Today we have yet another new sponsor to Indie Pattern Month – Straight Stitch Designs! Kimberly designs for comfort while keeping everything on trend and very wearable with everyday pieces that fit well into any wardrobe! We caught up with Kimberly to learn a little more about her behind-the-scenes process and her latest designs.
Tell us a bit about your designs. How would you describe your style/aesthetic?
My style has always revolved around creating patterns that are style and comfort combined. As a mom and small business owner I don’t get dressed up every day but that doesn’t mean I want to just wear sweats either. Creating garment patterns that allow me to be comfortable while still feel put together has always been the driving force behind my designs.
How did you come up with the name for your label?
To be completely honest I don’t really remember the process of naming my label other than wanting it to be sewing related. If I was to start my business over today I would probably pick a different name but I am still happy with Straight Stitch Designs.
We’d love to know the story behind your business. What inspired you to create and sell patterns? How did it all start?
As a stay at home mom of two young kids I felt like I really needed something in my life that wasn’t related to my kids, husband or home. I learned to sew from my mom while I was in high school and didn’t start sewing garments until about 6 years ago. After testing for a few other designers I started to realize how much I enjoyed the process and wondered if it was something I could do myself. So on a whim I purchased the PDF pattern course from Pattern Workshop and within 4 months I released my first sewing pattern. Over the years I have realized that this is something I enjoy and am so thankful that I took a chance on it.
Looking ahead, where would you like your business to be in five years time?
My business is always changing. I am constantly trying new things to see what fits and what doesn’t. I have developed a love of teaching sewing over the last 6 months and I would love to find a way to incorporate that even more into my business. If I was to plan out my dream business in the next 5 years it would be to have a space in the country with a large barn that would be my sewing studio with space for guests so I can host sewing and maker retreats. Getting together and sewing with other makers is one of my most favourite things to do. So while I will continue to create sewing patterns I want to also share the love the sewing with other people in an environment where we can relax, settle in and create community for the time we are together.
Where do you do all your work? May we have a sneak peek at your workspace?
Until recently I used the 3rd bedroom in our house as my sewing studio, but since my husband also works from home we decided to switch things up a bit and he moved into that room. So right now I sew in our upstairs nook and cut either downstairs on the kitchen table or in the living room. It was amazing to have a separate studio to work in but I am not letting the lack of space deter me from making it work. Over the years I have considered getting a space outside my home to work, but always come back to the fact that I would rather spend that money on my business and not on a space. I know at some point I will outgrow this arrangement but for now I am just thankful I get to spread out and work in all the little corners of our house.
What is your favorite part of releasing a new design?
Putting something out to the world that I have invested so much time in. With every pattern I am spending countless hours getting the fit just right and making the instructions and line drawings easy to follow along. When you have finally arrived at the final pattern and you can release it to the world it feels invigorating, and honestly scary at the same time. But also, with each new pattern I release I am amazed that I taught myself from books how to do this and I am good at what I do.
Thinking of your gorgeous designs, what is your favorite of all your designs so far, and why?
I think about this all the time and my favourite changes from season to season. There are the patterns that were my favourite to draft like Magnuson and Leschi, the patterns that I wear the most like Montlake and Laurelhurst, but the one I love to wear is the Phinney Ridge cardi. This pattern looks great in so many fabrics and can be styled year round. But what is funny is that this is not one of my best sellers, I think a classic cardigan is not something people get behind until they actually sew it. I like to think this pattern is exactly what everyone needs in their wardrobe but it just takes a little longer for people to come around to the idea of a really great wardrobe staple.
Who or what inspires you, either with your designs or with your business (or both)?
Fellow makers and pattern designers inspire me the most. In a world that is so full of competition and comparison I find my inspiration in the other ladies hustling their businesses like me. In fact I just got off Skype with a fellow pattern designer who wanted input on the fit of a new pattern. Working together inspires me to move my business forward and lift other women makers with me.
Do you have any new patterns in the works? Any hints you can give us?
I always have about 5 designs in various stages either in my brain or on my computer. But what I am focusing on heavily right now is an expansion for my Magnuson vest into a hooded zippered jacket. This is something that my testers downright begged for so I am hoping to have it released by the beginning of November. Then I am going to look at what is the one piece of clothing my winter wardrobe needs. Still not sure what that is but I will be scouring RTW websites and Pinterest to see what inspires me.