Spend 5 minutes with indie pattern maker Clare Bower

Although most of us already have an idea of how much work goes into creating a sewing pattern, I asked Clare from Clare's Craftroom if she would share just how much work DOES go into creating a paper sewing pattern.

Starting out as a decorative painting teacher, Clare shares how this led to pattern making.
Teaching my own designs was essential as teaching other artists designs just didn't seem the right thing to do. My students were always interested in what I was sewing and so I began making sewing patterns for them.  I was lucky enough to have quite a few designs published and had fantastic feedback from them that I just continued designing and loving it!

So Clare, how much work does go into creating sewing patterns?
Lots and lots.  I may just start with a very rough sketch and let it simmer or get so excited that I must start straight away.  Either way I start with the basic idea and make a roughie in cailco to see how everything sits, and if I like the shape and size.  I then draw any adjustments straight onto the calico and re-do my templates and stitch another in calico.  I can and have done this up to 10 times, taking notes as I go.
When I'm happier, I use some 'real'fabric to try out some colours.  At this stage I use my notes and measurements to start on the pattern writing.
A very basic pattern is written with all the measurements and I follow it exactly to make some shop samples. The pattern is written properly and offered to testers.
My testers are usually bloggers and I always ask for a mix with no softie making experience and some who do. When the pattern comes back from the testers, any adjustments are written into the instructions and the pattern is also ready.
The final design is photographed, the cover is designed and it all goes off to the printer.
From start to finish one design can take a fortnight or as long as six months.  I had my Hamper Camper sitting in my house in calico almost a year before it was finished.

You only do paper patterns, have you considered PDF?
My contact with buyers is mainly done online so the only personal interactiion I have with them is when I mail their patterns to them.  I love this opportunity to thank them with a bit of a personal touch with a little gifted included such as some ribbon or buttons and a hand written thank you.  I return I have received lovely letters and photos of their items made from my patterns, I wouldn't miss that for anything.

What have been the greatest challenges?
Finding a family/work balance has always been difficult for me.  I get very engrossed in my work and have burnt tea, left washing in the rain, forgotten to pick up the kids and sometimes have even forgotten that I have kids! Except for getting myself a maid, cook, driver and secretary, I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

Visit Clare's Craftroom : www.clarescraftroom.blogspot.com
Online blogshop where you can buy Clare's patterns : www.clarescraftroomshop.blogspot.com
Like Clare's facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Clares-Craftroom


clare's craftroom said...

Jodie what a great post! Thanks so much !

Anonymous said...

Great interview Jodie.