In Memory of Jane Lewis

On August 24, 2017 we lost Jane Lewis, one of the most talented and knowledgeable textile designers in the quilting industry. Jane had been battling lung cancer since 2015 and through all she had to endure she was still committed to her contributions to our industry. Her ability to inspire those around her through her work has never gone unnoticed or unappreciated. For those of us at Pattern Observer, we were particularly amazed with her work as an Art Director at P&B Textiles, and most recently, as an industry expert within Pattern Observer’s Textile Design Lab.

I first met Jane Lewis in 2005 when I applied for a freelance design position at P&B Textiles through Craigslist. P&B textiles was my first freelance client and working with Jane would forever shape my outlook and perspective on the industry.

  • Knowing to tuck the end of my flower stems behind over motifs to give patterns more movement and flow… Jane taught me that.
  • Knowing to always tilt paisleys to avoid straight horizontal or vertical lines within your repeat… Jane taught me that.
  • Keeping freelance clients in the loop about the number of hours you had invested in a concept or repeat… Jane taught me that.

She taught me countless lessons on designing layouts, preparing patterns for production, and running a professional freelance business.

Jane truly loved the textile design industry and it always showed. She was so grateful to rise up and lend a helping hand to other designers. While at P&B Textiles she helped countless artists and designers craft brilliantly curated collections. She loved discovering new talent within the industry and helping designers find their way. This work and passion continued within her work in Pattern Observer’s Textile Design Lab and so many students have benefited from it. She was so passionate about the TDL community, attending our weekly art critiques, giving detailed feedback on our forums, and creating a guest expert training on Developing Quilt Fabric Collections. Her words and insights were cherished by everyone, and all who received them are better in their craft because of it. Yes, I’m biased, but I am sure of it.

Jane’s collection for Modify

There is no doubt that Jane was taken from this world too soon, but her positive impact and influence will live on forever. She will be there with us in every art critique and every quilting collection critique. Reflections of her will not easily fade.

Countless designers will continue to work through her TDL training and go on to create more impactful collections because of Jane’s thoughtful insight and guidance.

And now even more designers will have the opportunity to join the Lab. Soon after Jane’s passing her friends and family established the Jane Lewis Textile Scholarship to help students trying to learn the craft of textile design. We are pleased to announce that Pattern Observer will be matching all funds donated. We are still working through the details of how the scholarships will be distributed, but will be releasing more information in the future. It’s important to us that we take this process slowly and get it right.

In celebration of Jane’s life, we have posted Jane’s exclusive TDL training, Developing Quilt Fabric Collections with Jane Lewis, for all to download for free. Just click here to download.

Please share this training with anyone who you think might benefit and help us to celebrate Jane’s life and her impact on our industry.

I know so many of you worked with Jane and have similar stories to share. Please, open your heart up and share them so we can celebrate what she brought our community. Through her, we can all become stronger mentors to new designers and better designers in our individual pursuits.

Much love and gratitude,
Michelle Fifis




  1. I am devastated! I had no idea Jane faced cancer. She was so kind and giving to me and others starting out in this industry, She was a bright light and a soul that will surely shine as a bright star in Heaven.

  2. Oh no! What a tragic loss in our industry. I myself have been inspired and helped by her wisdom and teachings, and I am so very sad and sorry to hear of her passing. Prayers for her family, and thank you Michelle for introducing us to her in the TDL x

  3. I am so sorry to hear this. I have been a labmember for several months and she was such a generous person, sharing her postive comments to improve your work, and keep you going with designing. I loved hearing her input and it seems strange now to have a Lab without her. We will miss her so much…

  4. Did not expect such tragic news. Jane has given great feedback and always seemed so cheerful and encouraging. I’ve learned so much about the quilting industry from her. It’s a very beautiful text you have written Michelle. Jane shall be missed.

  5. That is heart-breaking news, Michelle. I’m so sorry to hear of Jane’s passing. She was so generous and helpful with her feedback, and a treasure trove of knowledge and experience. That is so very sad.

  6. Thanks Michelle for sharing this very sad news. I am stunned. I am not a current member but was so blessed to have received helpful and caring comments from Jane on some of my patterns and collections while a TDL member. She was definitely invested in her teaching and passing on her knowledge. She will be missed by many.

  7. I was so fortunate to be contacted by Jane one day to ask me if I’d like to create a fabric collection for P&B Textiles!!! I can’t tell you how excited, humbled, nervous, happy, over the MOON, I was. We chatted on the phone, and then via email for a bit, then she handed me over to two very kind ladies at P&B and we started the process. I learned a TON, and our collection launched last spring. What an honor that I got to work with P&B. Jane said “she loved my hand”, and I will always remember that. It’s a nugget of positivity in my art career. She, along with Michelle Fifis, has changed my life as an artist forever, and I will be forever be grateful. So very sad to hear of her passing.

  8. A tribute very nicely written, Michelle. Jane was the first to reach out to me when I first started posting on the TDL forums. She was so encouraging, full of great suggestions for turning my fine art work into textile designs. I was touched by her immediate interest and kindness. And will certainly miss her spot-on critique style and creative help. She was an “artist’s artist” for sure.

  9. You found such beautiful words, Michelle. Thank you. Jane always took time, effort, and interest to look at designs and explain, suggest, and offer ideas. She had the wealth of knowledge and experience and shared it so generously. I am praying for her wherever she is now.

  10. I am chocked..Jane was a really special woman ….She helped me looking at my designs differently….I felt she wanted to help ..Such a loss

  11. I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Jane, and also inspired by her strength.
    I felt so cared for as a designer by Jane, through her attentiveness to guide me through from beginning to end of a large collection last year.
    I just assumed she’d always be there…a design expert, but more importantly a good, kind person, who I could come back to any time in TDL if I were in a designer quandary, and that Jane would surely be there to help.

    Thank you, Michelle, for your lovely tribute to Jane

  12. Thank you so much for this lovely tribute to Jane. I am just finding out about this today, after looking at the same picture above in Instagram last night, only to find out today she passed. I am shocked and sadden at the same time. She was a great asset to the industry. She will be missed!

  13. I’m so sorry to hear this news, and am sending warm thoughts to her friends like you and family. She sounds like a wonderful mentor and enthusiastic teacher who truly loved what she was doing. What a beautiful tribute and legacy. So sorry for your loss, dear Michelle.

  14. I’m saddened to hear of Jane’s passing. Within the TDL community, she had a great impact on my design work. Her breadth of knowledge and feedback will be sorely missed.

  15. Jane was a bright and perceptive light at the lab, supporting designers in improving their work. It wasn’t hard to see that we and you would miss her, Michelle. It is especially so now that I have read your beautiful tribute. Lovely to know how much she contributed to your career.

  16. A tremendous loss on so many levels . I met Jane as a textile artist when I launched a children’s wear line in 1986 . She was a fantastic artist with a great hand but an even greater heart. My heart goes out to her husband and son as well as the community at-large. We will all be poorer for the loss.

  17. Jane and I worked together at P&B…..she embraced me from the moment I moved to the Bay Area. We shared ideas, trends and design direction for the company on a constant basis. Her forward thinking, raw talent and love of textiles was part of every moment of each day. We created some great, fun quilt fabrics, shared stories of the industry all the time and had sons the same age and as mom’s embraced a world of raising adult children. She was a happy, positive, generous and a talented woman who I will miss both professionally and personally. Life is a gift… Jane’s short life, she knew how to enjoy it and share it with others…..truly a loss.

  18. Jane will be deeply missed, she was one of the most complete and generous textile designers I have ever come across. Her smile is still in my mind from when I met her at The Quilt Show a few years ago. I will be more than happy to contribute to the Jane Lewis Textile Scholarship. Thank you for this tribute.

  19. I’m so sad to see Jane transition. She made critiques of my designs while I was enrolled at Pattern Observer. They were very helpful in my understanding of pattern making and I’m very grateful.

  20. gıft,to start to know her from her training secrets,thankfull for her,allah rahmet eylesin in turkısth,these type of creative teachers can not forget all over the unıverse…

  21. I was so surprised and saddened to see this post. I had no idea that Jane was battling cancer. Michelle, this is a beautiful and touching memorial to Jane. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

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