Remember Project Indie, which The Monthly Stitch and Dresses & Me were running as part of Indie Pattern Month, looking for a new indie designer to help get them started with their pattern label? Well, we’ve had three amazing submissions for Project Indie, and it’s time to show them to you all!
Firstly, we’re going to introduce you to the three designers – Helena from GrayDay Patterns, Lindsay from Lindsay Woodward Designs, and Charlotte from English Girl at Home. Here’s our interview with Charlotte from English Girl at Home (click through the names for our interviews with the other two designers).
Hi Charlotte! Thanks for entering Project Indie – we’re really excited to learn more about you and your design! Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into sewing?
I come from a fairly crafty family – there’s always been a sewing machine in our house. One of my Granddad’s favourite stories was about a dress one of my aunts made out of leather scraps (or “shammy” leathers) – worn once to a nightclub and then donated to him for cleaning his car. It apparently lasted as a car cleaning tool for a long time so the dress didn’t go to waste! As a teenager I began sewing toys and refashioning RTW and have never stopped sewing since, but I only became seriously addicted to dressmaking in the last year or so. I’m willing to admit that it is an addiction! I have lots of other hobbies (printing, video games, cinema, comics) but they take a back-seat to sewing these days.
When did you decide you wanted to start your own pattern label?
Like other sewists, the more I sew the more I want to try new things and challenge myself, and pattern drafting is definitely a challenge!
One of the greatest things about sewing is the amazing online sewing community and I want to share my patterns as well as my own sewing projects with this amazing community, share my own ideas and creations and benefit from their amazing skills and ideas.
How would you describe the style of your label?
Obviously it’s difficult for anyone to get a sense of what an English Girl at Home Patterns label might look like from just one pattern. My vision is of clean lines and neat finishes to create a look that is modern and functional. For example, the Lou Lou Dress has a classic A-line / Trapeze shape, but with a modern look and is functional and easy to wear.
My own wardrobe – the clothes I like to wear – includes a whole mixture of stuff; some retro, some very modern, some casual, some very dressy. With time it would be great to develop a label that could encompass the diversity of a wardrobe – with the unifying factors being clean lines, functionality, and a simple, modern style.
I think it takes time to develop a style so I’d also say that I’d partly need to wait and see where working on designs took me!
What’s the story behind the name of your label?
The name of my label comes from the name of my blog. It’s a ‘does what it says on the tin’ kind of a name. I’m based in (Birmingham) England and I blog about the creative things I get up to when I’m at home and away from the day job. As a name for the label it highlights the ‘made in the UK’ element of the brand – I love the idea that this little pattern was ‘made in the UK’, but that dresses made from it could be designed and sewn all around the world.
Now, let’s talk about your pattern design! How would you describe it?
The Lou Lou Dress is a short A-line dress with a twist. The dress is fully lined with a decorative band across the hem of the lining which can be made in a different fabric – perfect for a small fragment of a precious fabric. The dress is French seamed for neat insides and suitable for transparent or delicate fabrics.
Version B features a small pleat on either side of the front neckline which creates additional fullness for a trapeze effect. It also features a collar. Both versions feature a slightly dipped (modesty protecting) hem at the back.
What’s your favourite part of your design?
Ooh I have a few favourites! I like the simplicity of Version A of the dress (you could sew that version sooo quickly), and the pleats at the neckline of Version B – it’s such a simple alteration but it makes a big difference to the look and the line of the dress. However my favourite feature is the decorative hem panel on the dress lining – it’s a really simple way to add a spot of colour or pattern.
How did you decide what to call your design?
The dress is named after Louise Brooks’ character in the Pabst film Pandora’s Box. Louise Brooks is one of my icons because she was such a talented actor and is mesmerising to watch on screen, and also because she was uncompromising. It meant she didn’t ‘fit in’ with the studio system in Hollywood at the time and as a result didn’t have the film career her talent deserved. I have a massive Pandora’s Box poster in my living room with ‘Lou Lou’ written in a huge font – so that may have been a big subconscious influence!
Want to have a look at Charlotte’s Lou Lou dress design? Here you go:
You can find out more about Charlotte through her blog – English Girl At Home.
Keep an eye out tomorrow, where we’ll be asking everyone to vote for their favourite of the three designs!