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!



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.


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

The Purple Rain dress

Finally, here it is – my first creation as part of Indie pattern month! (Yes, right at the very end. Again. Oops!)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

All month I’ve been talking about, and slowly but surely putting together, the La Sylphide dress from Papercut patterns. This is my first Papercut pattern, and can I just say – I absolutely love this company! The thought that has gone into it amazes me – Katie has put together a whole experience with a lot of care, and I found every part of it, from browsing her website to receiving the pattern, making up the instructions, and sewing up the dress, to be rather delightful. I suspect I am now a Papercut fangirl. Hah. (And I am also eagerly awaiting her next collection, so I can buy and make more pretties!!)

Anyway, enough gushing for the moment. And on to the dress!

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

La Sylphide is a short dress, with a quarter circle skirt, button-up front, and tie at the v-neckline. (There is also a peplum top and a skirt variation. I’m planning on making the peplum top sometime very soon. Coz that’s how much I enjoyed making up this pattern.)

Now, a little word of warning. When I say this is a short dress, I do mean short. I added 16cm to the length of the skirt, and it’s still a bit shorter than I’d like! (But that’s how wide my fabric was, so that’s how long it got to be.) The quarter circle skirt swirls beautifully, and I live in a very windy city, so I’ll have to be a bit careful about what I wear under this, just in case! (Too much information? Perhaps.)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

I found working with this Papercut pattern quite interesting. Back when I was at university, I did a part-time evening pattern drafting course, where I got taught things like using 1cm seam allowances and assembling in the flat as much as possible. But, I’ve pretty much never come across that sort of thing in patterns. Until now. Papercut patterns have a 1cm seam allowance – which is fantastic! Less wastage, less bulk, and none of that cut-out-heaps-of-extra-seam-allowance-then-cut-it-all-off-again faffing around. The sleeves on this dress are also attached in the flat, then the side seam of both dress and sleeves sewn up all at once. Brilliant! So much faster, and easier, than attaching them in the round. (Yes, another reason why I am now in love with Papercut. *swoon*)

The use of interfacing with this pattern was quite interesting too. Strips of interfacing were attached at the end of the sleeves, and along the button placket, then the fabric was turned over and topstitched, which gives a great, clean finish both inside and out, adds a bit more durability for the lightweight/drapey fabrics recommended for this pattern, and in the case of the sleeves also gives a nice, crisp, almost-cuff-like finish.

Now, speaking of the button placket, I went with what seems to be my current ‘thing’, and used snap fasteners instead. Because I could. Sewing-with-a-hammer once more – gotta love that.

Snap fasteners

I decided to go with a turned-up hem, rather than the rolled hem the pattern called for. Not for any particular reason – I think just because I couldn’t be bothered doing a rolled hem that day. (Lazy seamstress, me? Um, yeah. Whoops.) I had some vintage seam binding in my stash, which added a bit of a contrast colour (I do like adding contrast colours when binding hems). Sadly, it ran out about 3/4 of the way around the skirt, so I finished the rest with some cream lace. (Note to self: next time, measure the lengths properly, rather than just holding the tape up to the skirt and thinking it looks about right, then heading straight into stitching it on.)

Hem tape

I found the fit of this pretty good – no modifications were made, although next time I will lower the bust dart points by about an inch and a half. Which is probably a modification I should just make to every pattern by default, since they’re always too high on me. (What’s that about?!?) Aside from adding the 16cm to the skirt length, the only other thing I did differently was construction order. Rather than stitching up the bodice and the skirt separately, then joining them at the waist, I attached the skirt pieces to the bodice pieces then stitched the entire way up the side seams all at once. For two reasons – I like working in the flat more than working in the round, and (the main reason) because it makes it a lot easier to take the dress in at the waist if I ever lose these last couple of post-baby inches. (But let’s face it – chocolate is more important to me than those last two inches, so chances are they’re not going to be coming off in a hurry!)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

Had to go to Auckland for work last week, which made for a good opportunity for photos outside in daylight, without having to wait for the weekend. (Ironically, I then didn’t get a chance to post this until the end of the weekend, but whatever.) These were taken at Browns Bay, on the North Shore, right between the shopping centre and the beach. In the rain. That’s how dedicated I am to getting photos for you, people – I stood in the rain in winter, without my coat. I even twirled in the rain, on wet and muddy grass, in high heels, in order to show off the skirt’s twirl-factor. And people nearby looked at me like I was crazy. (And a big thanks to my lovely colleague Fiona, who very nicely took the photos for me and hopefully didn’t think I was too odd.)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

So, there it is, folks – my Purple Rain La Sylphide. (Why Purple Rain? Well, the dress is dark purple and black, and it was raining in the photos. And I couldn’t think of anything better. Got any better suggestions? Let me know so I can rename this dress – my naming creativity is at an all-time low this evening!) Verdict? I love it! It’s fun to wear, swirls around while you walk, the necktie looks super cute over a buttoned-up cardigan, and it was fun and easy to make. More versions of this will be made, probably quite soon.

Here’s a last twirling-in-the-rain photo, just because I like it, blurry though it is.
La Sylphide dress twiriling

Meet Katie from Papercut!

As part of Indie Pattern Month, The Curious Kiwi and I are interviewing some of the amazingly talented people who are behind some of the fantastic indie pattern labels.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to the amazingly talented Katie – the passionate and creative person behind Papercut!

Katie, thanks for joining us here today. I adore your designs, and I’m really looking forward to hearing more about Papercut! So, to start….

What inspired you to get into patterns designing?
I’ve made patterns for as long as I can remember. I taught myself the basics when I was about 10 years old by cutting around my own clothes and figuring out how all the pieces went together.

It was sort of out of necessity as I was one of five children, so it was either wear hand-me-downs or make my own clothes.

I’m a very logical thinker so patternmaking came quite naturally to me. As I grew up I wore a lot of me made clothes and did a lot of refashioning.

When it came time for me to leave school I desperately wanted to study Fashion Design but was scared of the lack of job prospects at the end and decided to study Graphic Design instead. After a year of study I decided to follow my true passion and transfer to Fashion. Having that first year in Graphic Design however has proved so valuable to me with the path I have followed as I have done all my own branding.

I worked for Global Fabrics for many years after that forming my fabric obsession. Global Fabrics (now called The Fabric Store) is a really cool fabric shop that seriously has the most amazing beautiful fabrics sourced from designers all around the world. We sold to both the public and local fashion designers.

I constantly got asked if there were patterns for the clothes I made myself and it wasn’t until one day I sat down with one of my customers flicking though the pattern catalogues that I realised how little choice there was out there. I wondered to myself why no one else had filled this void.

A few weeks later I decided to take a pattern home from the shop for a quick make garment to wear to a party that night. A quick make it was not! After a huge rant about how the instructions were indecipherable and “how can anyone follow these things?!” The idea dawned on me… I should start my own pattern company!

Papercut pattern supplies

How would you describe your aesthetic?
I would say my aesthetic is modern/pretty. I like to keep up with current looks and put my own spin on it.

What do you consider your point of difference?
Papercut Patterns major point of difference is the innovative design – not only of the fashion patterns but also the packaging and the use of recycled and recyclable products.

Freshly printed Papercut patterns

How similar are your designs and your own day to day wardrobe?
Every design is made because it’s something I want to wear, however the reality is I don’t have much time to sew for myself and I find it really hard to justify spending a lot of money on clothing as I can easily make it, catch 22, so ironically I think I’m the worst dressed in town. I live in my skinny jeans, cashmere jerseys and ballet flats, so comfy and practical but when I have an occasion I always dress up in my own designs.

Which is your favourite of the patterns you’ve designed?
That’s a hard one! I love so many of them. My Pleated Pants and my Undercover Hood get the most use in my wardrobe, but I love La Sylphide and Midsummer’s Night Dream!

If you could make that one for anyone at all, who would it be for, why, and what fabric would you make it in?
If I could dress anyone up, it would have to be Alexa Chung! She is my style icon at the moment (and my hair inspiration). I would dress her in my Rite of Spring shorts though, teamed with a Sloppy Josephine tee and a blazer (a pattern which I actually designed to go in my Covent Garden collection but didn’t quite make it as I hadn’t finished the instructions) which is coming very soon!

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt since you started your pattern label?
How much of a multi tasker you have to be when you run a small business. For me, there’s design, production, distribution, marketing, accounting not to mention being a mum to two kids. It can be really hard to get your head around sometimes.

Katie from Papercut in her studio

Why did you choose that name for your label?
I actually came up with the name on the same night I came up with the idea for the Company. I was brainstorming all evening and came up with Papercut as it is the paper cut of the garment.

How did you decide what to call your patterns?
When I design a collection I generally have a theme that runs through and that sort of decides the names. My last collection had a strong ballet feel so each pattern was named after a famous ballet. Covent Garden is a group of theatres where these ballets are performed, so it kind of fit to be the name of the collection.

Thanks again Katie! I love the ethos of your label (and the packaging! Oh my – seriously folks, if you don’t yet own a Papercut pattern, you need to buy one just for the experience of opening it up!!), and I’ll be looking forward to your next collection! (A blazer, you say? Hmmm… I may just have the perfect fabric for that waiting in my stash…)

Also, Papercut currently has free international shipping! Which is a pretty amazingly good deal really, so you should go and check it out. (And don’t forget – the prices are in New Zealand Dollars, so they’ll cost less than you first think. And are totally worth it. But then, I may be biased – I’m nearly finished my La Sylphide dress and am already contemplating what fabric to make the blouse version up in…. Yes, I like it that much.)

A honest opinion?

Alright folks, I need an honest opinion here. I’ve been sewing up the Hummingbird green top and, well, it just ain’t workin’ for me.




Now, I know this doesn’t look all that good on me. But what I can’t pinpoint is the exact reason why. Is it the use of two colours? Is the peplum not quite in the right place? Is the neckline wrong for me? Is it too tight/loose/something else? Are peplums just not my thing? Is it all of the above?


I’d really love to get your thoughts on this. Can this top be salvaged? Should it be, or should I cut it up and make a couple of pairs of baby trousers with it instead? Should I bother trying this top pattern again, or is it just not right for me? Please, tell me what you think! Don’t pull any punches either – brutal honesty appreciated. 🙂