A few years ago I sold all my pattern samples. At that time my workspace was a table in the corner of our bedroom and with the piles of fabric, the ironing board, and the stuffing bin, it felt too crowded to have so many softies and dolls everywhere. When Craftland in Providence asked if I’d like to send some toys for them to sell during the holidays I happily sent them two giant boxes with 103 of my pattern samples.
Looking back, that was a mistake. I love Craftland and I’m grateful that they sold my work, but I should have kept my samples even if it meant boxing them up to store in the attic.
When I first started selling patterns in 2012 I couldn’t afford to pay anyone to help me. I created a simple pattern layout in Microsoft Word and took all of the beauty shots for the pattern covers myself. A lot has changed since then and I now have a thriving, profitable business. I want my patterns to look better so right now I’m about half way through updating them a with a new, professional layout that graphic designer Lindsie Bergevin made for me. I also would like to get professional photos for the covers, but alas my samples are gone. Darn.
As time allows, I’m sewing fresh samples for each pattern. In early January, after I turned in the manuscript and samples for the kit I was working on, I realized I had time to work on my own projects again so I’m back to sewing samples. Late last week I sat down to remake Jeremy Giraffe, but when I looked in the drawer, this was all that was left of the giraffe fleece:
Instead of ordering online and having to wait for new fabric I figured I just go to Joann’s, pick up a yard, and get started right away. When I got to Joann’s, though, they were all out of giraffe fleece. On a whim I bought a yard of cheetah fur instead (I have a hard time walking out of a fabric store empty-handed).
When I got home I searched Etsy for cheetah patterns and none came up so I decided to design a cheetah (poor Jeremy will have to wait). This was the first draft of the face, made with no sketch:
Sometimes I have to work out an initial idea in fabric in order to figure out what I really want to do. Sketching came next and in that process I realized a doll-like cheetah would be neat. And he could be easily tweaked to become a cat (or maybe a lion?):
So I made another head. From this one I realized that the print should run up and down. Otherwise, I like him:
Today I’m working on the sample for the cheetah. He’s a boy and will have a bow tie. The girl with maybe have skirt? And the bow will be on her head. There are so many different animals I could make this way and I love that they’re big and cuddly and can sit in a kid-size chair.
Sometimes the idea for a design comes first and I then I seek out the perfect fabric and other times, like this one, it’s the fabric that dictates the idea. Cheetah pattern coming soon.