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Now that Project Run and Play is over, I finally get back to some old projects as for example to introduce the designers that I’m working with. I’m starting today with Melly from Melly Sews and Blank Slate Patterns. Melly is simply incredible. She has so many ideas, works always on many projects at a time and her blog is an amazing source for free patterns and tutorials. I just counted: She has 386 tutorials and free patterns. Just unbelievable, right? And they cover everything: patterns for girls, boys, baby, women, men, bags and pillows, sewing tipps and techniques etc. Just have a look around. It’s great.
- Who are you? Tell us a little bit about your life, your family, where you live etc.!
I’m a former high school theatre turned designer/writer. My family and I live in Austin, Texas, which is one of my favorite places on earth. In addition to sewing I love to knit, ride horses, read and spin yarn.
- When did you learn to sew? How much do you sew? Are you still having fun sewing or is it just another thing on your to do list?
I don’t remember learning to sew, my mom says I was 3 when she taught me. I just remember always sewing, and I still love it 30+ years later.
- If you had to choose just one, which one is the garment that you are most proud of?
No way I could ever choose. This dress however, is my favorite make in 2015.
- Where, how and why did you learn pattern drafting?
I first learned informally making costumes for theatrical productions when I was in high school and didn’t realize that using store bought patterns as a base to draft my own designs was like the process of drafting from a sloper. Later, in college, I learned how to take measurements to draft from scratch, and I got a lot of practice with that drafting while teaching my high school students costume design.
- Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! Usually a design will pop into my head because it’s something I want but can’t find anywhere, so I set out to make it.
- How does the whole pattern making process work and how long does it take from idea to finished pattern?
It depends on the design with whether I start by modifying one of my other patterns or draft from scratch. Depending on the design I may draft the first draft digitally or on paper – I tend to favor paper drafting when I want to do things like dart manipulation. Then I’ll sew muslins until I’m satisfied, then prototype the design. Just that part can take anywhere from a week to just one day if it’s something I want NOW. After I get to a prototype I’m happy with, it usually 2-3 days to digitally draft, grade and format the pattern for testing as well as write the instructions. Then testing takes about a week, after which I revise, and once in a while I’ll do a second test is something seemed particularly problematic, but usually after testing I just correct typos and make minor pattern tweaks.