Designer Showcase: Meet Wendy Franczak of Modern Stitching Affair

Today I have a super special treat for you all because I'm bringin' it in with Wendy Franczak. She's one of the Founders of the Modern Stitching Affair, a former Mad Mod Quilt Guild President for many years, a Cat FANATIC, and one of the kindest, funniest people I know. 


You're going to love her--and all her cats.

Yes indeed- she has a bunk bed for her kitties.

Here we go!

Getting to know you...Where did you grow up and do you think this had an impact on you as a maker?

Under age 14-- Illinois. Over 14--Wisconsin. I don’t think my locations impacted me creatively, but I’ve always enjoyed being creative. When I was a kid I enjoyed drawing, painting, playing with clay and making things out of paper. I was always most interested in learning about art or creating art compared to any other subject in school. My mom and maternal grandmother are very crafty and sew-- and encouraged me.

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Wendy's Winter quilt and mantel (with cat).

Wendy's Precious AF Quilt 
A Bee collaboration in 2017 with Wisco Gamblers

What drew you into the world of sewing?

I thought it was cool that people could make stuff. I was given an old Brother sewing machine and made two tie blankets. I thought sewing was too hard and put my machine away. A few years went by and in 2011 I was working 50+ hours a week and was exhausted. I needed a creative outlet and a purpose outside of work. I searched for creative classes at community centers, Madison College, and sewing shops. Only one class fit my schedule and it was a beginning quilt making class. They said as long as I knew how to thread my machine I could take their class so I googled how to thread my machine and enrolled!

Do you make daily?

I don’t. For me, that would be a chore. I like to read or veg out and watch TV and have ALL THE CATS on me if I am not sewing. Also, if I am working on my sewing retreat The Modern Stitching Affair, I find that takes away my drive to sew.

Wendy's sewing room.

What is your favorite thing in the world to make?

Probably quilts.

I think about quilts in my brain all the time.

Wendy is hosting the Scrap Vortex 100 days project sewing challenge on Instagram. Join in- it's never too late! 

What is your LEAST favorite? 

Probably bags, but I still make them. If a pattern has too many steps I get overwhelmed and think F that S. There are so many cool patterns out there though! Interfacing is a magical mystery that I am still trying to decode and stash.


We met at a Mad Mod meeting and I remember the exact moment --can you believe that? Do you find the modern quilting movement "modern" or a reinvention of a time honored art? How has it affected your personal outlook on life?

That’s crazy!  I hope I was nice LOL. I am afraid to answer your modern question because the quilt police might cut me in my sleep. This is what I think about “modern.” If it looks like it belongs in a modern, clean lined house, then it’s modern. If it looks like it belongs on an Amish person’s bed then perhaps it’s not. For me, it has nothing to do with the time in which it was made.

The Modern Quilt Guild has totally changed my life and I am eternally grateful. 

I started going to Mad Mod Quilt Guild meetings in 2012 because I invested so much in supplies. I thought, if I met other quilters maybe I would stick with sewing and all that money I spent on supplies wouldn’t be wasted. This proved to be true. 

There were only 6 of us and they were all SO COOL. Now there are over 60 members and a bunch of us are super-duper closer friends now. Through sewing, I always have something to do and think about, and have made  many friends through quilt guilds, Quilt Expo, the Modern Stitching Affair, IG and Facebook. 

To say sewing changed me is an understatement.

Do you sell ready made items or do you take requests? Do you find this invigorating or draining? 

No. This is a creativity killer for me. I sew for the pure enjoyment of it. I refer these requests to friends. Plus, I am still learning and am very much attached to the things I make.

Let's talk about MODERN STITCHING AFFAIR! Deets!!

 MSA was a glimmer in Trina Peterson’s eye. The lifelong friendships she made attending Sew South made such a huge impact on her and are so important to her, that she wanted the same for our local community. I remember driving in the car, circling a “round about” when she popped the question about starting a retreat together. I had 1000 questions but ultimately jumped right in.

The Modern Stitching Affair is all about 
community building. 

We want to bring people together to make friends, socialize, relax and learn a little.  We try not to cram the weekend too full, while still providing fun projects to collaborate on and be proud of completing.

Our second retreat is April 26-29, 2018. It sold out in 36 hours! HOLY S***. 

I think people come for the great projects and generous prize and swag bag sponsors--- but they come back because of the friendships they make.

This year we have two projects and instructors. Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness and her Crimson and Clover train case. Also Tara Curtis of Wefty needle. She’s teaching us fabric weaving which we will turn into a tote or pillow.

The sponsors are off the hook this year. 

We have four sewing machines to giveaway (!) thanks to Ardyth’s Sew N VacMill House Quilts and Quintessential Quilts. A pair of prescription CraftOptics, a ton of fabrics from the Electric Needle, jelly rolls and totes from Riley Blake, Aurifil thread, Fiskars razor edge scissors and fabric knives, OTT Lamps, DayLight Co. Lamps annnnd so much more!

 It’s crazy. My basement is expertly organized right now so I can manage all the inventory.

2019 is already in the works. We’re hoping we can continue hosting this retreat annually moving forward if people want it. Tickets go on sale in fall 2018!

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Do you prefer specific brands in your sewing arsenal of tools/ fabrics/ designers?

I am really into Pfaff for sewing machines. Olfa for rotary cutter blades. Fiskars for scissors – for real, try the razor edge! And most any fabric with awesome looking cats on it. Lotta Jansdotter fabric is always a favorite too.

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What is the simplest project a newbie can get started on and make successfully in your opinion?

I would suggest a zipper pouch. Don’t fear the zipper! I love making something and using it right away. I feel like a peacock all damn day. I want to shout LOOK I MADE THIS THING AND IT IS SO COOL. I want other people to share this feeling hence – The Modern Stitching Affair.

This glitter vinyl is GorG!

Favorite band? Favorite genre?

Oh girl if you know me I like the hip hop. Lil Debbie: Two Cups, Bake a Cake, Rachets crack me UP! I like music with a lot of bass that you can dance too. I want music to energize me like disco, rap, hip-hop, oh and FRANK SINATRA. I love Frank.

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Lil' Debbie

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Favorite food? I can’t list just one: Potatoes, Chocolate, Tofu, Chic Peas!

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Do you listen to music or watch tv while making? Give us personal details so we don't have to send in a drone. Oh wait- your husband already does that! LOL !

Real life drone spy:

 Right now I am re-watching Downtown Abbey while I sew. I also listen to a lot of audio books. Follow me on GoodReads.com!

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Will you move next door to me please? 

The house right next to me is for sale. We could build an underground bunker that connects the houses and share a long arm.

I've already started plans Wendy:
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Thank you so much for chatting with me today! 

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In other news, I'll be teaching a leggings class at Blue Bar this Saturday noon to 3:30 - I opened another spot in case you wanna come by. I can totally show you how to make gold spandex leggings if you want them! LOL

My husband found this Artist for me to listen to- I'd been whining about not keeping up to date with my music lists. I think the last time I played my iPod was 2015. I find it incredible how he knows what I'll like.  Try listening to St Vincent- she's something else- and performed at Coachella this year.

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Clogs are now available on Etsy through Lotta from Stockholm-- this is the brand I wear religiously! I love them. I prefer them to Hasbeens. I buy the low heel which is just enough to "look nice" but not hurt after hours of being on my feet. 
These are not my legs. LOL I feel the need to point that out.

photo from Lotta

My kids and I have been experimenting with Sculpey Clay jewelry making. It's been really fun- I've worn a necklace already and two pairs of earrings. It's bake clay- bake for 15 min at 275F and it's good to go. We seal it too, especially if we are adding paint or glitter.
I bought it here.

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Thank you for being here!


HAVE a wonder filled weekend!


  1. Hooray for Modern Stitching Affair! ...and cats...and gold spandex leggings. ������

  2. Wendy is so cool. Loved your story!


I appreciate every comment, thanks so much for taking the time. It means A LOT to me. :)