Interview: Deer & Doe sewing patterns

I'm so very happy to have Eléonore on my blog today, with her spanking new sewing pattern line, Deer and Doe. I'm a huge supporter of this lovely French girl who I had the pleasure to know a little better thanks to her brilliant new project. I hope you'll enjoy a peek in her world!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? When did you start sewing?
My name is Eléonore, and I'm a 25 years old girl living in Paris with my boyfriend and my lazy cat. Beside sewing, I love drawing, photography,  and sciences :) .
I started sewing when I was studying computers engineering in Toulouse seven years ago, and it grew from a hobby to a passion! I graduated in computer sciences, and for the next 4 years, I worked as a web developer, growing my sewing skills on the side and creating a French sewing community.
And now I've taken the big leap to become a full-time pattern designer!

How did you start Deer&Doe? How did you choose the name?
My work as a web developer was taking me more and more time and energy, and I was slowly giving up on all the things I love (sewing, managing my community, developing my creativity). I wasn't really happy, and one day I woke up and decided I couldn't be like this anymore!
I've always wanted to start my own creative business, and I saw a real need for modern, fitted and easy-to-sew patterns among French seamstresses (the independent sewing patterns industry is not as developed here in France as it is in the US). It was really scary because it was a total career change and I knew it would be a LOT of work, but with the support of my family and the encouragements of my friends I took the plunge !
I knew from the start I wanted to convey a relaxed, stylish but nature-conscious vibe. I have a special thing for forest, and being in the woods gives me such peace and serenity, so I chose a symbol linked to fashion and to nature : the deer and the doe (and the duality of the name flatters my inner Gemini ^^).

Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I have a master degree in computers engineering, so I was destined to a very different career ^^. When I first started to think about creating my own patterns, I talked about it with a designer friend, who taught me pattern making was in fact geometry.  I realized it wasn't very different from the problems I used to solve in school, so I bought and borrowed a lot of books about pattern making and nerded my way into pattern design ! I love to learn new things, and I'm constantly looking for new techniques to master :)
I've also been doing design and illustration during my spare time, and it helped me a lot to master the softwares needed for pattern drawing and grading.

What are your main sources of inspiration? Your favorite designers or style icons?
At first, I tried very hard to find specific sources of inspiration (style icons, actresses, making moodboards with pieces of fabric and fashion sketches), but I found that "doing it by the rules" was not working for me.
So now I just have a huge Pinterest board named "Style" where I pin everything I like (fashion shows, ready-to-wear, fashion bloggers outfits, pictures of friends, old magazines). Basically, I try as much as possible to draw garments I want to wear (and would wear everyday), and not to be too influenced by what I think other people want.

Where do you see your pattern company in the future?
I've just opened my shop (and have received so much support already through the blog, Facebook and Twitter! Thank you!), but my dream is to be able to make a living selling my patterns! (and -let's dream- be able to hire an assistant and create employment in my community!)
For the moment, the patterns are in French only, but I plan to translate them to English as soon as possible! And I'm already working on a spring/summer collection :)

Do you still sew for yourself?
I don't exaggerate when I say that starting a pattern company means sewing A LOT (and sadly not for you!). I've managed to sew some garments for myself during the summer, but being made from my patterns they couldn't be shown before september... how frustrating! But I plan to sew a lot of variations for me in the next months, and also  to continue discovering other independent pattern designers! (I love the special care all indie designers put in their products).


Thanks, Eléonore!
I don't know about you, but I've been in love with these designs ever since I saw them a month ago (I was lucky enough to have a little preview), so I snatched them all as soon as they were available.
If you don't speak French, you should know that the instructions of these patterns are heavily illustrated, so it shouldn't  be too big of a problem if you have some sewing experience. They will be translated into English eventually, but you'll need to wait a little longer because Eléonore is still working on it.

Finally, Eléonore has a present for you: a giveaway!
If you want to win a Deer and Doe pattern, just comment below telling me which design is your favorite (you can take a better look at them here). Mine is definitely the Bleuet dress, the perfect shirt dress with adorable details that I've been wanting for ages!

The giveaway closes Wednesday, September 26 at 12 pm GMT, the winner will be selected at random.  Please remember to leave your email address.

Good luck!

New Patterns available at Salme Patterns

Last week I visited Elisa's shop almost by chance and... what a nice surprise! Many new, beautiful patterns! They are all very coherent with Elisa's previous work: clean, simple lines with trendy details. I couldn't resist and purchased a couple... Which are your favorites?

Cut out shoulder dress - So very in trend!

Peplum skirt

Minna blouse 

Colorblock t-shirt
Gathered top
Yoke blouse
Maija dress for children -
I SO wish this pattern was for adults too!

Interview: Angela Osborn

In the spirit of supporting independent pattern designers, today I have the pleasure to have Angela Osborn on my blog, who I have found on Etsy (oh, what an endless source of wonderful things...) not long ago. Her story is very inspiring, as it always is with creative people. Enjoy!

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc. 
Hello! I’m Angela and I am the designer, seamstress and general crafty person behind my blog and online shop. Spending my childhood on a farm in rural South Australia has been a big influence on me. Creativity and resourcefulness are qualities my parents really encouraged in my brothers and I, while my mother taught me to sew from a young age. I work from my home studio in Adelaide, designing and making all sorts of things including clothes, home accessories, bags and softies.

Esther blouse
How did you start your shop, angelaosborn ? 
Working in an office job was driving me crazy and life’s too short to not chase your dreams, so with the support of my husband I decided to open an etsy store. While I do still have a shop on etsy, I decided to start a blog where I could sell my patterns and things directly from my own website. The blog has enabled me to connect with readers in a greater way and do more that just sell my products. Making things by hand for myself and for family and friends is a really important and rewarding part of my life. Through the projects and tutorials on my blog I want to encourage others to have a go at making things by hand and experience the joy that it brings. I have recently started to expand my range of patterns to include softies and bags as well as clothing. I think that making a piece of clothing from scratch can be quite intimidating to someone who’s never sewn before. I want my projects and patterns to be accessible to absolute beginners as well as those with more experience.

Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
Yes, I have an Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology.  I learned so much from this course but I must also give credit to my incredibly skilled Mum who has taught me so much over the years. I’m the type of person who likes to be constantly learning so I’m always trying new things and experimenting with new techniques.

Marion skirt

What are your main sources of inspiration? Your favorite designers or style icons?
Most of my inspiration comes from vintage fashion. I collect vintage clothes, patterns and sewing books. I find that the designs and techniques used are a lot more interesting and unique than much of the fashion on offer now. I also draw inspiration from other bloggers who are doing their own thing and expressing their own unique style rather than just blindly following trends. Movies (particularly old movies), art, books and music are all valuable sources of inspiration to me as well.

Fleur dress
What are your favorite materials to use?
I love working with natural fibres such as silk, cotton, linen and wool. I also love working with vintage materials (or refashioning vintage clothes) and vintage trims especially old lace.
Do you have any advice for who sells or wants to sell online?
I’m not sure I feel qualified to give advice, but I would say be open to change and don’t expect everything to come together perfectly straight away. You might find some things won’t work the way you expected and that’s okay - don’t give up, just try a different approach. Building an online business take time, patience and determination - I’m certainly a way off achieving everything that I want to, but I absolutely refuse to give up. Always look for ways you can improve yourself, your product and your business. Make sure your product is of excellent quality and is expressing your own unique creative point of view. Be organised, be kind (to others and yourself) and don’t give up!

Interview: Victory Patterns

Do you remember when I told you I was VERY excited about my next guest on the blog?
Well, I'm really really happy to have Kristiann from Victory Patterns to talk to us about her new awesome pattern line. I have discovered these beautiful patterns thanks to Lizz, Marie and a few other bloggers (they really are the latest love of the blogosphere!) and I've fallen in love immediately.
If you haven't heard of them already, I assure you they're worth checking out (I myself could not resist and I've almost finished sewing the first garment from one of these patterns).
In the meantime, enjoy discovering more about the mind behind these gorgeous designs!

Introduce yourself: tell us something about where you live, your origins, hobbies, etc.
I’m originally from Trinidad. When I was three my family moved to Scotland and eventually to Alberta and then to Toronto, where I live now. LOTS of moving!
I have too many hobbies for my own good and too many other things I want to learn how to do. I love textile design, working with leather, baking and cooking. I want to learn how to make jewelry and build furniture, take lovely photos and I really want to find more time to paint, draw and read, but time isn’t my friend.

How did you start your pattern line, Victory Patterns?
While teaching I noticed that there was a real lack of selection of patterns. Sewing and DIY is really growing and it was encouraging to see that as it convinced me that creating a pattern line might be a viable business idea. I have a background in fashion design, and I wanted to create stylish patterns that felt a bit like a clothing line.

How did you choose the name of your shop?
That was haaard! I thought about it for so long. I always have a hard time naming things. My cat's name is Kitty! I thought about the expressions and the feeling that my students have when they have learnt something new or completed something that they’re proud of. I did some brainstorming on words associated with that feeling and came up with “Victory”. I like that is sounded a bit classic as well, so I went with it.

Do you have formal training (art, design, sewing, etc.)?
I studied fashion design at Ryerson University here in Toronto and have worked in a number of areas in the industry. I also teach sewing and drafting which helps when writing the instructions because I can imagine the questions my students would ask as I go through writing each step.

As for the techy stuff, I have a genius brother, who managed to help me wrap my not so tech savvy brain around a few design programs that I needed to use to create the patterns. It was a really fun learning curve and a welcome challenge.

Do your creations support you economically?
I just launched the pattern line a month ago, so I’m sure it will take a while for me to say with confidence that it could support me. However, things have really picked up in the past few weeks. If the momentum continues, I might be able to work full time on it sooner that later. For the time being I teach in a few studios as well as privately, and I take on freelance projects. 

What are your main sources of inspiration? 
Each time I design I try to focus on a theme as much as possible which takes me down a new road of inspiring sources. But overall I love really interesting pattern drafting or fabric manipulation techniques. I’m very inspired by garment details, complex cuts and draping techniques, and by techniques and designs of vintage clothing.

What are the main satisfactions you get from your shop?
Every time I open my email it’s exciting. It’s so great seeing the positive comments that people write, or that sales are steadily coming in. It’s such a satisfying feeling that people are responding positively to something that I created. It’s still really new so I’m excited to see the creations that people make with these patterns.
How and where do you advertise your business?
I currently don’t advertise. So far people seems to find out about the patterns through blogs, Pinterest, Etsy, or word of mouth.
Do you have any advice for who wants to sell or already sells online?
I’m way too new at this to give seasoned advice, but I think the important thing is to create a beautiful, quality product that you believe in. If you’re going to have anyone working with you, it helps if their heart is in the project too. I’m starting to read about writing for online, and I think if you’re going to have an online business, it’s worth understanding how to optimize your site. (I got the Yahoo! Style Guide for Christmas and it’s great!!)

Keyka Lou patterns retiring

Hello, everyone!
Just a quick post to let you know that there are 16 patterns being retired at Keyka Lou, so you might want to snatch them while you can. They're also on sale at 3 $ each, so it's a great occasion!
My favorites are the Garden Party Wristlet and the Charm School Handbag. There's just a couple days left to buy them, so run!

I also want to wish a Happy New Year to all of you. I'll be working tomorrow night, but I hope you'll have fun and be safe!