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New DVD from Plainfield fiber artist adds new dimension to handmade quilts

New DVD from Plainfield fiber artist adds new dimension to handmade quilts

PLAINFIELD – Quilters: Looking to add texture and dimension to traditional or art quilts?

In her 76-minute DVD, “Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter,” experienced Plainfield quilter Cheryl Sleboda shows how to add pleats, tucks and smockings to quilts.

The DVD is useful for quilters without a sewing background and/or those who find it easier to learn by demonstration than written instructions. Nevertheless, viewers do need basic quilting experience.

“This is not ‘Quilting 101,’” Sleboda said.

“Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter" was shot with the camera looking down at Sleboda’s work, so the viewer sees what the quilter sees, Sleboda said. The skills offered can be incorporated into nearly any pattern, she added.

“People have been using these techniques as far back as people have been making decorative clothing,” Sleboda said. “But using them in quilts is new.”

Why would a quilter want to add texture and dimension? Several reasons, Sleboda said. Oftentimes, when people hear “quilt,” they think of fabric squares that have been stitched together to form a pattern on a flat surface.

However, modern quilts have evolved past the two-dimensional coverlets that only adorned beds and the back of couches, Sleboda said. Some quilts today are designed as art or decorative pieces, to be hung on a wall and admired, she added.

In other cases, textures on baby quilts fascinate infants; on lap quilts they soothe patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Sleboda said. But whether quilters wants to add simple texture here and there or design a pictorial landscape, Sleboda’s DVD can help them do it.

“It’s a list of techniques people can add to their arsenals,” Sleboda said.

On her website at, Sleboda identified herself a fiber artist, one who incorporates non-traditional elements into her work, such as LEDs and circuity.

Sleboda has gradually built her arsenal. Originally from Midlothian, Sleboda said she learned to sew in home economics in grade school and high school, but didn't tackle quilting until 18 years ago.

Sleboda has appeared on Quilting Arts TV and featured in two quilting magazines, Quilting Arts and Generation Q, according to a news release from Sleboda.

Sleboda has received awards at major quilt shows and been published in show catalogues, and is available for lectures and workshops.

“Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter,” is not the first resource she’s designed for quilters.

About a year ago, Sleboda designed a template for Canadian smocking, which is done by stitching fabric together on the back in such a way as to create a woven look on the front. The template comes with a set of written instructions and takes the guessing out of smocking, Sleboda said.

Part of the fun for today’s quilters, Sleboda said, is that they can draw on the experiences of foremothers and grandmothers, as well as newest techniques and tools as they are developed.

“It’s an exciting time to be a quilter,” Sleboda said. “The sky’s the limit.”



Purchase “Heirloom Techniques for Today’s Quilter” ($24.99) and the Canadian smocking template ($22) at

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