This post is part of a blog hop, to which I was invited by Christine of ChrisW Designs. Christine is a gifted bag pattern designer and I was very flattered when she invited me to join this blog hop. Thanks Christine!
1. What am I working on right now?
As some of you may know my passion is bag making – designing bag sewing patterns to be exact. I started my sewing pattern shop in early 2013 and as of now have 17 patterns for sale - as downloadable PDF patterns.
I am actually working on two projects right now, two bag pattern designs which will be released end of August and end of September:
The Hobo pictured below (I still haven't named this pattern) is a large, spacious bag with lots of pockets, eight to be exact. This pattern is ready to go up in my shop next week as soon as our move to our new home is done… yeah, I admit, things got delayed a little bit because of that.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
This is a question hard to answer but ever since I started making patterns I tried to write them in a way that everybody would be able to follow them. I had always had trouble with commercial sewing patterns in the past, because there were not enough illustrations, or bad quality illustrations or no illustrations at all. I found myself many times wondering about what the instructions are asking me to do and at the end just trying something out and hoping for the best. This did get frustrating at times and when I started making patterns myself one of my main goals was to prevent the sewer from exactly this frustration when working on my designs. That's why I use lots and lots step-by-step color photographs in my patterns. I think that a good photograph can make such a big difference when reading and trying to understand instructions. When in doubt I even label parts in the photographs as well, e. g. a stitch line or a cutting line to be absolutely sure the reader understands what he or she is supposed to do.
3. Why do I write/create what I do?
There are two answers to this question.
Number 1: I love sewing! When I started sewing about 7 years ago I had no idea that it would become such a passion of mine. At first I only made clothing and home accessories but then I got totally hooked on making bags after reading Lisa Lam’s fabulous book “The Bag Making Bible”. And I couldn’t stop making bags ever since.
Number 2: After moving to the States I knew I was going to try to start my own business. I love creating and designing so I thought I might as well sell all the bags and wallets I was making. When my Trifold Wallet became the bestselling item in my Etsy shop I thought, if there are so many people loving this design there might be a lot of sewers out there who would maybe love to make one of those wallets themselves? And so I created a pattern for the Trifold Wallet. That’s when I realized how much fun pattern writing is! I slowly shifted the focus of my business onto my patterns and added more and more patterns to my shop over time. As of now I have five wallet patterns and 11 bag patterns available.
I usually start with a sketch of the design I have in mind. I am really bad at sketching but my little drawings are good enough for me to visualize my design and all its key elements. Then I sew up the prototype for this bag design. I used to do this with old fabric or muslin but recently started to use “nice” fabric for this step immediately since I now feel confident enough to not screw up even though at this point I might have to adjust measurements of the single pattern pieces :) I also make sure to take a picture of every step while sewing up the bag. Going through my pictures I then write the instructions and create the pattern pieces in Illustrator. After that the test pattern goes out to my testers for about three weeks. They are all very lovely and helpful people and I am really glad for everything they do for me. They all seem to have a lot of fun working with my patterns and I always anxiously wait for feedback and – even more exciting – pictures of their finished items. It is so fascinating to see all the different versions of bags! Their feedback helps me to get rid the last errors and after a final layout editing the pattern is ready to be released and go up in my shop. The whole process usually takes four to five weeks.
First up is Vicky of Vicky Myers Creations. Vicky is one of my dear testers and focuses on upcycling. I am always amazed by her creativity and how she turns old materials into something new and trendy. Vicky also has an Etsy shop so make sure to check it out :)
Next up is Ree with her blog Sincerely Ree. Another one of my reliable patterns testers and the fastest sewer on this planet :) Seriously, she whips up new projects non-stop and the way she embellishes and alters existing designs always blows me away. So hop on over to her blog and enjoy the show :)
And finally there is Sarah from Prairie Girl Knits. She has also tested quite a few patterns for me and regularly posts about her current projects on her blog, which include not only sewing projects but also knitting, cooking and crafting for/with her five kids.
I hope you are enjoying this blog hop. Have a great week everyone, with lots of sewing :)