This week, meet...Marina of Frocks & Frolics! Marina was trained as a tailor in a design studio, in Germany. She found her passion for teaching while working there and became a teacher of Product Design Textiles for 6 years. Although Martina loved teaching she started to miss the world of fashion and decided to start her own sewing pattern company, which allowed her to keep teaching but also designing and drafting her own patterns. Frocks & Frolics has become a well loved pattern company in a short time. Keep reading to know more!
Why do you sew?
It's my passion and profession!
When did you started to sew? And what was your first make?
I started to sew in my teens and also stopped 3 weeks later, my dress went in the bin and I never touched it again. Luckily I decided to give tailoring a go and trained as a tailor for 3 years in my early twenties. Never looked back, best decision ever.
When did you start to draft patterns? How was the learning process?
I produced entire collections for upmarket designers. One of them frequently worked with patterns which just weren't very good and needed tweaking. You get patterns to fit and you start spotting errors. In my manufacturing business I even employed a pattern cutter, which also didn't work out so well, so I started doing them myself. Later on I taught product design in secondary school and drafting was also part of the job for A level teaching, so that was the next step in this general direction. After 30 years both teaching and manufacturing I started to design my own patterns, which is a total blast.
How is your creative/design process?
When you have worked in fashion for a long time, you tend to have more ideas than time to put all of them into action! I choose what I think will be a good addition to my collection and then create one pattern for my little model Magdalena. This may take many garments made and posted from LA to Virginia! Her mum Ela is a talented hobby photographer and I get back hundreds of photos to analyse the fit and look. When it fits her perfectly I grade the pattern. Then I take each size individually and fit it to be perfect for each age. I sew up each size to see if it looks and fits well. By the end no size is quite like another, all are beautiful individual little patterns, which also come as separate files. Last they are digitized and I start creating videos to teach each step, explain different methods and options. After weeks of video editing I also put together an e-book which generally is more like a learn to sew book with much detail, diagrams, photos, charts and examples. Then some very talented ladies test for me and often its back to the drawing board, changing what I still don't like or could look better. Lastly all is translated into German, proof read and finally released as a pattern.
The Vivienne dress, pattern by Frocks & Frolics
How/where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
My aim is to have a small creative team to bounce around ideas and generally be faster in creating a product. When people need a fabulous fit I want them to turn to me for their patterns. I also have a free online sewing school which I want to expand and make more interactive. Sewing courses are often very expensive and out of reach for most. With my patterns, you receive a reasonably priced pattern with a free sewing course to match.
What sewing machine do you own? Is it the machine of your dreams?
I own a Pfaff Select (mechanical) and a Pfaff Quilt Ambition (electronic)
What is your favorite make ever? Why?
My favorite make ever was a wedding dress for a family friend. As a second wedding she wanted a blue dress with a fairy tale feel. It was a real challenge as I created a corseted wedding dress with a beautiful train, iron on embroidery and a stunning pleated neckline. I actually filmed all of it, so there will be a video some day.....
What is on in the background while you're sewing?
Sadly nothing, I film what I sew most of the time. But every Friday afternoon I put on David Dundas's Jeans on! When I need an uplift I turn up the tunes of 'Play that Funky Music' or 'Uptown Funk'... I think you can see a pattern here :)
Which is(are) your favorite pattern(s)?
Hands down my Vivienne! It comes in teen and girls sizes and I have so many in my cupboard. This fifties inspired dress fits like a glove, took 6 months to draft and I still got fabric stashed to make more samples... one day!
Oscar Shorts, pattern by Frocks & Frolics
Who's your sewing/blogging/style/fashion/designer/quilter hero(s)?
I love Anett Röstel, a fashion designer from Berlin, who just is my ultimate design hero. Class, style, beautiful fabrics and always new ideas. I think most people never experience what it feels like to put on a jacket for example and have it fitting perfectly like a surreal dream. I produced samples for her and some of the fashion line and just loved the fit. It has NEVER ever been bettered by any other designer I tried, famous or indie, anywhere.
What are your favorite sewing techniques?
I love it all, the more challenging a design is the more I love it.
What is your least favorite sewing technique/step?
Lapped zips, overlapping from either side. They are just ugly. With so many zip options why use this ugly zip insertion suitable for cushions? In my sewing school I show how to do them all, from concealed to fashion and lapped. If I remember correctly I mention multiple times how I dislike them.....
Describe yourself in 3 words: Intuitive, emotional, perfectionist.
3 Favorites - color, texture and fabric: coral, knotted wood, cotton.
3 things that make you happy: my family, design, being outdoors.
3 random things about you:
- I am German,
- love cheesecake,
- met Barbara Cartland in the 80ies
Life or sewing motto:
Onward and upwards, people that look to the future don't end up living in the past. You can tell I do not really have a motto lol. I just take every day as it comes and enjoy my weekends with what counts more than anything else, my family.
Thank you, Marina!
Enjoy 20% off on all Frocks & Frolics patterns through this week! Use coupon code: FF20.(Ends on Friday, August 11th 11:59 PM PST)
Come back next week to meet another great pattern designer!