Category Archives: Indie patterns sew along

The seasons, they go round. And so do certain annual events.

Annual events such as…. Indie Pattern Month! Woo hoo!!!

You may remember the last year in June, when Mel and I hosted the first ever Indie Pattern Month. We had so much fun interviewing indie designers, sewing indie designs, and seeing what everyone else was sewing as well, that it prompted us to start up The Monthly Stitch. (Yep, that’s right, folks. Indie Pattern Month was a catalyst.) We also decided that since so many people told us how much they enjoyed Indie Pattern Month, and asked if it would happen again, that we’d run Indie Pattern Month every June.

And since it’s June next month, that means Indie Pattern Month is coming up again!

And it’s gonna be even bigger and better than last year, oh yeah!

First up, the general premise is staying the same. It’s all about celebrating the wonderful talent and hard-work that indie designers put into creating patterns for us to all make and fall in love with. Whether they’re the more established indie designers (like Colette, who’ve just celebrated their 5th birthday) or the new ones just starting out (like Gather with their two patterns and hopefully many more to come), it’s time to celebrate them by making up indie patterns during June.

Also like last year, we’re going to be interviewing various indie designers, to find out more about them and their inspirations.

But we’re adding a couple of new things into the mix this year as well.

Firstly, sewing contests! We’ve gotten a group of fabulous indie designers on board as sponsors for four sewing contests during June. There’s a different one each week, with a different theme.

Secondly, discounts on patterns! One of our amazing sponsors is Dresses and Me, an online store who started up just to sell and promote indie designers. She’s offering a 15% discount on anything in her store from now until the end of June, just for Indie Pattern Month. (Use the code IPM2014 to get your 15% discount.)

Thirdly, giveaways! As well as giving prizes for the sewing contests, some of our wonderful sponsors have also given prizes for giveaways during the month.

And last but not least, one nice, easy, central location so you can find everything. All the interviews, everything that people have been making, info about the contests, all you may want to know about Indie Pattern Month. This year, we’re hosting it over on The Monthly Stitch. And we’d love you all to come and get involved!

Want to find out more, sign up to take part, see what designers are involved, and maybe check out the competition categories? Have a look at the overall announcement post and the sewing contests post.

Yeah, Indie Pattern Month 2014! It’s been months in the making, and now…. it’s here! 😀

Superhero Leggings!

You may have heard me mention Papercut patterns a couple of times recently. Yeah, I suspect I’m fast becoming a fan-girl. Which is slightly embarrassing, but Katie’s patterns really are rather gorgeous and fun.

So here’s my latest Papercut make – the Ooh La Leggings.

Ooh La Leggings

Just for the heck of it, and because I wasn’t sure how well this pattern would fit so wanted to do a trial before making it up in precious merino, I made ’em in a purple tshirting.

Ooh La Leggings

The same tshirting as my Cupcake top, in fact. (Perhaps I could wear them together? What do you think? No? What a shame….)

(Side note: somehow, it was nearly impossible for my face to have a ‘normal’ expression in any of these photos. I suspect this is due to my having too much fun leaping around on beds, and cracking up laughing at the absurdity of this photo shoot.)

And can I just say – I loooove this pattern! It’s fantastic – for a pair of leggings, it was super fun to make, has interesting seam detail, fits wonderfully (and is plenty long enough in the leg for me, which is rather unusual, tall gal that I am!), and has lots of potential for crazy things like prints or colour blocking (or both at once?!!) in the future.

Seriously folks, check out the seaming in this line drawing:

Papercut Ooh La Leggings line drawing

Papercut Ooh La Leggings line drawing

I have plans to draft up feet for these puppies, and then make ’em up in a nice snuggly merino and wear ’em with skirts and high heels so I can keep warm and cozy in winter and also do those seam lines (and pintucks) justice.

Ooh La Leggings

Because yes, the pattern calls for you to pintuck the seams down the front and the back of the legs. (I only did the front ones though, because the purple fabric is quite heavy for leggings and I didn’t want thick pintucks right behind my knees. Next time, in a lighter fabric, I’ll probably do both front and back seams.)

Ooh La Leggings centre front seam pintucks

Centre front seam pintucks

Something about purple leggings makes me want to make a superhero cape and come up with some random superhero name….

Ooh La Leggings

Me is strong superhero! Or not.

But since I can’t think of a superhero name, I’ll just jump on the bed instead!

Boing!!!

Boing!!!

Extra bonus fun – these pics were taken in a hotel room in Auckland, when a colleague and I were travelling overnight for work. Photos taken by my lovely friend/colleague Gill, who managed to not look at me too strangly when I asked her to help me take photos of myself jumping on a hotel bed wearing leggings once we’d finished work for the day. Gill – you’re a star!

Pillow fights are also a good way to use ones time in a hotel while travelling for work

Pillow fights are also a good way to use ones time in a hotel while travelling for work

Introducing Abby from Bluegingerdoll patterns!

Ready to meet another fabulous indie pattern designer? Abby from Bluegingerdoll is here to tell us all about where she gets her inspiration, and what she has planned next for her label!

So, Abby….

What inspired you to get into pattern designing?
I started drafting sewing patterns, for a few reasons, one being the commercial patterns that are available, aren’t really inspiring and the designs not really my style at all, and let’s not talk about the random and constant fitting issues with the patterns. Original vintage patterns were what I usual sewed with, but were becoming increasingly expensive and hard to find anything in my size. So I guess the drafting come from necessity, and it felt like a natural creative step from sewing as well. I also had all these design ideas but no way of creating them unless I drafted the actual pattern myself. So I started to teach myself to draft patterns, first starting with modifying vintage patterns then onto the drafting patterns from scratch. I decided my designs were worth sharing with the world, and so Bluegingerdoll was born.

bluegingerdoll logo 2013

What do you consider your point of difference?
I think Bluegingerdoll’s point of difference is that the designs are feminine and pretty, as well as being fully functional sewing pattern designs. They are vintage inspired, without be ‘costumey’. They are able to be worn on a regular basis no matter what your day/night consists of, and you will be comfortable with an added hint of vintage glam! I wanted people to buy Bluegingerdoll patterns, sew them up and have a design that is classic and flattering, and that they love for years to come! And no matter your size or shape you have a design that accentuates all your good parts and you feel beautiful wearing it!

Billie Jean dress

Billie Jean dress

How similar are you designs and your own day-to-day wardrobe?
The designs are my day to day wardrobe! I wear my Billie Jean dresses and all my pattern designs on a very regular basis to my day job, weekends, not only because they are comfy and glamorous but I am in love with each of my designs, as much as I hope each of my customers will be ! I intentionally designed them to be able to fit into your daily wardrobe, and be able to get that hint of vintage glamour as well.

If you could make your design for anyone at all, who would it be for, why?
I would love to make a design for Sophia Loren, for the simple reason she is an iconic bombshell. I think she would look great in the Billie Jean wiggle dress!

Billie Jean front pattern cover

Billie Jean front pattern cover

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt since you started your pattern label?
The most surprising thing I have learnt is more from the personal side of starting and running a small business – I need to remember that I am not and can’t be a super woman. I need to remind myself to take a step back, enjoy the process and just breathe every now and then, and remember the reason I started Bluegingerdoll in the first place.

Why did you choose that name for your label?
Bluegingerdoll basically represents me; you could say it’s my alter ego!

How do you decide what to call your patterns?
Each name evolves naturally throughout the design process. As each pattern design starts to take shape, it starts to reveal its own personality. And as this personality starts to show, I imagine and create a story in my head about what type of women would wear this design, what her life would be like, how she would feel while wearing it , is she an old Hollywood movie star or maybe the sweet girl next door.

What do you have planned next for your label?
I have my second pattern design ready to be released in the next week or so, as well as the Billie Jean sew along which is just starting now! I also have a few more pattern designs currently in the design / testing process ready to be released throughout the rest of the year.

Billie Jean dress

Billie Jean dress

Thanks so much for talking to us Abby! That Billie Jean dress is gorgeous, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what patterns you put out next!

(Like the Billie Jean dress? The sewalong has just started!)

Introducing indie pattern lover – Mel from The Curious Kiwi!

Ready to meet another lover of indie sewing patterns? This time, I’d like to introduce you to my sewalong-hosting buddy – Mel from The Curious Kiwi!

Mel sews a lot with indie sewing patterns. In fact, I think that she’s wearing something from an indie pattern every time I see her…. (Especially her Hollyburn skirt, which I can confirm looks even more awesome in real life than it does on a computer screen!) So her she is to tell us what’s on her wish list….

Mel in her fabulous Hollyburn skirt

So, Mel, what do you like the most about sewing with indie patterns?
I love that it feels like so much more love and attention goes into each release. You can tell from the pretty packaging to the beautifully illustrated instructions that it’s a special pattern. That also makes me want to do a great job of the garment too.

What’s your favourite Indie pattern, and why?
I haven’t made it yet but I am dying to, it’s the Papercut Watson Jacket. I secretly want to make a cape but I don’t think it would be very flattering on me so I just love that this is a cute blend of coat and cape and I can see me wearing it ALL. THE. TIME. I even have fabric picked out from my stash.

Watson jacket with the chosen fabric

What’s your favourite thing you’ve made from an indie pattern?
My Lady Grey is shaping up nicely but my Rooibos is definitely my favourite so far. It was my first Indie pattern and I tried piping for the first time too. I LOVE the linen I used for the main dress, I bought it on a trip to Melbourne so it has souvenir memories attached, and the fit was just spot on. I’ve been wearing it a lot lately to work and I always get a compliment so I can’t complain.

Rooibos with piping

Which is your favourite indie pattern company, and why?
Papercut is my number one at the moment, I know as a Kiwi I am 100% biased but I just can’t wait to see what her next release will be! I can’t just choose one through, equal in second place is a new company for me, Deer & Doe (such pretty patterns!), Colette and Sewaholic.

Which indie pattern are you planning on making next?
I have a Cake Tiramisu in the wings for July. I would also love to make the Deer & Doe Belladone but after seeing your version it’s competing hard with Papercut’s La Sylphide…I guess I’ll have to make them all! 😀

Tiramisu from Cake patterns

What indie patterns are on your wish list?
Even though I have no idea what it’s going to look like Papercut’s rumoured blazer pattern is already on my wish list. I’ve also had Colette’s Crepe on there for a while but just haven’t made the leap yet. I made a few splurge purchases last month so I guess I am waiting for everyone’s next releases so I can covet a few more pretties.

Crepe dress by Colette patterns

Introducing indie pattern lover – Rachel from House of Pinheiro!

Chances are, you all know who Rachel is, from House of Pinheiro. She makes lots of stunning garments, and takes gorgeous photos of them. (One day, when I grow up, I want to be able to style photos like she does….)

Rachel sews a lot with indie patterns, and here she is to tell us a bit more about her favourites, and what’s on her wishlist!

So, Rachel, what do you like the most about sewing with indie patterns?

What I like most about sewing indie patterns are mainly their design quality and love for the craft. You can feel each patterns is been carefully consider, drafted and tested, catering for specific niches of our community. The instructions are always very clear, use modern ‘technical” language and the packaging create an aspirational vision. It makes us want to sew it, treasure it and share with others.

What’s your favourite indie pattern, and why?

My favourite indie pattern right now its Deer and Doe Airelle Blouse. I have made 3 versions of it. I love Dixie DIY Hot Cocoa Sweater too.

Airelle blouse

Airelle blouse

What’s your favourite thing you’ve made from an indie pattern?

My favourite thing I made its a toss between the Victoria Blazer (By Hand London) for the achievement it made me feel after finishing and the Midsummer’s night dream(Papercut), its a delight to wear and so quick to make.

Victoria blazer

Victoria blazer

Which is your favourite indie pattern company, and why?

It’s so hard for me to pinpoint only one indie pattern company because each brings a different innovation. I have a personal relationship with By Hand London. After having both my Elisalex and my Charlotte skirt being the first spotted in the wild, the girls invited me to test their patterns and I had the pleasure to test both the Victoria Blazer and the Anna dress (being release shortly). Being so closely involved make me see how much work and love goes behind the scenes for making each pattern. I also have a large admiration for Rosie, DIY Couture. She dreamed of making making closes easier without the help of printed patterns and I love her urban approach. I’m not going to only blow the trumped for my local girls, I have a huge admiration for Katie (Papercut) due her out of the runway/wearable patterns, Kristiann (Victory Patterns) her aesthetics its the closest to my personal style and lastly but not least, Jen (Grainline) which by keenly following her on instagram and I admire her ethos and hard work. If I lived in my home country my wardrobe would be filled with Megan Nielsen layback style and Paris chic of Deer and Doe, which I have sewn for this challenge. Both patterns companies are so easy to sew and great wardrobe builders. As you can see, each designer share their individual point of view and make it a delight to discover each of them. I would love to give a shout about Sinbad & Sailor pdf patterns. I met Hannah when she joined another 50 sewists on our London Meet up and she really started to open my eyes about PDF patterns.

Elisalot polkadot dress

Elisalot polkadot dress

Which indie pattern are you planning on making next?

On my sewing queue Grainline Scout Tee, Papercut Coppelia and VP Nicola

What indie patterns are on your wish list?

On my wish List is it’s MN Cascade Skirt, & Tania Culottes

Red Datura

Red Datura

Thanks so much for stopping by Rachel! You’ve made so many lovely garments from indie patterns, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you make next. 🙂 (Also, that Nicola dress is going to look absolutely stunning on you!)

Want to hear what some others like about indie patterns? Penny and Lizzy have both stepped up so far and told us their thoughts. Who will be next…? (And is there anyone in particular you’d like us to interview?)

Introducing indie pattern lover – Penny from Dresses and Me!

Well folks, we’re at the end of indie pattern month. It’s been a great month – so many fabulous creations appearing all around the place (you can see a bunch of them over on the group Pinterest board), I’ve found out about a whole bunch more indie pattern designers I’d never encountered before (yay! New pretty patterns to look at!), and we’ve interviewed some great designers (Hannah from Sinbad and Sailor, Amity and Nhi from Lolita, and Katie from Papercut). Mel and I have really enjoyed hosting, and hopefully you all enjoyed it as well!

But before we sign off, we thought we’d do one last series of interviews. This time, we’re interviewing a few of the lovely ladies that took part, to find out what they love about indie patterns.

First up, I’d like to introduce you to Penny, who blogs over at Dresses and Me. Penny’s a fellow Kiwi, all the way up the other end of the island in Auckland. She’s recently opened her own online pattern company, selling independent labels that are usually crazy-expensive to get all the way down here in little ol’ New Zealand. (And is therefore enabling those of us who find it more-or-less impossible to resist patterns. Such as myself….) Penny’s also just launched a winter sewing swap so, if you like swaps, go sign up now!

So, Penny….

What do you like the most about sewing with indie patterns?

I guess I like that they are different. They approach sewing in a different way and make sewing more accessible. The instructions are often easier to follow because they don’t assume prior knowledge like the big four do. Indie patterns are also very thoughtful. Each pattern is an investment for the producer so they spend a lot of time thinking about what sewing enthusiasts want and how to make that design the best way they can. I also I like the idea of supporting a women’s enterprises.

Ginger skirt

Ginger skirt

What’s your favourite indie pattern, and why?

That is so hard! I guess the indie pattern that I wear the most is my Ginger skirt by Colette Patterns. It’s so versatile and easy to match with other clothes I’ve made or bought. I also wear my Renfrew top by Sewaholic Patterns heaps and as I’m getting more confident with knits I can see myself making tonnes more (there is currently on sitting on my table all cut and waiting to be sewn!)

Purple Renfrew

Purple Renfrew

What’s your favourite thing you’ve made from an indie pattern?

These are tough questions Kat! I really enjoyed making my Papercut Patterns Pleated shorts. They are such a cute design and I can imagine myself wearing them heaps this summer. I also have plans to make them as trousers too. Perhaps at a hipster-ankle-length. I also really enjoyed learning new techniques (I’m such a sewing geek!) like how to put a fly zipper in.

Pleated Pants

Pleated Pants

Which is your favourite indie pattern company, and why?
Gosh that is SO tough! I love Sewaholic because I’m a pretty practical sort of person and I love the everday prettiness of Tasia’s patterns. I’m currently making a Minoru and I know I’m going to get tonnes of wear out of it which I makes me really happy. I love making clothes that I’ll wear again and again.

Which indie pattern are you planning on making next?
Well currently on my sewing table I have a Renfrew tee and an Alma blouse that are both cut and waiting to be sewn together. I’m also hoping to make a Sloppy Josephine by Papercut Patterns but I’m hanging out to find the right fabric.

Thanks so much Penny! Those are some gorgeous creations there. (I’m now seriously considering making those Papercut pleated pants, after seeing your pair!) Thanks for telling us all about your favourites!

(Side note: all the pics above link back to the related posts on Penny’s blog, so you can go and read more about her pretty makes.)

Want to know more? Tune in tomorrow over at The Curious Kiwi to find out who’s being interviewed next!

The Cupcake top

Here it is folks – my second attempt at the green Hummingbird top from Cake patterns!

A huge thank-you to all of you who gave me feedback on my first ill-fitting attempt. Quite frankly – you guys rock! 😀

And here it is, Hummingbird number two:

Cake patterns Hummingbird green peplum top

Since this one worked out ok, I even gave it a name. It’s a small piece of Cake, so it gets to be a Cupcake. Hah.

Cake patterns Hummingbird green peplum top

Following on from suggestions received, I made it up in one colour, a dark colour, and a colour I know I like (purple!), so as to eliminate any issues of the I-don’t-know-if-I-hate-it-because-of-the-colour type. This time, it’s made up in a mid-weight cotton/poly blend tshirting.

As far as fit goes, I made several adjustments following the last top. I cut the sleeves as the shorter-sleeved version, which I think definitely helps the overall look of this on me. I took it in by about 2cm at each side seam at the waist, and I also raised the waist by 5cm in front and 6cm at the centre back.

I decided to leave the neckline as it was for this one, just to see what it looked like when the rest of the top was fitting ok. Next time, I’ll go with the recommendation to widen it – it’s not really doing much for me the way it is.

back

I must admit though – I’m still not 100% sold on this top on me. (Maybe I’m just out of practice with wearing knit tops?) It just doesn’t seem to be sitting right, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what to throw over the top of it when the weather gets colder (which, in Wellington, is several times a day, all year ’round). Meh.

The peplum is kinda fun, though. 🙂 So I’m going to try making another peplum top, this time in a woven fabric. I’ve got a 1940’s peplum shirt pattern to make up, or maybe I’ll try the top version of the La Sylphide pattern from Papercut first….

Cake patterns Hummingbird green peplum top

Photos for this were up at the Truby King garden, not too far from where we live. It was a beautiful winter day (so beautiful the weather lulled me into a false sense of warmth, which has been brutally dashed back to reality today *brrrr*) so we went for a walk and after climbing up the big hill I got brave and stripped down to short sleeves for photos. Just for you, lovely readers, to show you my new top in surroundings a bit more interesting than our lounge. 😉

Cake patterns Hummingbird green peplum top