Tag Archives: indie pattern

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!)

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.)