Thuy Nguyen’s Quilt Shop




My mother was a seamstress and owned a fabric shop in a small town in South Vietnam.  Because I spent time with her in the store, I learned how to sew at a very young age.  My family fled Vietnam by boat in 1975 before it fell to the Communists.  Leaving my hometown, I said goodbye to my parents and saw them for the last time.  After spending 2 months in refugee camps, we were sponsored by a church in the Midwest.   

Once we settled in Iowa, I stayed home to take care of the children.  That meant I had a lot of time on my hands!  If I wasn’t gardening, I was sewing clothes for my family.  Always eager to learn new things, an interesting and fascinating looking “blanket” caught my eye on a magazine cover one day in 1983.  Because quilts do not exist in tropical Vietnam, I had never seen one before!  This Broken Star quilt captivated me.  I didn’t know how to make one, but I instantly fell in love with it. 

After my first quilting class where I only learned to attach the fabric to a quilting frame, I went to the store and purchased batting and the pre-cut Broken Star Quilt.  I immediately started sewing when I got home.  I didn’t know much English, so I just looked at the picture and put it altogether!  Quilting began to consume much of my time.  I worked day and night until I finished that quilt top.  I had never learned how to quilt, so I just made up my own way.  Once the quilting was done, I then did the binding my own way, too!  Two months later the Broken Star was finished.

At this time my daughter was about 4 years old.  I would often help her catch butterflies in the backyard, so I decided to make my first appliquéd quilt—a butterfly quilt.  This time I made up my own way to appliqué and finished the top.  Because the quilting took so long, I decided to have someone else do it for me.  A friend directed me to the Amish women outside of town, and thus began my long business relationship and friendship with the Amish community.   

In 1991 my oldest son began college.  At that time, quilting was still a hobby.  But soon it became a full-time job.  I decided I needed to do something to help my son through school, so I began to do alterations.  When I decided that wasn’t enough, I decided to make quilts to sell and hired an Amish woman to quilt for me.  I loved choosing color combinations and different fabrics until it was pleasing to my eye.  My first appliquéd quilts to sell were the Bridal Heart, Country Lily, Country Songbird, and Country Love. 

I have sold a countless number of quilts and occasionally enjoy taking them to contests.  I am most proud of my 1998 Baltimore Beauty quilt which was a finalist in the American Quilter’s Society Quilt show in Paducah, Kentucky, a worldwide contest. My quilts can also be seen or purchased in numerous quilting shops in Kalona, Iowa, and Branson, Missouri. They have been purchased from people living all over the world. In 1996 I also donated the Bridal Heart quilt to my daughter’s high school band for their annual fundraiser. It was a hit, and I did it for the next two years.

It has been 16 years since I began selling quilts, and much has changed.  My appliqué technique has evolved many times, and now I also re-make antique patterns and have designed a few of my own very special wallhangings.  Not only does quilting help my family in Iowa, it also reaches halfway around the globe and has helped my family in Vietnam.  About ten years ago my two nieces in Vietnam were struggling to make a living.  Since my quilts were starting to sell faster than I could make them, I decided to teach my nieces how to appliqué.  I spent many weeks teaching them how to blind stitch with my technique, and eventually they were doing it as well as me!  They learned so fast, and I am still so proud of them.  My process of making quilts has not changed much, though.  I still choose the fabric and color combinations, cut out all the pieces and meticulously arrange them and baste them into place.  Every time I try a new pattern I do the blind stitching and finish it to make sure I like it.  If I like it then I’ll make a couple more and send them to my nieces for the blind-stitching.  For quilts that I want to pass down to my daughter and ones for contest, I also do the blind-stitching and the Amish still do the quilting. 

Contact me

If you have any questions please e-mail me at  Thanks for visiting! 



my husband’s book,

the making of a believer





Hello, and welcome to my website! My name is Thuy Nguyen, and I am a quilt maker from Iowa. I invite you and your friends to take a look at my passion in life—quilts! 

Why these quilts are special...

How I came to love quilts...

Each quilt is one-of-a-kind and heirloom-quality.  I use the highest-quality fabric and spend a lot of time making sure the colors work together just right. I also use my own very unique appliqué technique to achieve the highest-quality look. The quilts are all handmade and then quilted by the best Amish quilters in the area.