A Quilt Collaboration with Toyota


When you get a call that the marketing team from Toyota needs a quilt for a photoshoot, you say YES first and ask questions later. As you can imagine, it’s not everyday that corporate America is requesting handmade original textiles, so immediately I was intrigued, excited, and (to be really real) nervous.

The process started with a lot of calls and emails with the photoshoot producer, a couple Skype sessions with the photographer, and transformed into daily email chains with the marketing team. From my years of working in this environment on the other end as a graphic designer, I was so glad and relieved to be a part of a hardworking and veeery open minded team of creatives (they were hiring a quilter...for a car ad. Come on! How much more open minded can you get?)​.


Before I could start buying up fabric and strategizing how I was going to make this 80” x 90” quilt, I needed a clear vision. Above is a CGI rendering of the final ad design made by the creative team working with Andy Glass (photographer). Below is a rough sketch of the quilt without the car and models on top.


I was nervous in the beginning, but when I saw the black and white sketch...that needed to turn into a 3-dimensional quilt, I had one very serious question pounding in my head, “Suz, are you sure you can do this?”

Before I could acknowledge that the answer was probably a big fat NO, I ran to my computer, tiled the sketch, jogged over to Kinkos and printed out 24 different to-scale paper tiles. I then went to work taping them together, pulling prints and, you guessed it – fabric shopping! Always a highlight.


I took the photo above while at a hole-in-the-wall fabric shop here in Chicago called Textile Discount Outlet. It's completely nuts, and also completely wonderful.

I used fusible appliqué to first adhere each little piece of fabric to a larger background piece. Below is a process shot I snapped with my phone to show how I whittled down the paper templates as I made the fabric appliqué pieces.​


​Not too pretty at this point, eh? Well, let me say there were many moments I had my doubts. That voice that likes to play round and round in my head – “Suz, are you sure you can do this?” – has yet to learn to shut up.

Throughout the whole making process I was texting Mary. My Saint Mary.​ She was my sanity and my sounding board. She was a major reason I did not listen to that voice of doubt. Once I finished making the quilt top, I over-night shipped it from Chicago to New Hampshire and my Saint Mary quilted it in a matter of DAYS.

It's true. After all of the meetings and conference calls, this quilt was made from start to finish in 10 days.

In 10 days this fabric cityscape went from Chicago to New Hampshire back to Chicago and then to Los Angeles!

As you can see by the pictures below, the quilt turned out beautifully and made it to L.A. right on time. phew! Immediately after shipping this quilt, I jetted off to chill in the mountains of Montana for a week cause by golly I deserved it!


​These next couple photos are of the back of the quilt. Look closely to see the amazing details of the quilting.


​After seeing this finished quilt, you may be asking yourself, "Yes...but how did they fit a car on top?"

That's a great question! They didn't! haha

In addition to this cityscape quilt, Mary quilted a plain 80" x 80"​ gray quilt that was draped and photographed to look like the road. Once all of the pieces of the ad were photographed separately, the very talented Andy Glass mashed (technical term) them all together to create this! (See below for the final print ad – now in magazines.)

toyota quilt ad

​Pretty amazing, isn't it? The print ad showcases only a small part of the quilt, but through various web and video ads more will be seen. Just yesterday my husband was clicking around on YouTube and found this!

47 thoughts on “A Quilt Collaboration with Toyota

  1. Rebecca says:

    Excellent quilt! As a painter who has recently fallen for quilt making this is really inspirational! Never thought of taking a photo and breaking it down into sections for the quilt.

  2. Pamela Ingram says:

    Suzy, this is, for sure, an OMG! project!!! It’s Beautiful… Fabulous..Amazing (running out of superlatives here). I am so proud of you and love watching you follow your dream. I can imagine that, along the way, there have been moments when nobody really understood what you were doing but you… As they say at GH, “You go girl!!”

  3. Stephanie says:

    Besides the spectacular feat and gorgeous quilt, it must be a great feeling to have your work memorialized like this. Many congratulations. This kind of thing doesn’t happen every day.

  4. Laura Damkoehler says:

    Suzy, I’m blown away! I just discovered your blog a few days ago and thought you were pretty freaking cool already, but this takes the cake. LOL. I love it! The quilt is gorgeous and the collaboration with such a different industry makes this totally delightful. You’re awesome.

  5. Natasha says:

    That’s so awesome! I am floored that such a HUGE company wanted a quilt for their ad. What?! I didn’t think the world was paying attention to all the rad things quilters are doing out here in our quiet little spaces we occupy. I’m so glad that you represented us so well. That quilt is modern and beautiful. Go Suzy!

  6. Diane says:

    This is STUNNING. LOVE IT. You are soooo talented, not to mention tenacious. I admire you for overcoming the doubting thoughts that plagued you along the way. That is in itself an awesome accomplishment.

    • Suzy says:

      Thank you so much, Diane! I don’t know if the self-doubt will ever fully go away, but it’s exciting seeing how much better I’m getting at ignoring it! 😉

  7. Debbie says:

    Congratulations Suzy!! This is the best quilt ever. I am going to look for this next time I am at my Toyota Dealership!!!

  8. Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts says:

    Aaaaamazing!! So cool to see quilting in mainstream advertising! You did a fantastic job under pressure, I’m so glad you smashed through those doubts because the outcome is sooo good. Will they send the quilt back to you? That’d be one for the trunk show box, for sure!

  9. Donna says:

    Seriously?!?! Girl you are making quilting super cool. You are def one of the cool kids! ???? Congrats on such an amazing achievement and stunning piece of art!

  10. Amy says:

    Lovely quilt. Did you work with any quilters of color to create the design? Seems particularly African-inspired – a great opportunity to collaborate and celebrate history and culture.

  11. Elizabeth Senser says:

    Amazing work! I don’t know how you did it but you nailed it! The quilting is remarkable as well! Great job, Ladies!

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