13 December, 2012
A passion for quilting, a great eye for color and design, and a calling to preserve and honor the past: these are qualities found in many creative sewists. But one Janome dealer took these talents one step further. Fay Nicoll of Sunshine Sewing Company, Inc. in Margate, Florida, created a line of fabric and patterns dedicated to her family's rich religious history, Fay Nicoll Judaica Designs.
Fay’s business started gradually, and in a way that many start – through the encouragement of friends. “After I bought my dealership, everyone came in and said, ‘You really should have some Jewish patterns,’” Fay recalls. She made some items relating to Jewish holidays and history and had them hanging in her store. “At first I did them for my store, not really to sell.” But many people who saw them asked for a pattern they could purchase. Like many reluctant entrepreneurs, she imagined that people were complimenting her work by asking to buy the pattern. But as time went on, customers demanded them! “Finally I said, ‘I have to do this,’” Fay recalls.
Fay was inspired by her parents, who were Holocaust survivors, to take a chance and to create something to honor them and her faith. It took some Chutzpah (as Fay would say), nerve or courage, for her to independently produce her first line, Star of David, with the minimum amount of 3,000 yards. But her customers and her instincts were spot on, “It sold out in a heartbeat,” she says. Since then she has produced three subsequent lines which have all been successful.
As Fay describes, “The feedback has been amazing!” Her two most recent lines were launched at Houston Quilt Market in October. “This time, I did one pattern in brights and traditional fabrics colors, and the other I did in a natural tone of browns and coppers. Everyone who has commented on it has said it reminds them of Israel, the colors of the stones. I hadn’t planned on doing this colorway, but someone suggested it, and as soon as I started coloring it in I realized it was going to work.” The line is even more special to Fay because her son, his wife, and their children live there.
Fay’s instincts continue to guide her, and she has begun work on a line of embroidery designs with Jewish themes (created in Janome Digitizer MBX, of course). She is also branching out with a line of mugs and notecards featuring her wonderful designs. Stay tuned as these new products develop!
Fay’s fabric and patterns can be purchased through her website, Fay Nicoll Judaica Designs, http://www.faynicolljudaicadesigns.com/jewish-fabric/ or through her Janome Dealership, Sunshine Sewing and Quilting, http://www.sunshinesewing.com/