Sketchbook Stories :: Bari Ackerman

Bari is a fabric, sewing pattern, surface designer, mom and owner of her own self-named brand Bari J. (And just in case you’re wondering what the “J” stands for. It’s her middle name Jill.)

Bari is all about putting her self “out there” and welcoming in all the possibilities even if it means that she stumbles a couple of times. Bari a self-taught fabric designer, which she explains means that she:

A. Learns things the hard way

B. Is ridiculously stubborn

Bari’s romantic fabrics have been featured in the likes of Romantic Homes, Quilts and More, and Belle Armoire. Her first book Inspired to Sew, which is packed with all of her favorite kinds of sewing projects is out in stores now!!

Here is Bari’s Sketchbook Story ::

BA: Hello Blu Penny readers. I’m so excited to be here for a visit. My sketchbook story may be a little different from what you are used to seeing over here. That’s because I don’t sketch most of my work on actual paper. Usually, I open Photoshop, choose a brush and sketch using my Wacom graphics tablet and pen. I don’t have a fancy shmancy one (although I’d like one). I have the Bamboo which works just fine for me. 

BA: This is a design that eventually became a fabric for my first line of licensed fabric, Full Bloom. It was inspired by a morning hike by a creek. What I had actually seen on the hike was a bird on a cattail. But in my brain I was already turning it into pussy willows.

BA: It soon became a group of pussy willows:

BA: And then it was a repeat:

BA: And here it is on fabric:

BA: This is another design I did in Photoshop. It was for my next fabric line, Art Journal. Here I was playing with watercolor brushes.

BA: You can see as I turned it into a repeat, added a color background and reduced colors for printing purposes that the design took on a bit of a different look.

BA: And here it is on fabric with a white background:

BA: As you can see, I also do sewing pattern designs, and often I do applique work. This design came from a set of paper dolls that I had drawn for no particular reason except that I felt like it. I realized pretty quickly it would make a cute applique. I simply put the drawing on a light box and traced the various parts which were then made into a pattern for applique.

Check out Bari’s embroidery stitch class video at the ctpublishing digital lounge ::

Here’s where you can find Bari ::
blog ::
shop ::
twitter :: @barij

  1. I ♥ Bari! Great post, thanks for sharing! Just recently found your blog and have enjoyed reading your Sketchbook Stories :)

  2. Amazing. I love seeing how it goes from conception to final product! And the design is lovely.

  3. Deirdre

    Your 'sketchbook stories' are so much fun to read. It's so interesting to see the idea evolve into the final product.
    I found your lovely blog on the BYW group, and popped in for a peek. Your artwork is
    WONDERFUL! Your colors, illustration style…everything. So glad I found you, and I can't wait to visit again. Your site made me smile!
    Take care,

  4. I love the pink tote bag in this post, and birds are my favorite. I just started following Bari on Twitter. It's interesting to see how the number of colors in designs needs to be limited for some fabrics.

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