We had a chat with Amanda and learnt all about how her love of fabric morphed into fabulous women’s and children’s sewing patterns.
First up, tell us all a bit about your designs. How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
Being really passionate about knits and having a knit fabric shop, most of my patterns (and all of my women’s patterns) are designed for stretch fabric. A lot of people are intimidated to sew knits, so it’s important to me to make designs and tutorials that are beginner-friendly but still interesting enough for more adventurous sewers. My style is very much for modern and day-to-day designs rather than ‘statement’ pieces, although with the right fabric they can cross that line into fancy!
How did your come up with the name for your label?
Gosh, it was so long ago (2007) and I was in such a sleep-deprived state with a toddler and a baby that I can’t quite remember! Kitschy Coo started off as childrenswear only so I’m pretty sure it was a play on ‘Cootchy Coo’ and it was just one of those things that jumped into my head in the middle of the night.
We’d love to know the story behind your label. What inspired you to create and sell patterns? How did it all start?
As before, I started off in childrenswear and not knowing any better- using Big Four patterns. They were crazy big! So I armed myself with some pattern-drafting books and started drafting my own. I spent a lot of time reading and sharing on places like Craftster and people started asking if I would be releasing the patterns. This was back before PDFs were really popular, so I found a printer and released patterns on paper. As time went by and the PDF market exploded I switched new releases over to digital but still stuck firmly (and safely!) to the children’s market until last year. I’d been drafting and sewing garments for myself for quite a while, but finally caved to demands to draft the girls’ skater dress into a multi-sized women’s pattern. It was nerve-wracking and super time-consuming from a research and testing point of view to make the jump into women’s patterns but I’m really glad I did.
And looking forwards, where would you like your label to be in five years time?
Ironically, I’d like to get back into paper patterns. PDFs make a tonne of sense from an immediacy point of view (especially as I’m in the UK and so many of my customers are not), but I’m a paper girl at heart and would like to offer those as well. Design-wise, I’d definitely like to flesh out my label with more intermediate and advanced designs, and *possibly* some menswear. But don’t hold me to that 🙂
What’s your favourite part of releasing a new design?
I actually really enjoy the testing phase. I have the greatest group of testers who are just so helpful and knowledgeable that they’re the best to work with, and their enthusiasm and encouragement keep me going.
Thinking of your gorgeous designs, what’s your favourite of all your designs so far, and why?
Ha, tough question! I’ll always have a soft spot for the Lady Skater as it was my leap of faith into womens’ patterns and has had such a terrific response. Personally though, I’d probably have to say the Trifecta Top is my favourite as I’m more of a jeans-and-tee girl and there are so many sleeve, neckline, and embellishment options I could literally make and wear them forevermore. So what I guess I’m saying is I hate the Penny Pinafore (just kidding).
Do you have any new patterns coming out soon? Any hints you can give us? (We’re so impatient, haha!)
I hope so! I’m working on two summer patterns right now, both will be available as top and dress options. I’m notoriously non-sneaky with what I’m working on so you can probably see progress pics on Instagram (kitschycoo).
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?
At the moment, I have a room I use as a studio in my house. However, with the explosion of the fabric side of the business it’s been really tricky to use a single room as multi-purpose space for fabric, designing, and sewing so I’ve been working hard this year to find a premises I can spread out in. I’ll show you some pictures of the fabric as it’s much more pleasant than stacks of pattern revisions on the floor 🙂
Who or what inspires you, either with your designs or with your business? (Or both!)
In general, the sewing / blogging community! In my humble experience, the community is supportive, enthusiastic, generous with their skills and expertise, and just plain rad. I love seeing how people stamp their individual style and make patterns their own through fabric / accessories / hacks / mods, and I’m not ashamed to say it’s helped me embrace *my* style and be more comfortable in my own skin.
What tips or advice would you give to someone who was wanting to start their own indie pattern label?
Know (and sew) thy own body. Spend an unfeasibly long time fine-tuning before going to testing. You can never, ever know too much about fitting adjustments. Find your people.
Amanda is currently offering %15 discount off any pattern orders from her online store until 30 June, just use the code ‘INDIE’ at checkout.
Thank you so much Amanda for being a part of Indie Pattern Month here on The Monthly Stitch, we really appreciate your generosity and we’re looking forward to seeing who get’s to snatch up your fabulous prize! 🙂