Each week throughout the summer we’ll hear from a designer about a pattern or book that caused them to head in a new direction and helped form their career. This is the fourth post in the series. You can read all of them right here.
Susan Yates helps pattern designers prep PDF patterns for sale. She blogs about sewing and craft projects with her friend, Adrianna, at Crafterhours. Susan and Adrianna run a shop full of things that have emerged from the blogging adventure and she is most excitedly in the throes of launching a new shop for – kids clothing kits! A fresh take on them that will excite newbies and experienced sewists alike. More on that on the blog in September!
Today I’m very excited to share Susan’s story about the pattern that changed her life:
After years of using my sewing machine only to fill space in a crowded closet, I thought I’d sew for my first baby’s nursery in mid-2006. I took her with me, in utero, to look for fabric, expecting she’d kick when she sensed something perfect was nearby. Neither one of us kicked.
There was little that interested us – all we had at the time were chain store sources and I didn’t see the point in spending time sewing anything with fabric I hated. I think my one fabric DIY project for her was a set of memo boards that I didn’t even sew because duct tape on the back would do the job just fine. I embrace craft pragmatism.
Then about 5 years ago, 2009, I had a toddler and a new baby on the way. I met a new friend who’d later become my blog partner in crime and she’d pointed me toward Etsy for fabric. What an amazing new world of options!
While browsing and still in the state of overwhelm that comes with the introduction to Etsy, I found a shop that sold dress kits. That sounded so digestible to me. Everything I need in a tiny bag? Let’s try that! The shop was Little Fish Big Pond. It’s is inactive now but you can see the old listings here.
As per my usual I couldn’t choose one, so I chose two. When the kits arrived and I laid out the parts – that was my moment. It looked so simple. Because it was. All of the directions fit on one 8.5” x 11” piece of paper and they were handwritten and copied for the kits. For each dress there was a small spool of thread, two pieces of ribbon and four pieces of fabric all ready to go. I could focus on the actual sewing and know that all of the prep work was done and done correctly. No figuring out how much fabric and what matched and what size to trace and how to place it.
I sewed them up in less than an hour. In that moment I OWNED THE WORLD. It’s my touchstone when I talk to anyone who is new to sewing or crafting. I remember what a big leap that was and how helpful a little hand-holding can be.
That was the moment of confidence I needed to take several quick next steps, not unlike a toddler heady with the notion that they’ve made one step and can now run full-speed. I’ve made many piles of burn-worthy messes, but that leap. That leap was THE leap.
The Little Fish Big Pond girl’s dress kit was the pattern that changed Susan Yates’ life.
What is the pattern that changed yours?