A sponsor and supporter since the beginning, Muse Patterns is back this year with a new design to share and a guest designer to share it with us! Kyla caught up with Johanna, the designer behind Muse’s latest release, the Manuka Top & Dress, to learn how she got started with Muse and to hear a little bit about her first pattern release!
**Use code IPM2018 for 20% off all Muse patterns through the entire month of October**
Welcome, Johanna! We hear you are a guest designer for Muse Patterns! How did you get started with Muse? Is this the first sewing pattern you have released?
Hi! Thanks for the opportunity for the interview! It has been a really interesting process becoming a guest designer for Muse. I have known Kat for years, and have always admired her passion for sewing. After I completed my degree in fashion design, I talked to Kat and we decided a pattern release would be a great collaboration. This is my first sewing pattern, so I learned a lot from Kat about all the things that go into a release, and it was great to have her input and advice at all stages. I also admire what she’s done building up her own brand and I have a lot of respect for all the work that takes!
What is it like working as a guest designer? Will you explain the process you went through to release your pattern?
Working as a guest designer was a big learning curve. First of course is to design and prototype the garment, as well as decide on what variations will work well. And honestly, that’s the easy part! To package it all up, there are lots of decisions to make, particularly on how to make a user-friendly product (Kat is very experienced in this area, so gave loads of feedback!). And of course, the digital side of it is huge, from creating layplans, illustrations, diagrams, and the digital pattern files.
Tell us a bit about your design. What was the inspiration behind the Manuka Dress & Top?
I wanted my first release to be pretty accessible, but not too basic. With the optional keyhole neckline, it gives sewers an option for just how much they want to challenge themselves. This pattern is suitable for all kinds of lightweight drapey fabrics, so I hope the thorough instructions give people the courage to tackle some intermediate-level fabrics! My design inspiration started with the floaty sleeve, as I just love how elegantly drapey fabrics fall in folds around the arm.
Where did the name of your pattern come from?
Following the themed releases by Muse, we decided the theme of New Zealand flora would be a good idea for this series. Manuka is a lovely native species of flowering plant and I thought the delicate manuka flowers suited the look of the pattern!
Where did you do all of your work on this project? May we have a sneak peek at your workspace?
Well, like I said, the digital side of the project was intense, so a lot of the project was done at a desk, not a sewing machine! I don’t have any pictures of my sewing workspace to show off, but you can see my desk workspace behind me here (below)!
We’d love to see how you style your own Manuka Dress and/or Top! Will you share some photos of how you wear it?
I’ve made myself a Manuka in violet rayon crepe, and fairly typical of me, I couldn’t resist hacking my own pattern! For this one, I created a casing for the tie belt (you can find the tutorial for this on my blog). I also raised the sleeve onto the natural shoulder, and created a custom boatneck neckline! I styled it with tights and ankle boots for a trans-seasonal look.
Do you have plans to continue working with and designing for Muse? Any new patterns in the works?
I do have plans to continue with Muse. At the moment there is a pattern for knit fabrics in the pipeline! I’m also having a lot of fun designing and making things for myself. Follow my blog at slowsweetblog.com to keep an eye on what I’m up to as well as my Instagram where I update more regularly.