We have another fantastic returning sponsor for you today! We are so happy to welcome back Sew House Seven! Most of you are probably already familiar with Peggy’s popular designs, but if not – definitely check them out! Kyla caught up with Peggy to take a peek into her closet as a pattern designer, and to see what we can expect to see next from her pattern line!
**Use code STITCH25 for 25% off all Sew House Seven patterns through the entire month of October!**
Hi Peggy! Welcome back to Indie Pattern Month! First, can you tell us a bit about the style and range of your patterns, for people who may not have seen your brand before?
Hello! Thanks for asking me back to Indie Pattern Month – it’s great to be here again! If you aren’t familiar with Sew House Seven patterns, I would describe them as simple, feminine and unique. I started my pattern line with the idea of making the styles quick and easy to sew with the goal of enticing beginners to learn to sew, yet offering unique style details that would also appeal to more advanced sewists. Most (not all) of my styles aren’t too fitted and don’t have closures and the instructions are quite thorough all with hopes that beginners will come away with a wearable project rather than being frustrated and give up. I have a few styles that are a little more involved and difficult and I will continue to add more of those to the line however, I plan on continuing to mainly focus on simple styles.
We’d love to learn a little more about your personal style, and how it reflects into your patterns – a look into the designer’s closet, if you will 🙂 How closely would you say your personal style matches up to your designs?
My personal style matches perfectly to my designs because I mostly design pieces that I want in my own closet. After years of working in the apparel industry and being challenged to guess at what customers want, I think it’s easier and more fun to design for myself and find customers with similar taste. Although I will say that I have designed a few styles that don’t particularly look great on me but they are still times that I wish I could wear and I know would look great on someone else.
How much of your personal wardrobe is handmade?
Most of my closet is now handmade although, that’s not too much of an accomplishment since most of the clothes in my closet are samples of my patterns that I make during work hours. That said, I do try to make time to sew up other patterns besides my own. I’m guessing that I now have enough me-mades to cover about 90% of my wardrobe.
Do you sew mostly your own designs, or are there any other patterns or designers that you gravitate toward for your personal wardrobe?
It takes me a long time to get a pattern to completion and ready to release so I am only able to release a few a year. Therefore, I don’t really have enough of my own styles to cover my wardrobe needs and it’s nice to see what other designers are doing and add some dimension to my wardrobe. Once every month or two, I try to sew up someone else’s designs but unfortunately, I don’t like to spend a lot of my free time on social media so I haven’t been great about discovering new, less know designers. I have many of the popular indie patterns that most of us have heard and seen on Instagram but I’m dying to find the time to try some new up-and-coming designer patterns. I try my best not to jump on a trend bandwagon and make what everyone else is making but it’s difficult not to when I see how great everyone looks in them. I always seem to eventually want to give whatever is the pattern of the moment a go as well. And to get back to your question… I don’t have a particular designer that I go to – I have several.
After quitting your “day job” a couple years ago, has it been difficult to hone your closet for working at home yet still looking presentable in public? Did your everyday style change at all in that time?
Yes! – this has been my main wardrobe struggle and I haven’t quite conquered it. I worked for Pendleton Wollen Mills in downtown Portland, Oregon for several years up until two years ago and we had a dress code there. I was always dreaming up designs to wear to work back then and I put much effort into my outfits trying to look as professional as possible. Now that I am at home in front of the computer with nobody else around, it’s hard to convince myself to get dressed in the morning and I end up in my sweatpants most of the day. I find that I am changing my clothes just to run to the grocery store or pick up my son from school. I’ve been challenging myself to design clothes that look presentable but are also comfortable and that usually means knits. I know that not everyone is interested in sewing knits or works from home and I still love sewing wovens so I won’t only be designing knitwear patterns but I know I’m not alone in this dilemma.
As a work-from-home designer, what do you wear on a typical day? Do you have any go-to outfits for your workday? May we see how you style your go-to pieces?
I usually wake up early, throw on some sweat pants and start reading emails or looking through Instagram. I plan to get fixed up later but if I’m really busy or immersed in what I am doing, I may end up working like that all day. A little later, after I’ve gotten my son off to school, I try to go for a run, shower and then get dressed and it’s usually something knit and comfy – a dress in the summer and pants and sweater in the fall or winter. If I haven’t chosen something presentable enough, I make another outfit change to go out in public. Here are some of my more presentable work from home go-tos. By the way, this exercise has made me aware that I have way too many clothes. It was difficult to whittle it down. This photo composite is huge but it was much larger. I took out the more dressy items and kept it to what I actually wear most often. I also forgot to include shoes and accessories. I usually am barefoot in the house but throw on clogs or sandals when I leave the house.
Will you describe your typical day-in-the-life as a pattern designer?
Well as I mentioned in the last answer, I usually start my day with emails and Instagram. If there are any questions, problems or large orders, I try to get those out of the way before I start on anything else. I also used to get my shipping done in the morning but now my husband has been helping me with that because I wasn’t getting much else done but shipping. After that, it depends on what stage of development my latest style is in. If I’m working on something new, I will try to work on the pattern, instructions, sample sewing or whatever portion of the design that needs attention. If I’ve just released a pattern, I am usually in shipping mode for a month and don’t get to too much else. Sometimes I am getting ready for a photo shoot or going through and editing photos, sometimes I am answering interview questions – it’s all very cyclical and not usually the same thing everyday other than the morning ritual of emails and Instagram and shipping.
Lastly – we have to ask – any hints on what’s coming next from Sew House Seven? 🙂
My next pattern will be another t-shirt that was originally part of the Tabor V-neck pattern. While it was in pattern testing, I realized that they should be two completely different styles. The Tabor V-neck then morphed and a sweater and sleeveless option were added and I saved the sportier t-shirt for this fall. I have also been working on a pant pattern as well as a wrap dress that I hoped would be released this winter but it’s already looking like those won’t probably happen until the spring. I am still working on getting my timing down. I think I’m working ahead of schedule but everything always takes longer than it seems like it should.