Fig Tree 80/20 Principle

For the past 8 or 9 years [wow, is that actually possible?] each month, usually on the 3rd friday night of that month, from dinner time until midnight,  I get to do something fun, educational and inspirational… and I get paid for it. I gotta tell you… I love my job!

I teach a monthly drop in quilting/sewing class at one of my local quilt shops to a group of ladies, most of whom have by now become long time friends more than students. Each Friday we bring potluck goodies to share, stories to tell, projects to work on and anything else that needs a little help to get finished up… whether Fig Tree related or not. 

Over the years, you would not believe some of the conversations we have had and the husbands that have dropped by with "something that the wife forgot" to check up & see if it was really true that their beloved was actually sewing at a quilt shop until midnight on a Friday! Many have left scratching their head in wonder and a lack of understanding!

This past Friday I met with my ladies as usual and was once again awed and inspired at the wonderful creations they had come up with made from my fabrics. Two in particular caught my eye so much because they were a PERFECT example of that 80%/20% principle that I have been going on about for years now.

I am told that every opportunity I get, I try to explain this to folks: any one given Fig Tree fabric collection is certainly a unified whole, designed to create well rounded, beautiful projects. However, no single fabric collection can contain all the colors and prints that one might need to create something truly unique, with more depth and a distinct feel and design. A collection is indeed a whole and can yield wonderful things but adding 20% from another collection can create amazing results. That different 20% might just add the different dark, light or "POP" that the project needs. It might add that needed unexpected, different tone of the same color or something with a completely different scale or feel that will really make the project shine. 

We design our collections to meld into one another, one into the next. Different from one another in print and color but with enough overlap to make it simple to use the groups together to create projects with depth & breadth. 

When I saw these 2 projects last Friday night, I knew I wanted to show you the results. The lighting in the shop at night wasn't the greatest so the photography could definitely be a bit better but….

Jelly Girl pattern made with a combination of Patisserie and Fig & Plum fabrics [pattern original uses just Patisserie]. Feels like a summer beach vacation to me. I am pretty sure that I will have to make one of these in the next couple of months! Quilt by Meredith Harbaugh.



Here below is the fabulous pattern, Vintage Stars, by Mr. Joe Wood, co-owner of the quilt shop where we gather, & the designer behind his own pattern company, Piece by Piece Quilts. Joe has recently started his own blog that chronicles his love of quilting, old tv shows, pop culture and exclamation marks… if you're not sure what I mean, go and see & you'll know… right away.

This version uses a combination of Fig & Plum and Gypsy Rose [pattern original used just Fig & Plum], along with scraps from several other past Fig Tree collections. I was just mesmerized by the color combinations on this one! Quilt by Wilma Lawrence.


Hope you enjoyed all that verbage & the pretty quilts.

Talk to you later.

About The Author



  1. Carrie | 24th Jun 09

    Love your show ‘n tell, those quilts make me feel the same way, love the color mix of both quilts. Joe’s star quilt really pops with the dark fabric. You are a lucky girl, but well deserved too.

  2. Deborah Hays | 24th Jun 09

    I also met with a group of gals, but weekly, to sew, chat, laugh, and/or cry as we quilted
    the day away. Such a fantastic group of women!! We too had husbands drop by to say
    hello or bring things that their wives had forgotten as well. We didn’t sew until midnight, but
    met during the day each and every Wednesday. It started out with me being the instructor
    but gradually we all became quite close and each of us ended up teaching so much more
    than just quilting to one another. I loved that you shared what your students made! I know
    that I was always amazed at what my gals made. The creativity they had was a true marvel.
    Good times….. Debbie

  3. jaybird | 24th Jun 09

    thank you so much for sharing! i like the idea of 80/20 … i tend to make things 100% or a complete mix… i just added a bunch of Gypsy Rose to my stash and i love how it blends it perfectly! i’m in the process right now of making a charm basket kit from 7 different fig collections and i think its gonna be adorable!

  4. rachel | 24th Jun 09

    oooh those quilts are just perfect.
    i especially LOVE mr. joe’s quilt.

    the 80/20 concept…SO gonna have to do that.
    and figgy fabrics are perfect fot it.

  5. sherri | 24th Jun 09

    Both quilts are spectacular…especially the Vintage Stars quilt…a wonderful show and tell!

  6. Jean | 24th Jun 09

    Oh, I have just got to start coming to the class again. It’s a drive, but well worth it. I’m so glad that you all have become so close after all this time. It’s clearly evident in class that you care about each other.

    Those quilts are beautiful. And Wilma’s? I would have tried to stuff it in my purse to spirit home. Beautiful, Ladies!

  7. Nicole | 24th Jun 09

    Beautiful quilts! Your 80/20 rule is excellent! I often mix your fabric collections in my quilts with terrific results. Wish I lived close enough to attend your Friday sew ins.

  8. barbara | 24th Jun 09

    Amazing quilts, something for the beginner like me to aspire to!

  9. Jodi | 24th Jun 09

    Those quilts are spectacular! I love them both! Thanks for sharing! And I love your 80/20 !!! ;o)

  10. Gwendie | 24th Jun 09

    Thanks for the show and tell. It’s so much fun to see what others make and how they combine fabrics. 80/20 is a great lesson.

  11. Sue | 24th Jun 09

    Wish we had such a group around here. Lucky ladies. And, I loved the border and sashing in Joe’s quilt!

  12. SarahB | 24th Jun 09

    Both quilts are absolutely gorgeous!

  13. Mary on Lake Pulaski | 24th Jun 09

    When your fabric is so beautiful on it’s own, of course it is beautiful with any of the others. Yes, compliments to those who chose what to put together!!

  14. elizabeth | 24th Jun 09

    Those quilts are awfully pretty! Seems your fabrics can also be just the thing to go with other designers fabrics as well…quite certain I didn’t use the 80/20 rule, but my latest post does show some Fig Love…

  15. april | 25th Jun 09

    joanna-the quilts are beautiful. your fabric is perfect for the 80/20 principle. happy designing!

  16. Candace | 26th Jun 09

    Wow – what a difference a change in fabrics can make, Joanna! I love both versions! Your class sounds like a hoot – maybe some of the husbands are dropping by because they want to have as much fun as their wives are having? (hee, hee)

  17. tina | 26th Jun 09

    I am crazy about those quilts, I decorate with a lot of black so the dark color just really does it for me. Delicious those figs!

  18. Lindsey | 27th Jun 09

    That quilt by Wilman Lawrence is a show stopper…wow. I love yout 80/20 philosophy…great direction for those of us who have a hard time knowing where to start.

  19. dotti white | 28th Jun 09

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful quilts. I need to remember the 80/20 philosophy. It is easy for me to stay within one line but I do like the way your collections overlap. Very nice!
    TITLE: online stopwatch
    BLOG NAME: online stopwatch
    DATE: 02/12/2013 01:31:18 PM
    Fig Tree 80/20 Principle – Fresh Figs

Leave A Comment