It's Simplicity!

Happy 2014 friends!

The last half of 2013 was an absolute whirlwind for me at the studio, with many exciting (and unexpected) projects which I'll be sharing with you later this year.  The first of which is really sort of a big deal to me:

pattern 2

Simplicity Pattern 1477

I have had a lifelong love affair with sewing patterns. As a child with limited allowance and unlimited time, I was struck with the idea that I could combine fabric and thread into something which could then transform me into something magical.

"The Wind", the first costume I designed and sewed (age 6) - no pattern required.

As I grew older I was allowed to ride my bike to the local Piece Goods Shop, where I would pore over the glossy pattern catalogs for hours and make wish lists on slips of paper with the little red pencils provided for the task.  I waited for the 50% off sale day, then used my allowance to buy my favorites.  Somehow just owning the pattern to make something was as good as having it in my closet.

Modeling a simple blue chambray dress I made from a Vogue Pattern at 16.  The collar has vintage lace trim.

As a teenager, sewing was a medium to explore and develop a style which was unique to me.  It was definitely a learning process!  There were tears over a party dress which was not going to be finished in time for the party, and a purple panne velvet catsuit that is definitely best left to fashion history.  My Mom and my Uncle Chapman (an amazing designer and FIT Grad) bailed me out on several occasions. But there were many successes and triumphs, and each one started with a little paper pattern envelope.

My Senior Prom dress, made by combining several patterns, with the help of my Uncle Chapman.  I hand pieced and beaded the bodice, the skirt is knee-length.  My Mom told me at the time that I did not need the gloves and tulle wrap, she was right.

When I got to college I learned to draft patterns myself, but I still collect vintage patterns for the beauty of the illustrations and the detailed technique descriptions.  I love to find ones with notes in the margins - the names and measurements of the children it was made for or fabric swatches with rusted pins embedded in them.

Recent mother/daughter finds at a flea market

You can imagine my excitement when Simplicity Patterns contacted me last year to license styles from Little Goodall.

I love this for two reasons : There is nothing more special than a garment handmade for you by someone you love, and it makes my coats available to many more people.

The style they requested was the Fox.  This was the second coat style I designed (the first was the lion) and made, on my dining room table, for my little son.  Making it was an important creative moment for me at a low point. I was a stay at home mom who had recently closed the children's art studio she had nurtured for five years, and who was struggling to find her feet again.  If I told her today that there would be a pattern out there with her name on it, she would have fallen off her chair.

Making things with your hands can be powerful! 

The folks at Simplicity were a delight to work with, and the end result is in stores worldwide wherever Simplicity patterns are sold.  It is not yet available on their website, I am told because they are making some changes (to the website, not the pattern) but should be available there soon.

That is my son modeling the Fox Coat, and my friend Wendy's daughter Quin in the Raccoon Coat. They had lots of fun at the photo shoot with the big red balloon!

I cannot wait to see what everyone does to customize the coats when they sew them - if you give it a try, please share photos with me!

Also, I am curious to know,what are your favorite sewing pattern memories?  And what other Little Goodall styles would you like to see in a pattern?