I’ve followed Tasia’s journey from blogger to Indie Pattern designer so it’s really exciting to have her join us this year as a sponsor for Indie Pattern month.
As you can imagine Tasia is super busy so we really appreciate her taking the time to share some inside info about her company, Sewaholic Patterns.
Hi Tasia! First up we’d love to know the story behind your label. How did your come up with the name for your label and inspired you to create and sell patterns? How did it all start?
Sewaholic was the name of my sewing blog first, so when I decided to design sewing patterns, calling them ‘Sewaholic Patterns’ was an easy decision! It started when I was working in the fashion industry in more of a technical role, and dreamed of having a creative outlet. That’s when I started blogging about sewing, and talked about my experiences fitting a small upper body and larger lower body. The more I sewed, the more I thought wouldn’t it be great if patterns started out that way? At the very least, people with the same waist-to-hip ratio would have a closer starting point for fitting their own body. I also enjoy writing instructions and working out construction details, and like explaining things in easy-to-understand way. I had so many ideas for patterns I wished existed, I thought it would be fun and challenging to create my own!
And looking forwards, where would you like your label to be in five years time?
In five years, I’d love to have a well-defined selection of patterns we always stock, featuring our best sellers over the past five years. We’ll continue to design new patterns each year as well. I’d love to cover a wider range of styles, offering patterns for all kinds of garments. We get a lot of pattern requests! It’s cool to see what sort of garments people want to sew and it’s a fun challenge for us to take that feedback and turn into something useful. I’d like to make our patterns available in more languages. Currently we have select patterns available in Spanish, French and English, and we’re working on translating the rest of our line. This year we’ve made a lot of changes to improve our business, including adding two new sizes, improving our product photography, taking our shipping back in-house to get patterns out the door faster, and adding metric to the back of our envelope design. I think in five years, we’ll continue to listen to feedback to make cool patterns, provide better service and create more useful products.
What’s your favourite part of releasing a new design?
I have three favourite parts of the design process: the photoshoot, the announcement, and the projects people make. It’s really exciting to see something we’ve designed and sewn looking gorgeous in photos! I love announcing a new pattern and hearing the reactions to our latest designs. The best part of all is seeing what people make with our patterns! It’s so wonderful to see that people are using and loving our patterns. Our Cambie Dress pattern is used for wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses, our Minoru Jacket pattern is used for countless rain jackets, our Renfrew Top pattern is a tried-and-true tee shirt pattern for so many people.
Thinking of your gorgeous designs, what’s your favourite of all your designs so far, and why?
I love the Cambie Dress, it looks fantastic on everyone who’s sewn it up. It’s pretty with its sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves, but practical with pockets and a full lining. Out of all our pattern designs I wear the Granville Shirt pattern the most, as I love button front shirts. There’s so many possibilities for variations with a good, basic shirt pattern.
Are there any amazing versions you’ve seen of your patterns online that you’d like to share with us?
Yes! This Minoru Jacket is fantastic.
Here’s just one of the Cambie wedding dresses.
Julia Bobbin’s Gabriola Skirt is so beautiful!
Can’t go wrong with a classic trench coat in a classic colour: http://liveaboardtakesthesuburbs.blogspot.ca/2014/12/a-classic-sewaholic-robson-trench-coat.html and https://dressingtherole.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/one-coat-to-rule-them-all/
Do you have any new patterns coming out soon? Any hints you can give us? (We’re so impatient, haha!)
Yes, we just finished a photo shoot for two new designs, no hints but we did share some sneak peek photos on Instagram around the time of the shoot.
Where do you do all your work? We’d love you to share a photo or two with us, so we can have a sneak peek at your workspace.
We work in a sunny studio in Vancouver, BC! The big windows covering two of the walls make it a nice, bright place to work. We have a table with sewing machines, a higher table for cutting, and a huge table in the middle for everything else. It’s small, but cosy!
Who or what inspires you, either with your designs or with your business? (Or both!)
For designs, inspiration comes from everywhere: fashion trends, vintage styles, design details, wardrobe needs, pattern requests. It’s neat to see requests such as ‘create a pattern for a long sleeved dress’ or ‘we’d love a pattern for workout wear’ and think about how we could design it to suit our aesthetic. I like to consider how the pattern is construction as much as what it looks like. What sort of interesting construction methods could we incorporate to make it a pleasure to sew as well as wear? Some patterns start with a construction idea. For example, our Thurlow Trousers that feature a centre back extension for making minor fit adjustments and alterations, a detail you see on menswear more than womenswear.
What tips or advice would you give to someone who was wanting to start their own indie pattern label?
Plan for the long term, and decide if you really want to take on running a business. There’s so much more to it than just sewing and designing, including a lot of behind the scenes work that is not glamorous. Think about what you have to offer that sets you apart from everyone else, and focus on that. They always say ‘write what you know’ – the same is true for design. Picture your business in the future and think about what it looks like when it’s big, even if you plan to stay small for a long time. There are little things I did in the beginning that didn’t plan for growth, and now that we’re growing it’s more work now than if we’d planned things more clearly at the outset. Then again, I like to be highly organized and plan everything, so perhaps that won’t matter to everyone! Surround yourself with people that support you, but also find the ones that will be direct with you when you really need that honest opinion. Be honest with yourself as well. Starting any business is a massive challenge, and there will be ups and downs like anything in life. You need to love it enough to stick with it through the downs in order to make it to the ups.
Sewaholic are offering 10% off with the code ‘STITCHMONTHLY’ until 30 June
I really love the Sewaholic aesthetic and colourful packaging. I can’t wait to see what patterns are next. Thank you Tasia.
Which is your favourtie Sewaholic pattern?