February Featured Sponsor: Urban Cut

Today, I'm really pleased to have a little chat with Stefanie, owner of German-based pattern shop, Urban Cut, and my newest sponsor.

 Please tell us more about yourself (where you're from, hobbies, if you like to sew, etc.)
Hi! I'm Stefanie and I live near the wonderful city of Munich. In 2009 I started to sew and have never stopped ever since. Two years later I started a blog, where I still share my sewing projects.
At the beginning I sewed a lot of breadbaskets and bags. Nowadays I mainly sew my own clothing.

 What made you decide to open Urban Cut?
Last spring, I hosted a sew along together with Alex from Mama Macht Sachen. I wanted to sew the the Robson Coat from Sewaholic and ordered the pattern in Canada. Unfortunately, the pattern got lost on the way to Germany.
I searched for online shops in Germany to get the pattern in time for the sew along, but I didn't find one. So I decided to change this and to do it myself :-) 

 What's the sewing world like in Germany?
There's a great sewing community in Germany, represented by fantastic blogs of wonderful seamstresses. We have a lot of great sewing events, for example the "Me Made Mittwoch" just to mention one - the self made wednesday, where we present our self-made outfits, worn in our everyday life. That's a great source of inspiration and my to-sew list gets longer every week.

✄ How did you select the products for your shop?
I would be lying if I said that my personal taste doesn't have an impact on which products I choose ;-)
I try to have patterns for all levels of sewing experience so that you can find patterns for beginners up to advanced seamstresses. My personal goal is to find new patterns to expand my offer continuously.

✄ What do you see in the future of Urban Cut?
I hope I still discover new designers and can provide wonderful patterns to my customers.
At the moment most of my customers live in Germany, but there is a growing number of orders from different european countries. I'm very happy that my offer appeals to seamstresses and I hope to keep gaining popularity all over Europe.

Thank you, Stefanie!
If, like me, you live in Europe, you might not like to buy patterns from across the Ocean because of shipping costs and time; I usually purchase from the UK, but Germany is closer to me and shipping costs are usually cheaper, so new shops like Urban Cut are a win-win for me!

For those of you who want to do the same, here's a discount code kindly provided by Stefanie:


Interview : République Du Chiffon

Maybe you've come across her beautiful blog, maybe you've seen some of her patterns made up by the lovely Julie of Jolies Bobines or maybe you've seen her adorable book featured on Tilly and the Buttons. If you did, I know you want to know more about République du Chiffon and who's behind this beautiful French brand.
I know I did, so I had a little chat with Géraldine, the creator, and this was the result. If you prefer to read the interview in its original French form, you can find it here.

✄ First of all, can you tell us something about yourself? How long have you been sewing?
My name is Géraldine, I’m 35 years old and I live and work in Lille, in Northern France. My hobbies are reading (I love science fiction and Jane Austin, I know they have nothing in common ;) ), the cinema, which is where I often get inspired, I cook and I obviously love to sew.
I started sewing after my daughter Violette was born, and it soon became my passion. I had the opportunity to enter a school for design / patternmaking where I got my degree.
The Margot blouse pattern

✄ How did you start République du Chiffon?
I started République du Chiffon in 2010, it was a fashion and sewing blog. After my degree, I wanted to make a shift towards design and patterns for home sewing, trying to create trendy styles addressed to modern seamstresses. Since the offer is still quite poor in France, I hope there is a place for me.

The Penelope dress pattern
✄ Can you tell us more about your book ("Un été couture", Tutti Frutti ed.) and your latest pattern releases?
What I try to do with my patterns, both in my book or in the downloadable patterns, it’s to offer modern styles and to make sewing democratic, making “difficult” things approachable by anyone. My hope is that the clothes made by seamstresses at home are as trendy and of good quality as what current designer offer today.

The Gérard coat pattern
✄ What are your main sources of inspiration? Your favorite designers or style icons?
I find my inspiration everywhere, in the street, in magazines, movies, illustrators, etc. I’m a big fan of street style fashion (Yvan Rodic, Sartorialist etc.) and I spend a lot of time reading fashion blogs (Le Blog de Betty, Punky B, Le blog de Pauline and many many more). As far as “style icons” are concerned, I don’t really have any, I’ve never been a big fan. I prefer anonymous people who have style, but if I have to mention one, at the moment it would definitely be Alexa Chung or Kate Bosworth

The Viviane dress and blouse pattern
All images in this post from here

✄ Where do you see your company in the future?

My wish is to make of République du Chiffon a real brand of modern patterns. It’s just the beginning of the process. I decided to leave my job to devote myself completely to the brand, so, starting next year and if everything goes well, there will be a collection of printed patterns (10 styles every season) and I’ll keep offering more downloadable patterns to very small prices so that everybody can sew République du Chiffon. I hope you’ll like it.

Thank you, Géraldine! I wish you all the best!

I'll be back soon with my version of one of her patterns! Are you curious yet? :)

Forse vi siete imbattute nel suo bellissimo blog, o magari avete visto le sue creazioni realizzate da Julie di Jolies Bobines, o magari ancora avete visto il suo libro in un post di Tilly and the Buttons. Se è così, sicuramente anche voi vorrete sapere qualcosa in più su République du Chiffon e su chi c’è dietro a questo adorabile marchio francese.

Io ero curiosissima, perciò ho fatto una chiacchierata con Géraldine, la creatrice del marchio, e questo è il risultato. Per chi preferisse leggere l’intervista nella versione originale (in francese), la può trovare qui.

Buona lettura!

✄ Innanzitutto, ci puoi dire qualcosa su di te? Da quanto tempo cuci?

Mi chiamo Géraldine, ho 35 anni e vivo e lavoro a Lille, nella Francia del Nord. I miei hobby sono la lettura (mi piacciono la fantascienza e Jane Austin, so che non hanno nulla in comune ;) ), il cinema, dal quale spesso traggo ispirazione, mi piace cucinare e ovviamente amo il cucito.

Ho cominciato a cucire dopo la nascita di mia figlia Violette ed è presto diventata la mia passione. Ho avuto l’opportunità di entrare in una scuola per stilisti/modellisti e mi sono diplomata.

Modello blusa Margot

✄ Come hai cominciato République du Chiffon?

Ho cominciato République du Chiffon nel 2010, era un blog di moda e cucito. Dopo il mio diploma, volevo spostare il blog nella direzione del design e modellismo per il cucito a casa, cercando di creare modelli alla moda, per sarte moderne. Poiché l’offerta è ancora scarsa in Francia, spero di trovare un mio spazio.

Modello vestito Penelope

✄ Ci puoi dire qualcosa in più sul tuo libro (“Un Eté Couture” edito da Tutti Frutti) e sui tuoi cartamodelli scaricabili?

Quello che cerco di fare con i miei modelli, sia nel libro che per quelli da scaricare, è di offrire stili moderni che rendano il cucito democratico, rendendo le cose “difficili” abbordabili per tutte. La mia speranza è che i modelli creati a casa siano tanto trendy e di qualità quanto quelli offerti al giorno d’oggi dai designer.

Modello cappotto Gérard

✄ Quali sono le tue fonti d’ispirazione? Hai dei designer preferiti o delle icone di stile?

L’ispirazione la trovo dappertutto, per strada, nei giornali, nei film, da illustratori, ecc. Sono una grande fan dello streetstyle  (Yvan RodicSartorialist ecc.) e passo molto tempo a leggere blog di moda (Le Blog de BettyPunky BLe blog de Pauline e tanti tanti altri). Per quanto riguarda le “icone di stile”, non ne ho di vere e proprie, non sono mai stata una grande fan. Preferisco anonimi che hanno stile, ma se devo fare un nome, al momento sarebbe decisamente Alexa Chung o Kate Bosworth.

Modello Viviane - vestito e blusa
Tutte le immagini di questo post prese da qui

✄ Cosa vedi nel futuro del tuo marchio?

Vorrei far diventare RDC una vera marca di cartamodelli. Ho deciso di lasciare il mio lavoro e dedicarmi completamente al marchio, perciò, a cominciare dall’anno prossimo e se tutto va bene, ci sarà una collezione di cartamodelli cartacei (10 per ogni stagione) e continuerò ad offrire modelli scaricabili a prezzi contenuti in modo che tutti possano cucire République du Chiffon. Spero vi piacerà.

Grazie, Géraldine, ti auguro tutto il meglio!

Io tornerò presto con la mia versione di uno dei suoi modelli… Siete curiosi?

Interview: Heather of Closet Case Files

Before I leave you to this little tête-à-tête, I just wanted to thank you all SO MUCH for all of your kind comments on my Bombshell Swimsuit post and for all the links to European shops you are sharing. You guys are the best, as usual.
I also wanted to spend a word to defend my boyfriend, as I realize I made it sound worse than it actually went. I pushed him to give me a honest opinion on a full-figure swimsuit picture and he basically told me it wasn't my best look. That's it. Not the best thing to hear from your sweet half, but he wasn't mean to me at all. Still, it was heart warming to see how defensive you were of me :D

Now, read on if you want to more a bit more about Heather and her amazing new pattern.

For those who are not familiar with your blog, Closet Case Files, can you tell us something about yourself? How long have you been sewing?
In my real life, I am a commercial interior designer working for a small firm (right now I am re-developing the design concept for a Canadian coffee chain). I’ve been in Montreal for 10 years, and am so blessed and thrilled to be living in this free-spirited, laissez faire, creative community.

Closet Case Files started 2 years ago when I made the decision to stop buying new clothes. I’ve always been totally obsessed with fashion and as result had a wee bit of a shopping addiction (read: major credit card debt); I made a resolution to only thrift or learn to make any new clothing. I quickly discovered the sewing blog community and was utterly blown away by what everyone was up to. My blog quickly shifted from a fashion/”outfit of the day” type of thing to become entirely sewing focused; it became a way for me to monitor and share my progress as I learned to sew.

I made my first dress around this time 2 years ago and with the exception of a few items here or there, have pretty much stopped buying clothes at all. I don’t even thrift much anymore unless I’m looking for vintage fabric, patterns or things to refashion. I’m incredibly lucky that I get to be creative from 9-5, but I can’t believe how incredibly validating, life-affirming, and confidence boosting learning to sew has been! I have a tendency to be hyperbolic, but I think learning to sew was the best thing I’ve ever done.

The Bombshell Swimsuit pattern came from a bathing suit you made for yourself. How did you begin sewing swimwear for yourself in the first place?
I’ve always had a thing for vintage 50’s swimsuits. I have a drawer full that look great on but are a nightmare wet because they’re made of stretch cotton or weird vintage knits. Then, I fell in love with these Norma Kamali swimsuits I saw on the cover of a Vanity Fair magazine (featuring the Desperate Housewives of all people). This was before I learned to sew, and I had a seamstress make me a replica a few years ago. When it started to really fall apart, last summer I decided to figure out how to recreate the style.

Studying the numerous swimsuits I had and a number of vintage patterns, I drafted a suit that fulfilled what I was looking for: a modest but flattering silhouette, ruched sides, and a ruched, low cut seat that completely encased the bum (anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows how much I LOATHE what happens to full-bootyed ladies when you wear a high cut suit. Quad cheek horror).

It was a pretty ambitious project for someone with relatively little sewing experience, but I was helped tremendously by Dixie DIY who was hosting a swimsuit sewalong at the time (She is my swimwear Yoda). Following her advice, I made a maillot and a high waist bikini last summer. The reaction from readers surprised me – women REALLY wanted the pattern. I realized there was a huge demand for this kind of modest, sexy, vintage suit so I taught myself how to grade patterns this spring in order to release it in time for beach season.

Heather's original swimsuit
Who do you recommend the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern to?
I think this is a universally flattering swimsuit. I’ve seen it on every shape of body, and everyone looks so good wearing the Bombshell my heart swells about 4 sizes when I think of it. Personally, I’m fighting the tyranny of the bikini. I have nothing but love for those of us who can pull one off, but I suspect the majority of us just feel exposed and uncomfortable in the damn things. I released this swimsuit for every woman who dreads swimsuit shopping, who avoids situations where they need to wear one, and who is filled with self-doubt and self-loathing on the beach, when they should be frolicking in the sunshine like summer nymphs. Life is too short to hate your body. It’s the only one we’ve got – why not wear something that makes you feel beautiful?

How was the process of developing a pattern for the first time?
Can I swear on your blog? Imagine all of the swear words in all of the languages and then scream them into a megaphone. It was… intense. Because I had to move this winter, I got a late start and only gave myself 8 weeks to get it ready. Since I work full-time, I basically dedicated every spare moment to tweaking the pattern, learning to grade, slaving over instructions. Thankfully, I have a technical background in design, so it wasn’t THAT much of a stretch to apply those skills to pattern making. Illustrator was a godsend once I figured out how to use it.

What really made the whole process so much easier and valuable was the input I got from my pattern testers. I sent a beta version to a number of ladies, women whose style I admired and who I would fly great distances to hang out with. Their insight, input, encouragement and love really pushed me to finish it and get it out there. I say it all the time, but our community is so f*cking amazing it blows my mind on a daily basis. The women (and Peter) I have had the great pleasure to meet and interact with honestly confirms my faith in the inherent goodness, creativity and potential of humans. You guys are the best.

Heather's inspiration
Do you plan to release other patterns?
This is a toughy. I honestly started this whole process with zero intentions to release another pattern. I really just wanted to get the Bombshell out there because there was a serious hole in the pattern market and women were clamoring for it. However, I learned so much, and got such overwhelmingly positive feedback, that I may release another. If so, it would probably be another swimsuit. I think there are so many gifted indie pattern designers doing regular apparel that it might be nice to stay in a little beach niche. But we’ll see. Anything is possible. Especially now that I’ve mastered Illustrator.

And while I cross my fingers for Heather to release a retro bikini pattern, guess what? She is giving away one copy of the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern to one of my readers.
In order to win, you just need to leave a comment below
Please leave an email address so I can get in touch with you (you need to write it in the comment, because I cannot access the address you leave in the Disqus form).
The winner will be selected randomly.

Good luck!

Interview: Bluegingerdoll Vintage Inspired Patterns

Today I'm happy to have Abby of Bluegingerdoll as a guest, she's a new indie pattern designer who specializes in vintage inspired creations. You know you want to know more about her!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? When did you start sewing?
I'm Abby and I live in Melbourne, Australia with my boyfriend and our 2 crazy dogs, Kenobi and Winnie. I have a love of all things vintage, especially the 40's and 50's. I also have a horse and love to go riding (when I can!), love cooking up a storm, crime shows, summertime and potato chips!
I was taught sewing in high school briefly, to be honest I really didn’t take to it at first, I actually hated going to sewing class, the teacher was a total bore, but fast forward a few years in my 20’s and I become really inspired about the thought of creating my own clothes and sewing them, and actually having the wardrobe I have always wanted. I quickly became obsessed and haven't stopped since.

How did you start Bluegingerdoll Patterns? What pushed you to begin making sewing patterns?
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 found that I totally loved it and I really wanted to hone my skills with this craft, so I decided to learn from the pros and studied a Diploma of fashion design and technology.

I have also always wanted to own and run a small business as well, and become my own boss and realising I had a passion for sewing and pattern making, I decided it was high time to start making that dream a reality. I could totally see myself being extremely happy and content doing this day in, day out. And I decided my designs were worth sharing with the world, and so Bluegingerdoll was born.

Tell us more about your first pattern, the Billie Jean dress.
Billie Jean is a beautiful 1950s vintage inspired dress.  It features a fitted princess seam bodice, which is designed to enhance the waist, and an alluring and flattering neckline design. It is a versatile and easily adaptable dress that is wearable in all seasons, day or night, and suits a variety of different fabrics. Perfect for experimentation and for you to add your own individual touch.  There are 2 dress styles to choose from, in the pattern:

Dress 1 - A fully lined figure hugging wiggle dress, flattering all the right curves.
Dress 2- A fun full gathered skirt, with lined bodice and practical in seam pockets.  

Both close with lapped zipper at centre back.  I have created instructions for that are easy and clear to follow with loads of diagrams, which will ensure the sewing of Billie Jean is straight forward.  Billie Jean is also available in paper or PDF patterns.

Where do you see your pattern company in the future?
Billie Jean is the very first pattern release for Bluegingerdoll, and the huge amount of positive support I have received through Facebook, Twitter and the blog, has validated it for me, that I am on the right track and maybe a little bit closer to my dream of being able to making the pattern business a full –time gig. In the meantime though, the next pattern design is in the process and is hot on the heels of Billie Jean for release, and the plan is for a few more designs to be released later on during the year.

Thank you, Abby!
To celebrate the launch of her first pattern, Abby was also kind enough to offer 2 copies of the Billie Jean dress pattern to my readers. The winners will choose if they prefer the pdf or printed version.
Because the pre-sale of this pattern ends soon (on the 19th), this will be a very very short giveaway, so whoever doesn't win can still take advantage of this offer.
In order to win, leave a comment below before Friday, May 17th at 11:00pm GMT.
Please leave an email address so I can get in touch with you (you need to write it in the comment, because I cannot access the address you leave in the Disqus form).
For en extra chance to win, like Bluegingerdoll on Facebook and leave a separate comment.

Good luck, everyone!
Giveaway closed, winner announced here.

Deer and Doe 2013 Spring Summer Pattern Collection

The new collection of patterns from Deer and Doe was launched yesterday and it was definitely worth the wait. Eléonore, the mind behind the brand, was kind enough to be my guest to present the new patterns and to share a few words with us on the creative process of her second collection. Enjoy!

This new collection was very interesting to work on, because my creative process was very different from the last time. 
When I created the five first patterns, Deer and Doe was like a blank canvas on which I was free to draw exactly the collection I dreamed of. To achieve the second collection, I had more constraints: I needed to be consistent in the style, but original in the designs and the techniques used (because nobody wants to feel like he owns 4 identical patterns with just small style differences, even if the style is great!). Add to this a limited amount of time due to the everyday tasks of a business… I really worked on a different level this time!

But even if it was a little bit scary at first, I finally found that these constraints were helping me to produce better, more interesting patterns! I settled on a skirt, a blouse and a dress, and worked around the idea of easy-to-wear and fast-to-sew patterns for instant summer gratification! I added some interest to each of the patterns with cute features or interesting construction, and in the end Chardon, Réglisse and Datura were born!

Chardon is a skirt specifically aimed at beginners: it's a very versatile pattern that grows with your skills! You can start with a very simple version of the skirt, and then add details like the back ribbon, the belt loops, learn how to sew an invisible zipper… the possibilities are countless!

Réglisse is a very interesting pattern for intermediate seamstresses, because it introduces a technique very few patterns use: a bias-cut bodice.
While it's quite simple to construct, the bias cut totally changes how the fabric is hanging, and creates a very flattering effect! It's also a way to have a lot of fun with stripes or plaids!

Datura is definitely the most eye-catching design in this collection. While looking quite simple, this blouse will be really fun to sew for more experienced seamstresses!
The construction ensures a perfect finish, and a lot of interesting details like cut-outs, home-made bias tape, a lined yoke… and a very flattering result even for the bustier of us :)

As always, they were thoroughly tested before the launch to insure maximum wearability and comfort. Some of the patterns changed a LOT during this phase but it was very important for me to set the bar higher than the last time :) . I hope I succeeded!

I organize my patterns by collections because I love to create an harmony and to work with the seasons, but every Deer and Doe pattern is created to work well with the other garments: you can for example pair the Chardon skirt with an Airelle blouse, and how chic would the Datura blouse be styled with skinny jeans and a Pavot jacket for spring?

Thank you so much Eléonore!
But it doesn't end here! To celebrate the launch of the new collection, Eléonore is offering a Réglisse pattern to one of you!

In order to win the pattern, you just need to leave a comment! Please leave an email address for me to get in touch.

For extra entries, you can:

✄ Tweet about the giveaway (+1)
✄ Follow Deer and Doe on Twitter(+1)
✄ Like Paunnet blog on Facebook (+1)
✄ Like Deer and Doe on Facebook (+1)

For each additional entry, please leave an extra comment below.

You have until 11:00am GMT of April 3rd to enter. Good luck!

Giveaway closed, winner announced here.