Today’s interview is with the beautiful and very talented Adrianna—the owner and designer behind Hey June Handmade. She has three young daughters who were the inspiration for her to start sewing, co-writing a blog, and eventually venture into selling her own patterns. At Sprout we carry the Biscyane Blouse, the Aurora Tee, the Lane Raglan and the oh-so-awesome Sloan Leggings and Paneled Sloan Leggings. She also has many more patterns on her site that you should definitely take a gander at. We love Adriana and are so happy she’s part of the Sprout Patterns Family!
1. What led you to wanting to start designing your own patterns?
I think my original impetus was the fact that I was already making patterns for my own kids, and since I had three I only had to fill in a couple sizes to make a fully graded pattern. From day one when I started sewing I was always much more interested in the technical aspects of it and the patterns than the design/decorative side of things. I’m very left-brained and enjoy math and technical software, so this was a perfect fit.
This is why I love my customers and the sewing community, because I’ll make the most simple pattern and call it a day and then they will take it and make it into a creative art piece with their fabric pairings and decorative features like applique, stencil, iron-ons, trim, and pattern hacking. My brain doesn’t do that kind of thing naturally!
2. From your first inspiration for a new pattern to release how long does the process typically take?
That depends. My first pattern took 8 months because I was also teaching myself the software and I had a newborn. Lately it’s about 2 months. I could probably bring that down a little bit but I’m pretty anal about my patterns and I like to have a longer test period to really hash out the issues and allow for redrafts. Also I illustrate all my directions so that takes several days.
I hope to be able to produce patterns slightly quicker or at least with more regularity, but you’ll never see me push them out in a week or two. Once you see the testing call for a new pattern, you can be assured that I’ve been working on it behind the scenes for at least 6 weeks.
3. Have you ever started creating a new pattern then just completely abandoned it?
Yes, absolutely. I have two even sitting on my cutting table right now. There have been many various reasons. One time another designer released an identical pattern at the same time (that was a very bitter pill to swallow as I was almost completely finished and planned to release that week. I morphed that design and it became the Edelweiss, which I love, so it’s ok. I won’t do that again though because I think there’s plenty of room on the market for similar designs!). I’ve quit work on two patterns because I’m too slow and the seasons changed, but I’ll probably revisit those. I also stopped working on one because I didn’t think the style or fit were very universal – it would’ve only fit a fairly specific body shape.
4. How would one get into learning how to draft patterns?
I bought some pattern drafting books and some textbooks (the ones by Aldrich are decent and available on Amazon) and read them cover to cover several times. I also spent hours on the internet researching before I even began. I wasn’t actively working toward being a pattern designer at the time, but now I see that all of that research and trial and error made it much easier to naturally morph into this line of work. Pattern drafting was always fascinating to me, so even if I wasn’t sewing anything at the time, I’d get on the computer and think, hm, I wonder how you would even make a collar like that! Then I’d look it up and I’d compare it with my drafting books to figure it out.
Eventually, the math and physics behind drafting starts to make sense and you can predict what needs to be done to draft a garment or solve a fit issue. I recommend something very simple to start with, like making your own perfect tee shirt pattern. There are virtual classes for drafting on websites like Craftsy that you can take, and several local quilt shops also offer classes in beginning drafting.
5. There seems to be a saturation of sewing bloggers (and really talented ones), pattern makers, fabric sellers, etc. How would someone enter the “sewing world” and differentiate? What is the sewing community lacking that it doesn’t have now?
Oooh that’s a good and very tough question. I don’t know if I can speak very much to the differentiation bit – I think you just need to let your true self shine through in your blog posts/designs. People (me included) really like transparency and feeling like they’re seeing the real person behind the brand. In terms of just getting started, I would do all the obvious things – join individual pattern designers’ groups and make their stuff and post like crazy in the group. Post finished projects from patterns on your blog and then blow up social media with links. Start doing hacks or tutorials for altering the patterns and then you can eventually approach bigger bloggers or designers to do guest posts or be a part of blog tours. In terms of what the sewing community is lacking…geez. that’s tough. If you find it, you’ll probably have success!
Allie is doing something amazing with IndieSew and providing a one stop shop for really quality indie sewing patterns for women. Before she did that, there were other reseller sites, but nothing quite the same. If there’s something in particular that really interests you, delve deep into that niche. A few that come to mind from the past that started out as fun ideas and turned into big events or even their own websites are Kids Clothes Week, Sew Geeky, Spring Top Week, Sew the Show, and Film Petit.