An interview with Barri Sue Gaudet, owner of Bareroots Designs

By Tiffany Jawor-Smith

Barri Sue Gaudet, owner of Bareroots Designs and Sierra Cottons & Wools quilt, stitch, and knit shop, has been a friend of QT Fabrics for over 2 years. Bareroots was established in 1998 with an embroidery pattern sold in a local quilt shop. In the beginning of Barri’s launch of Bareroots patterns, the look for the 90’s was more primitive. Bareroots light, whimsical, sweet designs made an impact. She’s been standing out ever since.  Barri’s love for drawing, sewing, and creative thinking have been at the forefront of her business success. Her inspiration comes from a love of flowers and all things little and sweet.

Bareroots wonderful embroidery patterns, dishtowel, and wool kits have been a hit with shops and consumers. Barri’s warm and creative nature inspires so many people in California and beyond. This July, QT launched Barri’s fabric collection, Daydreamer. Barri “hopes her little fabric line translates well into the shops and the trend of embroidery continues to inspire.”

Embroidery is certainly not a new craft, but one that has seen a major resurgence of popularity. During the pandemic, many people were looking to find a new creative outlet to try, to keep busy, and often, to function as therapeutic in stressful times.  

The star of this collection is a 36” panel with various patches as well as specific instructions for different stitches and techniques.  Barri’s approach is thoughtful and encouraging. The lead panel will help shops not currently offering embroidery, an easy and quick lesson for how to get started.

This collection allows quilters to try out embroidery and embroiderers to branch out into quilting. Daydreamer is a fantastic way for a shop to encourage new techniques and introduce some new products.  The collection is supported with two free quilt patterns, a journal cover and other ideas for all types of makers. Barri suggests kitting the panel and some coordinating fabric with an embroidery hoop and floss for a grab and go purchase!

Some perspective on business and new ventures:

Q:  How long have you been a shop owner?

A: It’s been 15 years now and it is still hard to believe!  After moving to a very rural area, it was difficult to find sewing friends and I worked from home (before it was an acronym). While I was on my little Bareroots website, I received an email from someone only fifteen miles away. I thought maybe she would come visit if I had a shop.  Plus, I needed somewhere to buy threads, needles, etc. Since the nearest town was 50-100 miles away, it made sense! Judi did visit and brought her friends; they are still my dearest pals. 13 years ago, I moved the shop to a slightly larger area. Customers are so encouraging, and they come from all over. I have made a lot of friends and it makes me so grateful.

“We laugh, we cry, we create, we make kits and kits and more kits there.”

Q: What made you decide to design a fabric line with QT Fabrics?

My creativity was encouraged by one of the QT Sales Rep, Ann Haley. She was extremely helpful and always had wonderful advice about my own little quilt/yarn shop.  After successfully distributing my kits and patterns through QT, I was encouraged to finally take the step toward designing fabrics. The line was developed with Bareroots and embroidery in-mind but allows the maker to decide if they want to quilt, craft, or embroider.

Q:  What piece of advice did you wish you knew when you started your business and shop adventure?

A: I pride myself on listening to advice as evident with launching a fabric line. The best advice, and something I lean on quite often is, “Do not let your business rule you. You rule your business.”   I can recognize feeling overwhelmed now. We shop owners, we can get that guilty feeling that we may not be carrying the right products or doing everything everybody wants. Because, let’s face it, they let us know!  How often we hear… Do you have? You should have!! Are you going to? Why don’t you? In those moments, I take a step back and remind myself I have a path. I shouldn’t veer from my goals to please a few.  Special orders, stopping a project to finish another, or purchasing something that may not be the right fit, just to please a few squeaky wheels? I’ve learned to tell those customers, “That’s something I should consider, thanks.”  They seem to be happy with that answer.

The best practical advice I ever received was to invest in a sign that says what you sell, not what your name is… People look for pizza or, in this case, fabric! It works. I have so many tourists and customers come in and tell me, I saw Fabric! Quilts! Yarn! And we just had to stop and see. My shop name is there, in smaller letters at the top. The clever person who shared that advice told me the only person who really cares about your name is you. Customers care about what you have.

Daydreamer, available exclusively through your QT Sales Rep and at

QT Distributes Bareroots patterns, dishtowel kits, wool felt kits, and Dunroven dishtowels blanks for the convenience of shop customers. 

Read more about Daydreamer and all of the collections featured in the Materials Matter section of the August issue of Creative Retailer available now.


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