This week meet Charlotte Kan! After working 7 years in the ready-to-wear (RTW) industry, in The Netherlands, where she lives, Charlotte decided to switch to designing PDF sewing patterns. She aimed to slow down and focus on the design, the pattern, the process and the skills. Charlotte loves to teach and also to learn. She is always trying some new skill or craft! Keep reading to know more.
Why do you sew?
I love the process and how it slows me down to a focused state where I just enjoy the moment. Also, even after all these years, there is still a sense of magic when a project starts to come together.
When did you started to sew? And what was your first make?
When I was about 12 years, I made a patchwork pillow case. However, I don't think I was a natural behind the sewing machine because I can still remember my grandmother taking over to finish it. After that it took a few years to take up a new project. Aged 15, I made a pair of oversized pajama pants from an old bedsheet. I freestyled the shape and the hand stitching, since we had no sewing machine. I had no idea what I was doing so the stitches ripped each time I slept in it. Not quite the masterpiece, but I did enjoy the process. I guess I am a late bloomer when it comes to sewing! As a matter of fact, my first successful sewing projects were made at the Willem de Kooning art academy where I studied fashion.
When did you start to draft patterns? How was the learning process?
I started drafting patterns at the Willem de Kooning Academy, where we learnt the basics, a skirt, pants, alterations to the basic patterns and the grand finale was a suit jacket. I still have and wear that jacket, but I wish had documented how I constructed the jacket, it would have been a great resource for future projects. Besides those basic pattern drafting skills I flirted with draping and combined the skills in several patterns.
How is your creative/design process?
CHAOTIC! Inspiration can come from anywhere and at anytime. But my best ideas come when I try on and play with the designs that are in development.
Garçonne Shirt pattern by Charlotte Kan
How/where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
Learning, connecting and sharing knowledge has always been an essential and fulfilling part of my journey in making and this will be even more important in the future. The last year I´ve been busy teaching sewing and embroidery workshops and I love how these workshops inspire others to try new techniques. As a consequence, I have worked with many complete beginners and it was inspiring to see the joy when they discover, that it with a few simple techniques you can get great results. You could say I am on a mission, to make sewing accessible and fun.
What sewing machine do you own? Is it the machine of your dreams?
A Pfaff Classic Style 1525. It was the first machine i bought and I it is the machine of my dreams!
What is on in the background while you're sewing?
Could be a podcast (Tim Ferris, Woolpeople, Tara Brach), a movie or music. Actually, I love to sing whilst I´m sewing and Alela Diane is often on repeat.
Which is(are) your favorite pattern(s)?
The Tie Dress, Elskan dress and the Garconne shirt are my favorites, but please do not mention it to the others!
Who's your sewing/blogging/style/fashion/designer/quilter hero(s)?
Both my grandmothers. They´ve both made garments for us when we were young. One was and still is into knitting the other was into sewing and knitting. The grandmother that still knits makes a new pair of socks every year. They are so warm, thick and perfect, I wear them all winter.
What are your favorite sewing techniques?
I love to hand sew a seam.
What is your least favorite sewing technique/step?
Setting in sleeves.
Elskan Dress & Top pattern by Charlotte Kan
Describe yourself in 3 words:
- Part feline
3 Favorites - color, texture and fabric:
- All shades of cranberry
- Double Gauze -
- Woven tencel
3 things that make you happy:
- Spending time with friends and family
- A purring cat
- When i'm behind the sewing machine, the sun pours into my atelier and I'm listening to my favorite music
3 random things about you:
- 1. I loooooooooove cats, but I'm allergic
- 2. I've biked from Munich to Lubljana
- 3. I can swim 25m in 17seconds and working to get it down :)
Life or sewing motto:
Finished is the new perfect!
Kitsune Strapless Dress pattern by Charlotte Kan
Thank you, Charlotte!
Enjoy 20% off on Charlotte Kan patterns during this week! (Valid until Friday, Nov. 17th 11:59 PST)
Next week we'll be interviewing a designer that makes the perfect patterns for children's gifts! And since Christmas is just around the corner, you don't want to miss this chance to save on these patterns and get ahead your handmade gifts!