Interview with…. Katie from Papercut!

By now, you’ve probably all heard about Papercut, one of our fantastic sponsors for Indie Pattern Month, and also quite a popular indie label in the Monthly Stitch community. This month, we’ve already seen a few Papercut creations popping up here on the Monthly Stitch blog – Pleated Pants, Midsummer Night’s Dream dress (three of them at once!), the La Sylphide dress, the Watson jacket, and even a Sigma dress combined with the Sewaholic Saltspring!

Want to find out more about Papercut patterns, and the women behind it? We caught up with Katie from Papercut to find out what goes on behind-the-scenes!




First up, tell us all a bit about your designs.  How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
Papercut is all about classic wearable basics with a fashion edge. I like to make patterns that can be made many times in different fabrics without it being too obvious it’s the same garment.

If you look at most designers, they have repeat garments they release in different fabrics and prints each season.

I want people to put their own take onto my pattern, they are essentially the designer…. depending on what you make your pattern up in and how you style it, it can look completely different.

Katie in her workroom

How did your come up with the name for your label?
I actually came up with the name on the same night I came up with the idea for the business. I wanted a play on words, and came up with Papercut as it is the paper cut of the garment.

We’d love to know the story behind your label.  What inspired you to create and sell patterns?  How did it all start?
Back in 2008, while working at the “The Fabric Store” in Auckland NZ, I noticed a lot of young stylish girls coming in wanting to make their own clothes, they would sit at the pattern book table for hours trying to find something they wanted to make but the reality was that the patterns available weren’t very fashion forward. Never really having used commercial patterns myself, I decided one night to take one home and quickly make it up to wear to a party that night. After getting very confused about what the instructions were telling me to do, I wondered to myself why sewing patterns still looked so dated and I had an epiphany! I never went out that night and instead spent the evening online looking for boutique sewing patterns…to my shock, there was nothing really available worldwide. That’s where the Papercut dream began. It took me a couple of years to turn the dream into a reality, as I had to move back to Blenheim where I set up in the corner of my dad’s business. At the time I had a seven year old daughter I was supporting on my own, so it was a big transition, and family support was important.

And looking forwards, where would you like your label to be in five years time?
My business is constantly changing and evolving… I have a few plans up my sleeve, but mainly I just want to focus on consistently putting out good design.

What’s your favourite part of releasing a new design?
My favorite part would have to be when made up garments start popping up all around the web. I love seeing other peoples take on my designs. It’s very rewarding getting inspired by what someone else has made with my pattern.

Thinking of your gorgeous designs, what’s your favourite of all your designs so far, and why?
That’s hard to say as all of my patterns have been designed because I want to wear them J I go through phases of thrashing particular designs. At the moment it is the Anima Pants and cropped Undercover Hood Sweaters…I can’t get enough of them! And don’t worry…I’m not wearing them as tracksuits 🙂

Anima Pants and Undercover Hood from Papercut

Do you have any new patterns coming out soon?  Any hints you can give us?  (We’re so impatient, haha!)
Yes yes I do 🙂 I have been in collaboration with a good friend of mine, NZ based Fashion Designer Brooke Tyson, and she is releasing one of her previous designs as a pattern for all you lovely sewists to make up! We’re hoping to have it released sometime during the next month.

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’m pretty lucky as I have a studio set up at my home which has been invaluable while running a business with two children. It has it’s moments though as it’s really hard to get life/work separation. For example, while working there is always laundry that needs to be done and while relaxing there are always emails that need to be answered. My work hours are all over the place, which has it’s pros and cons.

Who or what inspires you, either with your designs or with your business?  (Or both!)
I am inspired by fabric, by people and some days inspiration just seems to walk through the door.
Reading lots of magazines and fashion blogs also keeps me up to date.

What tips or advice would you give to someone who was wanting to start their own indie pattern label?
First get some technical knowledge on Pattern drafting, I studied for 4 years, Fashion design and Graphic Design, years which have proven invaluable to take Papercut so far.
Also remember that before you get to the final product there is the logistics of production, distribution and marketing…so time consuming…be ready for a lot of hard work.

Katie, thank you so much for telling us more about Papercut and giving us a glimpse behind the scenes. I’m rather impressed you manage the entire business with two small children! And I’m really looking forward to seeing the new pattern that you’re working on – exciting!

Katie has also offered us a Papercut pattern to give away to one of the readers of The Monthly Stitch! Want to be in the draw to win your choice of patterns from Papercut? Just comment below and tell us – which Papercut pattern would you choose, and why? You’ve got until midnight 26 June (UST) to enter.

37 thoughts on “Interview with…. Katie from Papercut!

  1. Pingback: Circling around and around | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

  2. Pingback: Papercut giveaway – did you win? | The Monthly Stitch

  3. This is so thoughtful 🙂 I’d definitely go for the Rigel Bomber or the Midsummer Night’s Dream dress! They all look so beautiful as well as practical.


  4. These interviews are great! It’s always interesting to hear what started designers on their path. The bit about leafing through pattern books and not finding anything really chimes with me. Anyway, Peter and the Wolf would definitely be my choice – I’m very much a trousers person and I have been attracted to some metallic denim to make them with. Many thanks for the chance to win.


  5. Thanks for these interviews! It’s fun to read a little bit about the designers behind some of our lovely indie pattern companies! (:
    As for choosing the Papercut Pattern I’d like to win the most … hmmm. I already own my two favourites, the Pleated Pants and the Saiph Tunic (the latter of which, unfortunately, didn’t fit me at all, but I still want to make up the style!). I think that I’d go with the Anima Pant. I didn’t particularly want it when it was released and I can’t afford it right now, but I could really, really use some decent-looking loungewear and the Anima looks like it would work very well for that!


    • Why? Well I’m really getting into making my own sportswear and I love that this exercise top is both stylish and functional. On the other hand La Sylphide has been on my list for such a long time and I have the perfect fabric for it.


  6. Bellatrix? Watson? Hoodie? Hmm…… Choices, any of those would be amazing. I love that Katie has received her, we’ll deserved, international recognition in the blogging world.


  7. Great interview, great to hear Katie’s story. I am a Papercut fan, over and over and over. I want to make everything but if I had to choose which pattern I would make next …. it would probably be the Sigma Dress, which I could wear with either of my Bellatrix blazers. I’m into the dress and jacket look at the moment, for work.


  8. Hello, love your interview and story behind the label. I have recently read a blog on the Bellatrix Blazer – AMAZING!! I am seriously interested in making a few of these up! Cheers, Suze xx


  9. It’s so good to finally put a face to the name. Papercut are amazing, I love Katie’s designs. I don’t know which I want first, La Sylphide, Meissa Blouse, Anima Pants?? I think it might have to be the Anima Pants, my Pilates teacher had something similar on the other day and my mind just went berserk, I certainly found that class hard, thinking of all the Anima pants I’d make up 🙂


  10. One of the things I like best about Papercut patterns is that my 18 year old fashionista daughter loves them just as much as I do. I would love to have the undercover hood pattern, it’s the sort of top we’d both make and it would go so well with the anima pants and oh la leggings patterns which we already have


  11. What gorgeous patterns! To pick just one I’d have to go with the Watson jacket because I discovered Papercut patterns when I fell in love with Zara’s version during Indie month


  12. These little interviews are great. So inspiring to hear about women who have started their own business. It is hard to choose a papercut pattern – I think I would go for pleated pants (or peter and the wolf pants)


  13. I love the Anima Pants. Perfect for being a comfortable AND stylish mommy. Plus I could break out some yoga at any time without needing to get changed!


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