We caught up with the Australian-based mother-and-son team behind Teach Me Fashion, Heather and Harrison, to find out more about their label and the story behind it.
First up, tell us all a bit about your designs. How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
We are aiming for a more modern & new look. There are a lot of patterns available from Vogue & Burda which cover more traditional and vintage garments. We are hoping to target a more fashion-forward market and sewers wanting to make something slightly new and different. Saying that, we have included a few staples in there such as the leggings, a little black dress (coming soon) and some classic skirt designs (coming soon also).
How did your come up with the name for your label?
Coming from a background of teaching fashion design for over 40 years I wanted it to be as much educational as it was purely a pattern label. I decided that having videos which showcased sewing techniques, while actually working on garments, was the best way to get new sewers interested and for more experienced sewers to learn some new skills. The name stemmed from what people would be thinking and saying when learning to sew or getting into fashion design, Teach Me Fashion!
We’d love to know the story behind your label. What inspired you to create and sell patterns? How did it all start?
I recently retired from teaching fashion design for over 40 years and wasn’t ready to completely stop teaching or working. I had been interested in creating educational fashion courses for a while and retiring provided a great opportunity to kick-start the idea. I originally wanted to create an instructional CD, but my son Harrison showed me YouTube and all the sewing videos on there and I thought it would be an even better place to showcase the videos. My son figured out how to digitize the patterns from the home computer and we made our first few videos and the rest is history!
And looking forwards, where would you like your label to be in five years time?
In five years we would love to have a range of videos covering how to make a wide variety of garments (maybe 50!), a series on specific sewing techniques and skills, and a video series on how to draft your own patterns. My real skill set and what I taught most is drafting patterns so I’m really looking forward to creating a thorough and detailed series on that, I haven’t seen any complete ones already available.
What’s your favourite part of releasing a new design?
Seeing people’s reaction to it. It’s fantastic to get feedback, good or bad, after all the time and effort we have put into designing, digitizing and creating the pattern video.
Thinking of your gorgeous designs, what’s your favourite of all your designs so far, and why?
My favorite design so far would be the Wrap Dress. I really wanted my first dress pattern to be one that was both easy to sew and that can be worn by all different body shapes & sizes. The pattern is definitely one of the easier patterns to sew as there aren’t any complex sewing techniques and because it can be wrapped in different ways or even left unwrapped, it is suitable for a lot of different people.
Do you have any new patterns coming out soon? Any hints you can give us? (We’re so impatient, haha!)
We are trying to get another 10(!) patterns out by the end of the year, which might be a bit of stretch given all the editing & filming, but new patterns coming out in the next few weeks will be a classic Little Black Dress, a Shift Dress and a Peplum Dress (which we are still working through the video for, it’s a bit more complex!)
Where do you do all your work? Reckon you can share a photo or two with us, so we can have a sneak peek at your workspace?
I do all my work from my daughters old room. We have converted it into a sewing & filming studio. I have attached a couple of photos so you can all see!
Who or what inspires you, either with your designs or with your business? (Or both!)
Inspiration from designs comes from some fantastic garments I have seen over the years through my teaching and that have stuck with me (such as the Wrap Dress) and some fantastic outfits that I see on Pinterest (feel free to follow me to see what is inspiring me!). With regards to the business, my son Harrison helps me with some of the technology and online things that I’m not so skilled at and helps organise a lot with the business such as the website, Etsy and YouTube.
What tips or advice would you give to someone who was wanting to start their own indie pattern label?
I would say go for it! Make sure you have a clear idea of who your patterns are for and why you want to start the label. I would also say that it takes a lot of work and is a labor of love so you have to be really passionate about making the patterns and then following through with taking photos, keeping active on Facebook and letting people know that you’re out there.
Heather, thank you so much for telling us a bit more about Teach Me Fashion and the thinking behind it! I think you’re the only label I know of that has a YouTube channel dedicated to helping people make up your patterns – brilliant idea! We’ll be looking forward to see those new patterns when they come out. 🙂