This week meet Kennis of Itch to Stitch Designs! Kennis started to sew at the age of 13, as part of her school curriculum, on a treadle machine. Her first make was a baby's dress. After she got a business degree Kennis worked in the corporate world in software and marketing, until one day she and her husband decided to move to Costa Rica to live a life where it is not possible to distinguish play from work. And that's when Itch to Stitch began. Kennis designs reflect her own personal style. They are modern and elegant. Some are simple to sew, some require a bit more work because she loves details and high-quality finishes. Keep reading top know more!
Why do you sew?
I love the satisfaction of creating something. The creative process balances my analytical side.
When did you started to sew? And what was your first make?
I started sewing when I was 13 years old in school in Hong Kong. We had dressmaking class. My first project was a baby dress.
When did you start to draft patterns? How was the learning process?
I've been sewing with or without a pattern, but I have been "hacking" commercial patterns by adding a piece drafted by myself too. That probably doesn't really count as drafting a pattern. In 2009, I attended a draping class in Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, where I created my first pattern from scratch. I started flat pattern drafting in 2014.
How is your creative/design process?
I get inspiration from ready-to-wear clothing. I start drafting once I know what I want. I sew a sample and revise the pattern as I see fit. Once I confirm that I like the look, I take modeled photos and start writing instructions. The iterative process of making the samples help me understand how I want the garment to be sewn. The testing process then begin, and usually by that time the pattern is already very close to the final pattern.
How/where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
Eventually I'd like to expand the size range (currently the range goes up to 49" (DD cup)/40.5"/48").
Hvar Jacket pattern by Itch to Stitch Designs
What sewing machine do you own? Is it the machine of your dreams?
I have Brother Innovis Duetta 4500D. When I bought the machine, I thought I would use the embroidery function more, but I haven't been using it much! I don't really have a "machine of my dream" per se, but I am planning to get another one (Pfaff Passport 3.0) so I can travel with it. I also have a Baby Lock Imagine serger.
What is your favorite make ever? Why?
I am quite a forward-looking person, so I don't look back on my designs much, I'd like to imagine other designs that can even be better in the future. But if I have to pick one, it has to be my wedding gown. I spent six months making it. I am happy how it turned out, but of course the meaning behind the dress made it a favorite make.
What is on in the background while you're sewing?
I listen to podcasts. My favorites are 99% Invisible, The Moth, Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Radiolab, Criminal, Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! and Strangers.
Which is(are) your favorite pattern(s)?
Another hard question! I really like my Anza Jumpsuit & Dress, La Paz Jacket, Marbella Dress, Lisbon Cardigan and Hepburn Turtleneck.
Who's your sewing/blogging/style/fashion/designer/quilter hero(s)?
I learned a lot from Suzy Furrer (pattern drafting), Claire Shaeffer (for my wedding gown), Kenneth D. King (lots of tricks to make nice pockets) and David Page Coffin (for shirt making).
Liana Stretch Jeans pattern by Itch to Stitch
What are your favorite sewing techniques?
Understitching! It's so simple yet it takes the garment up a notch.
What is your least favorite sewing technique/step?
Maybe turning a fabric loop? It always takes me forever even with the tool specifically made for this purpose.
Describe yourself in 3 words:
3 Favorites - color, texture and fabric:
- 1) Warm colors (especially tangerine, teal and magenta);
- 2) boucle texture;
- 3) 4-ply silk
3 things that make you happy:
- 1) Hanging out with people I love;
- 2) Recount things and people that I am grateful for;
- 3) Good food
3 random things about you:
- 1) I am a Chinese American by way of Hong Kong who lives in Costa Rica now;
- 2) I love to travel;
- 3) I love to cook new dishes
Life or sewing motto:
I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
Thank you, Kennis!
Brasov Wrap Top pattern by Itch to Stitch Designs
Enjoy 20% of on all Itch to Stitch Designs patterns during this week! (Ends on Friday, November 3rd 11:59 PM PST)
Next week get to know more about a pattern designer that makes perfect patterns for kids gifts! It will be a great chance to stock up on patterns for Christmas gifts, just saying!