Following the release of Pattern Runway‘s new dress patterns, owner Sarah agreed to chat to give me the lowdown on the thinking behind her designs, what makes indie companies fab, and her plans for the future. (Spoiler: they include paper patterns!)
1. What inspired you when putting together these latest designs?
I wanted to create patterns that were different to anything else available, that looked exciting and pleasurable to sew and pretty to wear. The designs are variations of classic silhouettes, with emphasis on interesting details and most of all fun wearable styles that suit a variety of fabrics. My hope was to create patterns that give your wardrobe a designer feel and make you proud because you made it!
2. Which of your designs so far is your personal favourite?
Thats a very hard one as I do love each of them equally but for different reasons. I first made the Coffee Date Dress and loved it so much, it became the bench mark for the next two! Its so easy to wear, with its classic silhouette but with a cute, vintage feel, and seeing the dress take form with the pleats and pockets is very satisfying to sew.
I love the versatile summery Drop waisted Dress, it’s very comfortable and has the whole smart casual thing going down. It’s slightly fitted with darting through the bodice and its dropped gathered skirt looks great in either casual cottons or dressed up with silk.
Lastly Stella is a little sweety with her cute layered sleeve and draped pleats at the waist, and it’s really flattering on. The peplum top worn with jeans or shorts makes for easy stylish summer attire.
3. What does Pattern Runway look like behind the scenes? Paint us a picture!
We live on the sunny Gold Coast of Australia and are at the start of our Winter. Winter on the Gold Coast is very enjoyable and mild, and just this weekend we were at the beach in T-shirts and shorts.
Juggling is the first thing that comes to mind! I also work part time as a product developer and production co-ordinator for two boutique labels and we are just starting to cosmetically renovate our first home that we moved into prior to christmas 2012. So it’s always a juggle of priorities, deadlines and projects. While I have a temporary functional office set up I don’t have a dedicated sewing space so when I’m sewing and developing patterns for Pattern Runway, it does tend to take over the house, as the dining table and kitchen bench are turned into production and work tables. I’m thankful that my husband is very understanding about thread and pins all over the floors.
4. How do you decide which design idea you want to develop?
That’s a really hard one, and I’m not sure if I always get it right. I spend ages deciding which designs to develop and am always analysing the design from several perspectives.
Ease of construction has to be considered very carefully and well as the method of construction and communication. Styles need to suit different fabrics and sewing levels as well as interest and aesthetics and then there is the fit! Styles need to fit well but also be easy to adjust for different figures and body issues. It’s a lot to think through.
It’s quite different developing pattern designs to designing a ready to wear range as with the latter you are always working with experienced workers and specialised machinery, so construction and ease of construction isn’t an issue and anything is possible. But when designing for the home sewer, styles must be easy to replicate and replicate well with the basic domestic sewing machine.
5. What would be your advice to any budding pattern designers out there?
Not sure if I could give advice but I’d love to share what I have learnt in my short time doing this:
- Good things take time. Lots of time. Buts it’s worth it!
- Don’t try to be everything to everyone and do everything at once. Keep it simple!
- Keep learning and developing your skills and become really really good at what you do.
- And lastly people who sew are the loveliest people ever. Seriously grateful and amazed at just how lovely and supportive you all are, we would have given up long ago if it wasn’t for the kindness and encouragement from our lovely sewing community.
6. What do you think indie designers bring to the table that the big 4 don’t?
I love the indie designers! I think we definitely bring more style, more of a fashion awareness to the table as well as flexibility and creativity. Because we are smaller and unique we can have that instant engagement with our customers and build relationships and friendships across the world. I love the response and personal relationship that we have with the sewing community.
7. What’s next for you and Pattern Runway?
First up is to develop cohesive branding with a redesign of our website to include the blog and an online store, as at the moment we sell through Etsy, Craftsy and on PatternReview.com and would love to be able to sell direct. We want to create and provide more interesting content on our blog; it’s been so neglected for far too long. Plus developing another 3 patterns later in the year and a print run of our favourites!
Thanks for your time and insight Sarah and I can’t wait to see what’s coming up for Pattern Runway!