This week meet... Kimberly of Straight Stitch Designs! Kimberly's mom taught her how to sew when she was in high school. Kimberly loved sewing so much that she asked for a sewing machine on her next birthday, when she was 16. This machine has been her sewing companion up until recently. Keep reading to know more!
Why do you sew?
My reasons for sewing have evolved over the years. When I was first starting it was just a fun creative outlet, a time for me to take my ideas and designs and just sew. Now I feel like there is more of a utility to sewing that wasn't there before. The big change for me was really when I started sewing clothes and realized all of the reasons RTW clothes have never really fit me well. Now I find joy in getting a really well fit tee or pants while still enjoying the process of sewing.
When did you started to sew? And what was your first make?
I started to sew in high school when my mom gave me my first sewing machine. I had played around with her machine for a few years but there was something exciting about having my own machine. I actually used that basic Brother machine until a few years ago when I upgraded. I don't remember my first project but I do know that in those early years of sewing I was OBSESSED with making bags out of old pairs of jeans. I was convinced that I was going to sell them to all my friends. My favourite part was when I used the back pocket of the jeans for a front pocket on the bag, I guess my foray into design started early.
When did you start to draft patterns? How was the learning process?
Three and a half years ago, after a year or so of pattern testing for other designers I started to look into whether it was something I could do. Around that same time Lauren Dahl of Pattern Workshop started promoting her course on Creating PDF Patterns, and I was instantly intrigued. Since I had no design experience or education I actually reached out to Lauren and asked her whether she thought I could do the course. She was so supportive and told me what book to get and that I could definitely do the course. So for Mother's Day of 2014 I asked my husband for the Pattern Workshop course and dove right in. My learning process has been more on the fly as new ideas and challenges arise. I have learned so much over the years and my newer patterns are leagues better than my early patterns. Over the last year I have gone so far as to create new slopers and focus heavily on getting a great fit for all sizes of my pattern, not just the 'easy' sizes. As I continue to create patterns I know I will continue to learn new things about not only design but also drafting and fitting, and that is exciting.
Phinney Ridge cardigan pattern by Straight Stitch Designs
How is your creative/design process?
I take so much inspiration from the clothes that I see both in stores and on other creatives like me. I am constantly taking screenshots of design details that I love that I might one day incorporate into a new pattern. So many of those designs or details evolve over time and become something new, but I love when I get the inspiration from every day clothes and make it my own.
How/where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
My business was started with the intention of building it slowly over the years so that when my son went to kindergarten I could work on it full time. Having been a stay at home mom for 7 years I wanted the ability and flexibility to go on field trips or work in the classroom with my kids while still having a job that bought income for my family. My son started kindergarten in the fall so now is the time when I can really start expanding my business by exploring fun new opportunities beyond just creating new pdf patterns. This year I am going to push outside my comfort zone and start teaching more, this is both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I hope to start visiting shops around the country teaching some of my patterns to all you lovely ladies.
What sewing machine do you own? Is it the machine of your dreams?
After sewing on a very basic Brother machine for about 16 years I finally upgraded to a Janome Memory Craft 6500 and love it. It was the most money I had ever spent on my business and I don't regret it one bit. I never thought I needed a thread cutter or knee lifter but now that I have one I can't imagine using anything different.
What is your favorite make ever? Why?
My favourite make of all time is definitely a pair of Birkin Flares from Baste + Gather that I made 2 years ago. It was the best fitting garment I had ever made and my first attempt at sewing jeans. It was a turning point for me in garment sewing because it showed me that I could sew anything, there was no pattern out of my reach.
What is on in the background while you're sewing?
I am usually catching up on tv shows or listening to podcasts. Recently I have started listening to audio books which has been really fun.
Bryant dolman top pattern by Straight stitch Designs
Which is(are) your favorite pattern(s)?
Of my 13 patterns I am most proud of my recent blouse pattern Leschi. This pattern has been on my mind for 2 years but I just never felt like I had the skills or knowledge to tackle the pattern I was envisioning. I finally decided to make it happen last year and it is everything I had hoped it would be.
Who's your sewing/blogging/style/fashion/designer/quilter hero(s)?
The first name that comes to mind as my sewing hero is Adrianna of Hey June. From the second I joined this indie pattern design world I have felt nothing but support and encouragement from Adrianna. Over the years we have developed a friendship where I can message her with a rant or question and she is always there to help. I have loved watching her business grow and through her see new ways to grow my business.
What are your favorite sewing techniques?
A narrow hem is so satisfying, I feel like a total boss when it comes out right.
What is your least favorite sewing technique/step?
Prep work like interfacing or marking. I would rather just skip all of that and start sewing.
3 things that make you happy:
- New Fabric,
- the moment I hit publish on a new pattern,
- and the final stitch of a new garment.
3 random things about you:
- I drink 3-4 tall Americanos a day,
- I am a super messy sewist who is not looking for perfection,
- and I ALWAYS choose something with fries when I eat out.
Life or sewing motto:
Just because everyone else it doing it one way doesn't mean you have to as well. Create your own path.
Leschi blouse pattern by Straight Stitch Designs
Thank you, Kimberly!
This week get 20% off on all Straight Stitch Designs patterns! (good until Friday, January 19th 11:59pm CST)