Monthly Archives: July 2013

Sewing Pattern Designs Q&A + Giveaway!

Today, I’m excited to feature my friend Heather of The Sewing Loft and celebrate her patterns being licensed with Simplicity Creative Group. That’s right…the Simplicity patterns you can pick up at Jo-Ann’s or your favorite local craft store!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!

Heather, congrats on your licensed patterns with Simplicity Creative Group! Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in pattern design?

Thank you. To say that I am excited to see my designs hit the store would be a complete understatement. I am still in a state of disbelief to know that a brand I grew up sewing has published my designs… Total “pinch me” moment!

Background: Well, I have been sewing forever. I started when I was around seven, just watching my mother and grandmother stitching away at the machine…. waiting for my turn. Later my passion turned into a career as a designer in the apparel industry and it has been non-stop from there.

Where do you get ideas for patterns and how do you record them?
I am a people watcher at heart! I love seeing what people are doing, wearing and interested in. When an idea strikes, I scribble it down in a note pad. I swear, I have too many to count floating around.

What does the process of designing a pattern look like for you?
Pattern making for me is like a complete rush. I sketch my idea on paper and then if I LOVE it, I can not rest until it is complete. Normally, I draft the pattern on paper or direct on my mannequin in muslin. Then, I dive head-first into sewing. Sadly, I am terrible at jotting down notes during the process. Instead, I am so dialed in on what the finished product should look like that I keep testing and tweaking until I get it right. It’s only after I am happy with the outlook that I realize I need to go back, recreate and develop step by step instructions for others to follow. I swear, you would think by now I would be more disciplined but the creative side of me always wins.

Do you have advice for other pattern designers who are looking to branch out into getting their work published?
My best advice to pass on to anyone interested in having their designs published is to reach out, introduce yourselves to brands and see if they are interested. New talent is being discovered everyday! And the biggest surprise to me was just how long the process has taken. This little labor of love started back in September of 2011 with a simple connection and it was not until last summer that things really started to get rolling. Best advice: Be patient.

Giveaway! Monaluna Organic Fabric from Owl & Drum

Today, we are excited to offer a fabric giveaway from one of our new sponsors, Owl & Drum! At their brick-and-mortar store in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you’ll find modern fabrics galore, including a great selection of organic quilting cottons. They also offer workshops and there’s an online shop for out-of-towners.

I wanted to find out a little bit more about owner Bianca and her creative business. Read on for a Q&A and giveaway!

Bianca, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got interested in fabric and sewing?

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always had an interest in sewing and crafts. My main focus was fashion and I would “attempt” to make myself clothes. It was fun to think about colors and design. I ended up studying fashion design and then fashion merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. I then took a bit of a break from creating and was a buyer at a Tulsa department store, before moving to Portland, Oregon, to work at Nordstrom.

Living in Portland was very inspiring, so I soon started working from home making jewelry, accessories and home goods–all from recycled T-shirts–under the brand Urban Creatures. I also became very intrigued with the modern quilt movement and soon, of course, I became obsessed with all things fabric!

Bianca (right) and her Owl & Drum business partner Dani (left)

How did you decide to start your fabric shop, Owl & Drum? What’s the story behind your name?

One of my lifelong dreams was opening up my own store. Through the years, ideas would come and go. But with sewing and crafting becoming a big part of my daily life, I decided I should focus my business efforts on something that I love: fabric and craft supplies.

I also wanted to provide a place where people–young and old, beginner or experienced–could enjoy classes, workshops and events. It’s been really pleasing that Tulsans, especially kids, have got a kick out of making things at Owl & Drum. Our instructors have been great, too.

I had been wanting to move back to Tulsa, which has seen really cool developments in recent years, and it just felt like the right idea in the right place at the right time. So, my husband and I took the plunge and moved to Oklahoma and opened up Owl & Drum.

My husband and I are big “Owl” lovers. Our last name is Howell and the owl has always been a family symbol. We thought it would make for a fun-looking logo, too! The “Drum” comes from my business partner and friend Dani Weaver. She’s a drummer, so the name Owl & Drum is a little part of me and a little part of her. Basically, we thought the name would be a hoot!

If you were somehow forced to destash all of your fabric except for only three designers, which ones would you keep and why?

Birch Fabrics – Birch Fabrics are so plush and beautiful. First of all, I love that they are 100% organic cotton. Secondly, their prints are fantastic. I’m really excited about their upcoming Charley Harper collection. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time so, when I saw there was going to be fabric with his illustrations, I went nuts. We placed the order at the International Quilt Market last month and I had a hard time deciding which ones to choose.

Heather Ross – Who can resist Heather Ross? I loved her designs when she worked with Kokka. The cotton/linen blends were a perfect match for her vintage-style of drawings. I am, however, thrilled that she is now designing for Windham Fabrics. Her new line, Briar Rose, will be launched next week and we cannot wait to share those fabrics with everybody. People will love them!

Anna Maria Horner – As someone who likes to make clothes, I find Anna Maria Horner‘s prints are perfect for apparel.
Her designs are exactly what I like to see in clothing. Skirts, dresses, handbags – they all look good in Anna Maria’s fabrics.

Okay, because 3 is not enough I have to mention a 4th – Monaluna. Monaluna is a fabric line that is also 100% organic cotton. The owners design all of the prints and they are very clever. We recently had a fabric of theirs called Llama Love. It was wonderful! Who knew that fabric with llamas on it would be so cute. Their recent collection, Raaga, is just beautiful. Its Indian-inspired prints are very sophisticated and would look really good in the home.

Giveaway!

One lucky Craft Buds reader will 1 1/2 yards of Monaluna Raaga organic fabric (1/2 yard each of the three prints pictured) from Owl & Drum. To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fabric Design Q&A with Alison Glass + Giveaway!

Fabric designer Alison Glass Today we’re excited to welcome surface and space designer Alison Glass! Many of you know from her work with Andover Fabrics, and she is here today to chat about her journey in the industry and how she balances her creative work with family time. Read on, and be sure to enter the fabulous giveaway at the end of this post!

Alison, we’re so excited to have you as a guest at Craft Buds. Can you tell us a little bit about your career background how you got started as a licensed designer with Andover?

Thanks so much! I really appreciate it.

My background is actually in education. I was an art and classroom teacher before my daughter was born. I have always loved art, fabric, sewing, creating, and especially color. I started my home dec business when my second child was three. I was doing a lot of sewing and reupholstery for clients, using beautiful fabrics from the quilting industry, and at some point in that process realized that people make the designs that get printed on fabric. I became fascinated with the idea of creating those designs, especially the repeat and color part, and just started drawing. Chalk on the dining room walls was my favorite outlet!

It was a bit of a journey designing that first collection and figuring out how to present it to manufactures, and thinking back seems so wild to just show up at Quilt Market not knowing anyone, but that’s how it happened. It’s one of the best things I have ever done, just showing up. I met with a bunch of people and after much consideration ended up with Andover, which I am thrilled about. I adore working with them and appreciate their dedication.

Alison Glass quilt with fence

What is your design process like and where do you most often find inspiration?

As I reflect about what I’ve designed up to this point, I would say that I find a ton of inspiration in the details that surround me. There is so much beauty and interest in the world, making a conscious decision to see it creates a nearly endless stream of ideas and thoughts. I love the process of taking these glimpses of detail and translating them into my own ideas, colors, and patterns.

With each design I almost always start out with a sketch on paper, finalize the lines and repeat using tracing paper, then hand trace and color digitally. I like this process, and though it takes a bit longer, I feel that I have complete control over the art work and where each line is placed and how it moves. This is my favorite part of the work, the art.

There is a lot of new fabric on it’s way at this point: Sun Print, Clover Sunshine, Field Day, and some unnamed work that I hope will be super for garment sewing! I am really excited to get to see what people will make with these new designs.

Turtle Embroidery by Alison Glass

I know many fabric designers do other types of creative work as well. Do you have other crafts, hobbies or business ventures that help supplement your work?

Up until the last year I ran a small, local design business designing spaces and custom home dec pieces for clients. There was about a year or more overlap when I was doing both. Then last summer we moved to a new state, so I wrapped up that local business to concentrate on surface design and the quilting industry. I am definitely still in the process of figuring this out as a business, but I feel like things are moving forward pretty well. I am very lucky in that my true interests are very tied to this work, so what I am making for work and for fun are the same.

I have recently started selling super high-quality art prints, kits, and patterns through my online shop, which is something that has been in the works for a while. I plan to expand the shop, and am so happy to have it up and running. I am especially excited about the art prints, which I’ve wanted to do for a number of years, and a number of new patterns will release in July, including embroidery! As for freelance graphic design, although it’s not official, when people ask I am happy to help! I do love the artwork part the most!

Fabric designer Alison Glass

Is it hard to find a balance between your creative work and your personal or family time?

Well, the kids are just now out of school for the summer, so maybe check back with how I’m feeling about this next month! The noise-canceling headphones are helping at this particular moment! Seriously though, it’s a tricky thing, balancing work and home life.

I think good communication with the family is really important and necessary to make this sort of job work, and an honest assessment about the reality of one’s situation. If something isn’t working, you talk about it and make adjustments. Chris and I are both incredibly supportive of each other’s work and life goals, and we are also very lucky to have two fairly independent, responsible, and quiet/introverted kids. Anna is 11 and Jack is 9, so they are not so little anymore, which to me makes it easier. They have grown up watching both of us working very hard to create the life we want for us and for them. We have been very open and honest about that, and they seem to have a pretty deep understanding that to create the life you want takes a huge commitment paired with continual decisions to keep moving forward and live in the new/present with as much personal integrity as possible. “Live in the New” is a favorite phrase of mine. It’s about letting go of things that are holding you back and a deep focus on the current reality and what can be done with it.

These three that surround me are amazing individuals and truly make me want to work in a way that they will be proud of. This also means I can’t just ignore them and work all the time, which is my bent. I adore working, however even more than that my greatest desire is deep and good relationships with people, especially the ones I am with most of the time. For me, managing this is just taking things day by day and knowing that if something takes longer than I’d like, it’s probably for a good-and-larger-picture reason. I do get wound about stuff, and I’m working on getting better at letting things go.

Based on lessons you’ve learned in the industry, what is your best advice for an aspiring fabric designer?

Gosh, that’s hard, it depends so much on what someone is wondering. Generally, though I would have a two-part thought, which is a combination of diligently pursuing one’s interest in fabric design and also knowing that it’s not for the faint of heart. No one will ever know if it’s going to work or not if they don’t try, and though that sounds so obvious, it’s true. I spent longer than I should have wondering if a company would pick up my work. If anyone is serious about fabric design and wants to do it for the right kind of reasons, then it is worth trying.

That being said, it is a ton of work and time, and even more once fabric is in production. The commitment is huge, and knowing why you want to design fabric and where you want to go with it is key. If it is just kind of a fun goal for someone, that is one thing. If a person sees it as a career they are professionally pursuing, it is an entirely different commitment. I feel that overall fabric design needs to start with great artwork, repeat, and colors, and putting one’s best work forward it always key.

Text fabric by Alison Glass

Giveaway!

Alison is generously giving away a prize pack of goodies that are not yet available in stores! One lucky winner will receive:

– Fat quarter bundle of the new Feathers print from the Sun Print line
– Feathers Quilt Pattern
– Embroidery Pattern – Winner’s Choice
– Alison Glass Art Print – Winner’s Choice

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Alison glass fabric and prints

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway! Bag Patterns from ChrisW Designs

Today, we’re excited to offer one Craft Buds reader the chance to win 3 PDF patterns of their choice from ChrisW Designs!

Australia-based designer Christine makes some of the cutest handbags, clutches and backpacks around. Here are the three PDF patterns I would choose if I could pick just three!

The Amy Backpack would be great for a boy or a girl…just change up the fabrics! Includes a large zippered pocket, elastic front pocket and two side pockets for loads of storage.

The Olivia Handbag makes a great everyday purse with metal rings hardware, two front-flap pockets and a recessed zipper in the top to keep all of your belongings safe and sound.

For a simple “grab and go” bag, The Emma makes perfect sense. This cute shoulder bag has a magnetic snap closure and would be great for little girls as well as adults.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One lucky winner will receive their 3 favorite patterns from ChrisW Designs. Good luck, and be sure to check out Christine’s blog to stay in touch!

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