What do you love about sewing?
Good question! I love sewing for the creativity it provides. It gives all of us the ability to combine color, style, and silhouette in a way that is flattering. I also love sewing because it’s a technical skill.
Sewing is both a science and an art, so it seems to me that everyone can enjoy sewing at some level.
Do you come from a long line of sewers/pattern drafters/crafters?
I have a cousin that is a professional artist, so does that count? My grandmother and mother both sewed but did not enjoy it at the same level that I do. I think they both sewed out of necessity, not for the enjoyment of it. I have an aunt that still sews, but for the most part my extended family isn’t heavily into the arts.
What does a work day look like for you?
The day always starts by responding to email and processing orders. The middle of the day is spent on whatever need has the highest priority or the shortest deadline. It could be updating the website, making progress on a new or established design, printing more stock, preparing or planning for an event or class, ordering or sourcing supplies, going on a photo shoot, checking a vendors work…the list is long! At the end of the usual work day I make a trip to the post office to mail the orders. It’s a chance for me to get out and see the sky. Then back to work until bedtime. Nights and weekends I work on the extras like blogging and mailing list updates.
How long have you wanted to start a pattern line?
It was the dull fashion of the 1990’s that set in motion a determination to go to college for apparel design with the thought that perhaps eventually I could start a pattern line. I was going to ensure that at least I would never again be the prisoner of dull fashion again!
How did you choose your pattern company name?
The first 3 patterns were originally issued under the name of “Nostalgic Pattern Co.” I chose the name because of the historic nature of my aesthetic. My family warned me it was a bad name, but I didn’t believe them. After a year or so, I hired a friend to create a new logo, but first I had to come with a new name. I knew that I wanted the word “sew” in it. Wanting to help, my friend sent me a brainstorm list of about 20 name combinations and Sew Chic was at the top. I was worried that “Chic” would give me trouble knowing that many people wouldn’t know how to say it or spell it, but I liked it enough to start working on a logo idea right away. The next day I sent her the graphic and asked her opinion of it. She said it was perfect!
Because the project was over as quick as it started, she never charge me for it.
What inspires you?
Shape, form, repetition, harmony, color, modesty, kindness, eloquence, honesty, character, quality, sharing, gratitude, light, cheerfulness.
Do you have a mentor?
I do try to watch and learn and glean wisdom from people where ever I go, whomever I interact with, and from the books that I read. I very much admire and love to study the works of the past fashion designers such as Madeline Vionnet. She shunned the label “designer” and always called herself a dressmaker. Highly inventive designers like Charles James and Cristóbal Balenciaga where masters of shape in the clothing arts. No one designs like that anymore.
What challenges have you had with your pattern line?
Most problems are logistical. It’s difficult to source quality vendors and raw materials. The internet helps, but networking is better.
Do you have a 5 year goal in mind?
Within 5 years I hope to have many patterns in every category of women’s wear. I also want to do patterns for men. Children’s wear is less of a priority because there are already many independent companies doing childrens clothing. I will continue to teach at sewing expos, attending 2 shows a year- fall and spring. I will also be teaching video classes.
What advice would you give others who are thinking of starting their own pattern line?
If there was one thing that would guarantee success, I would tell them to do their prep work and go to college! Having ideas and being able to sew and draw a little is not enough. This job is so much more, and to do this without an education is starting with a huge handicap. When I started school, I would have called myself an expert seamstress, but it would not have been enough. Besides discovering my talent for design, I learned so much more, and I’m still learning! I cannot even imagine starting any other way, and credit much of my success to the fact that I got an education first.
Sew Chic Pattern Company
Mail:595 Dampier Dr.
Philomath OR 97370
Toll Free: 866-623-9052