grey filled in my bobbin and also on the top of the machine. Of course it goes well with everything. When you piece different prints together, a neutral color is the go-to I have. In my case, I like the grey for my neutral.
What’s coming up for you this year? Where will we find you?
I will have three more collections in 2020. The first will be introduced in January, hitting stores in June. It’s a Winter collection called Chill. It’s kind of Christmasy, but not necessarily with Christmas motifs. It’s more neutral with snowflakes and frosty elements. Then, we will have a sequel of the oh so popular Comma collection which was released in 2012. People have always asked if we would print that collection again. I thought, well, we can do something similar. We will go with the iconic asterisk print in that collection and add similar prints that I had in 2012 so we have a kind of a sequel with exactly the same color story. And then in 2020 we will have a sequel of Day in Paris. It was one of my most popular collections! People loved the color scheme with hints of gold. This new version is called Dance in Paris. Lots of new endeavors in 2020 and I’m so looking forward to bringing that all to life… to creating inspiration for my quilting friends.
Brigitte Heitland was born in Germany and grew up with her three siblings. They were a funny “gang” and her grandma sewed a lot of clothes for the children. Brigitte often sat down next to her old PFAFF and felt so comfortable. Her grandma once told her: When you are tall enough to get your feet down to the pedal, I’ll teach you sewing too. It was, perhaps, one of the best things that anyone could have given her.
Brigitte started sewing at the age of six, mostly clothes, and loved to have unique things to wear. When it was time to choose a profession, she knew it would be something creative. She decided upon Interior Design but was drawn to all of the students in the room next to her working with needles and thread and so she ended up as a student of Textile Design.
In her mid age, it happened that she stumbled upon a wonderful pictured quilting book and was hooked at once. She had to try it herself and became hopelessly addicted to patchwork. Of course, she needed fabrics, lots and lots of different fabrics to dive in. She started her own little online shop with quilting fabrics and eventually worked to create her own collection. It led to her roots in Interior Design: when developing a fabric or even a design for a quilt the entire impression of a room was considered. She sees the light, the furniture, the color concept, the style and her quilts become a natural element of this scene, fitting in harmoniously. Brigitte loves having clarity in a room, an environment of simplicity where you are surrounded by only the things you really need and love, where you can relax, find your inner peace and balance. Her quilts are take on this concept, reduced, pure, and clear.
**All images by Brigitte Heitland. Please visit her Instagram for more visual inspiration!