15 Jun 2012 1 Comment
Today we’re having a chat with one of my favourite bloggers at the moment, Jen from Grainline Studio. Apart from being her awesome self, Jen works as a pattern maker and has her own clothing line called Hound.
You’ll like this interview because she is so modest and real. I’ve asked for her advice for beginner pattern makers and she has some interesting things to say. She also recommends a few books and places (in Chicago) where you could start taking pattern making lessons. We’ve also talked a bit about her bright and cheerful Spring Hound.
Sky Turtle: Who is Jen and what does she do?
Jen: I am Jen, I live in Chicago with my boyfriend Luke and two pets Sister the pug and Roamy the cat. For work I run my clothing line, hound, work as a patternmaker for a Chicago designer and occasionally sell downloadable sewing patterns on my blog Grainline.
Besides sewing related things I’m into riding my bikes, drinking loads of tea, knitting and hanging out at my family’s cabin where my top 2 activities are boating and making lists of new animals I see.
You’re a pattern maker, did you learn patternmaking by yourself or did you study it formally?
I did study formally and have a BFA in Fashion Design. I already had a BFA with an emphasis in photography that involved a lot of creative training so when I went back to school for fashion I focused on the technical skills, patternmaking, grading, CAD, technical illustration, spec sheets, etc. The stuff that people love to hate but actually it’s pretty fun.
What’s your advice for an intermediate sewist who’s trying to learn how to make sewing patterns? Should (s)he take a course, buy a particular book or just study existing garments and make notes?
I would say that if you want to get into making patterns professionally you really would benefit from a degree program or some sort of intensive technical training. If you’re looking to start making patterns for yourself you wouldn’t need to necessarily go that route and a lot of it depends on how you learn best. I know that a lot of community colleges offer patternmaking classes (if you’re in the Chicagoland area College of DuPage is great) and those are usually pretty affordable and a good way to meet other likeminded people. I find it fun to learn in a group with someone who really knows what’s going on at the helm who can answer your questions.
If you prefer to work alone or can’t find a class nearby it seems like there have been a few home patternmaking books published lately that seem like they would be a good intro into the basics before you look into heavier books, though I have to admit I haven’t actually used any of them. The books I used most often in school are Armstrong’s Patternmaking for Fashion Design, and Designing Apparel Through the Flat Pattern by Kopp, Rolfo, Zelin and Gross. There are literally a gagillion books out there though and they’re pretty fun to collect. As far as making notes on existing garments, I think that works better for studying construction techniques. While you could easily trace off an existing garment to make a pattern, if you want to really learn about patternmaking techniques that isn’t really going to give you the information you need.
I would like to know more about your new Hound collection, the lines are clean and elegant like all Hound designs but there’s an explosion of patterns and color. What inspired you? How long did it take, from idea to garment collection?
Personally I’m really really really into patterns and color, I think it just took a few seasons for me to build up the confidence that I wasn’t the only one who wants these things and just go for it! I took a lot of this collection’s inspiration from images of arial views of beaches with the bright colorful beach umbrellas dotting the shore line as well as the super intense colors of the sun, sky and sunsets in the summer. Many other things too, of course but those are the main ones.
I have a tumblr where I collect images I come across that inspire me for possible collection inspiration. I start thinking about the next collection and sketching as soon as the last one wraps but the intensive work (patterns, fitting, samples, print design, fabric sourcing, etc.) started on this collection around late February when I sold out the last collection and everything was completed for the shoot on April 28th.
Do you wear Hound? I mean, is Hound inspired in the clothes you make for yourself or is it the other way around?
I do wear Hound! I would say that neither really finds their inspiration in the other. For hound I design what I’m feeling and what I think people will want to wear inspired by whatever sorts of things I’m looking at and am interested in at that time. For myself I design what I know I want to wear or what I know I could use in my closet at the moment.
Think she’s awesome? Tweet her a hello @grainlinestudio[all the photos are taken from Jen's blog]