We’re so pleased to welcome Blueprints For Sewing as a sponsor for Indie Pattern Month 2017! Taylor, the designer behind Blueprints For Sewing, designs modern patterns with fun and interesting seam details. Kat caught up with her to find out more about the story behind her label and designs…
First up, tell us all a bit about your designs. How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
Blueprints patterns are inspired by architecture. Sometimes, the inspiration is direct and other times the connection is a little more subtle. For example, Saltbox’s color blocking is inspired by the asymmetrical roof silhouette of its namesake house, while Cabin is inspired more by the philosophy and vibe of its namesake structure.
I would describe my designs as being simple with a twist. I try to create pieces that are comfortable, easy to wear, and work for a wide variety of body types and styles. I tend to stay away from trendy silhouettes and instead focus on designs that have a unique and unusual point of view but would still be able to fit into anybody’s wardrobe. I try to create designs that encourage people to be creative and resourceful by using up scraps or recycling old clothes.
My personal aesthetic is pretty in line with my designs. I wear all of my patterns quite frequently, especially A-frame and Geodesic. I like color, texture, and geometry. I like silhouettes that are more relaxed and not overly feminine. I love Scandinavian and Japanese style. I also like throw in a bit of punk now and then in the form of a splatter of bleach, boots, or a cheeky vintage piece. I really love fabrics and accessories that are unusual or feel like a piece of art.
How did your come up with the name for your label?
I’ve always been interested in architecture, especially houses, so the idea for architecturally themed patterns happened naturally. Blueprints as a title seemed to fit well, since sewing patterns are essentially blueprints for making clothing.
We’d love to know the story behind your business. What inspired you to create and sell patterns? How did it all start?
I’ve sewn and made my own clothing since I was 13 (my dad still talks about a dress I sewed on new years eve by hand, which prompted him to buy me my first sewing machine) and often created my own patterns in the process. My background is in art, but after college my prospects for making a living as an artist were pretty slim. I worked in retail all through school, from major brands to small boutiques, one of which had me doing alterations on vintage clothing and refashioning some of the inventory into new pieces.
Eventually, I started up a custom clothing business and created clothing for a wide range of clientele: Brides & bridesmaids, acclaimed chefs, stay at home moms, costumes for film, pieces for internationally exhibiting artists. I also freelanced for a few small clothing brands, consulting, creating patterns & sewing samples. When a fabric & yarn store opened up near my apartment, I decided to take a crack at teaching and fell in love. I slowly expanded my teaching practice and scaled back on the custom work.
A few years into teaching, I started to play around with the idea of creating sewing zines (like my Prairie Skirt pattern) to accompany my sewing classes. The zines got a bit of use as class handouts, but at the time there were very few printed indie patterns in shops and I liked the idea of producing a physical product. My pattern zine ideas eventually evolved into paper patterns. Though lately I’ve been getting back to my roots in art and zine making, producing a couple of collaborative zines with shops (The Prairie Skirt zine and Architecture of Alexandria). I hope to continue creating these as a branch of my sewing pattern business. I love the polished nature of my printed patterns but there’s also something that I love about more diy, punk rock outlets for creativity and teaching.
And looking forwards, where would you like your business to be in five years time?
I have lots of pipe dreams, as well as some more pragmatic plans. I would like to travel more to teach classes. I love teaching and look forward to the opportunity to meet sewists from all over and work with them to create clothing that they love. I also love collaboration and look forward to more collaborative projects like those I did with Have Company and Stitch Sew Shop.
I also have plans to continue to expand my offerings outside of patterns to include specialty sewing tools, more zines and books, and possibly even some fabric!
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 work out of a converted horse barn next to my house in Southeastern Massachusetts. It’s an amazing and inspiring space and I feel very lucky to be able to work in there. Though rather charming, it’s not without its challenges (heating and cooling, for example. Also, lots of bug visitors.) I have had a number of different studios over the years and loved them all, from a corner of my bedroom to an attic room in my apartment to a ‘corner office’ in a former 1920’s department store.
My current studio is always in a state of flux due to my constantly shifting stream of projects and interests. Right now, my drum kit takes up a corner (I used to be a drummer in an indie rock band after college), I’ve got a hand me down loom set up with a warp ready to go, I’ve got bins of quilt projects strewn about and shoeboxes of embroidery floss.
What’s your favourite part of releasing a new design?
To be honest, my favorite part actually comes a few months after a design has been released and I start to see people’s own versions!
Thinking of your gorgeous designs, what’s your favourite of all your designs so far, and why?
I think my favorite conceptually is probably Geodesic. It incubated for nearly two years and I’m so pleased with how it turned out and how creative people have gotten with it!
In terms of actual wearing, A-Frame is my favorite. I wear an A-frame skirt nearly every other day. It’s my go-to skirt.
Who or what inspires you, either with your designs or with your business? (Or both!)
Aside from the obvious architectural inspiration, I am also inspired by fashion history, art, nature, and other types of design (graphic, products, typography, furniture).
Architecture is one of my main sources of inspiration, sometimes directly but other times in more subtle, nuanced ways. I’m the kind of person who enjoys driving around neighborhoods just to look at houses. I love the details that you find on older homes: the signs of craftsmanship. The geometry and patterns and textures are endlessly inspiring to me.
I’m also particularly interested in the intersections between architecture and fashion throughout history. I love to study historical textiles and needlework. I love early 20th century art and graphic design, especially the work of the Bauhaus, the DaDa artists, Art Deco, Surrealism as well as conceptual art.
I love plants and flowers and try to spend as much time around green things as possible. I also love the textures and colors found in rocks, lichens, dirt, and wood. I like the idea of harmony between the designed (and natural) elements of our existence.
Last but definitely not least, I am very inspired by the activism inherent in both sewing your own clothes and the act of creating in general. I try to create patterns and designs that make the sewer and wearer feel creative, mindful, and empowered. I like to follow designers who use sustainable fabrics, ethical practices, and who value the process and quality over quantity and trendiness.
Do you have any new patterns coming out soon? Any hints you can give us?
I am hard at work on an outerwear pattern for the fall that I’m really excited about! All I can say is that it’s inspired by one of the things I mentioned in this interview…
Thank you so much for chatting with us Taylor, and telling us the story behind Blueprints For Sewing! We’re looking forward to seeing your new pattern when it’s released. 🙂