Alexandra, of IN-HOUSE Patterns, was enormously enthusiastic when I contacted her about Pattern Month, and was more than happy to answer a couple questions about how she works and what design element she is most proud of amongst other things. Alexandra is most generously offering an IN-HOUSE Pattern of your choice in our first give away! My particular favourite, the Belle Bow Blouse, is simply gorgeous. Sleeveless, with a drop shoulder and gathered front yoke and featuring stitched pleats this pattern has a bow tied collar or rolled shirt collar option, as well as the option to make from a sheer fabric. This beautiful top would suit anyone, and just as soon as I have time I shall be making one up… but more on that later!
IN-House Patterns are a Vintage and high fashion inspired dressmaking Pattern company based in Canada. Designing patterns which are sleek and super stylish, Alexandra has an impressive background as a pattern maker, designer and fit technician for several apparel companies however; her desire to tackle her own personal fitting issues has lead her to develop In House.
Like many of us, Alexandra has been sewing since she was a child, and her desire to fit an average hourglass figure with a full bust shines through, and it is one of the many reasons I have come to admire and respect independent Pattern companies- they cater for us! What sets In House Patterns apart however; is that they have been developed to create a completely professional looking finished garment.
In order to achieve this professional finish, Alexandra says that In-House Patterns are not quite the same as many other home sewing patterns! They are developed using industrial construction techniques however; these have been adapted for regular home sewing equipment. As someone who teaches sewing, I wholly approve of this approach, as I strongly believe in pushing oneself to achieve the very best garment possible. Using a combination of industrial, historical and home sewing techniques in both my working life and in my classes has helped produce good looking garments quickly, creatively and with a good finish.
I do hope you find the following interesting, and more importantly informative! I especially found the books Alexandra has recommended very interesting as I have not come across one of them! It is even now at the top of my Christmas List!
As a professional Pattern Cutter, are there any tools, or equipment you would recommend?
I couldn’t live without my computer. I do all my Patterns on the computer using Pattern Making Software and Adobe Illustrator. If you are Pattern Making by hand, use Professional tools. They are expensive but well worth the price, were designed specifically for Pattern Cutting and will streamline Pattern Development.
What has been the best piece of Pattern Cutting advice you have come across?
Maintain a 90 degree angle at intersecting seam lines. This is a super simple notion, but makes all the difference in the fit and hang of a finished garment. Some books don’t mention or demonstrate this well and I think it is one of the most important techniques for great patterns.
Are there any Books you would recommend to aid Pattern Cutting?
I love all pattern making books! I have a very large collection which I reference on a regular basis. My favourite book for Block development is Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich. For general Pattern Making with lots of content I use Pattern Making for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong. Overall I’ve found that no one book can teach you everything and no matter what book/method/class you go to you will need to do the manual labour of tweaking and perfecting your patterns. Your greatest teachers are experimentation and experience.
Of the patterns you have designed, which stands out as something you are proud of?
I made a strapless dress with an inner corset bodice which turned out beautifully. I loved that the inner corset supported the entire dress while the exterior looked effortless.
There are so many new, interesting and exciting Pattern Companies beginning to emerge at the moment, which has you excited to start stitching one of their designs up?
Thread Theory Designs, which are Menswear Patterns designed by Morgan who was a student of mine in the very first Pattern Making Class I taught. She’s a fellow Victorian, and has been developing her line over the past year and she’s an absolutely lovely person.
Thanks to Alexandra for being the first Interview for Pattern Month! Read more from Alexandra on her blog, and she has some sage advice on developing Pattern Blocks here. Pattern Cutting Software is something I have been meaning to investigate, having been trained in just the very basics at Uni. As quite a few of our interviewees have spoken of their love of CAD I am tasking Fella with assisting me! Do also look up Thread Theory Designs, their Parkland Wardrobe Builder Package is awesome, I especially love the cardigan. It’s completely unique and wonderful to see trendy, unusual patterns for men.
As I mentioned Alexandra is rather kindly giving away an IN-HOUSE Pattern of your choice. All you have to do to be entered in to the competition is comment below either about what Alexandra had to say, or with your own answers to any of the questions! Simple! The competition will run until midnight GMT next Friday.
Next week, as well as the second Pattern Making tutorial all about making up a toile, another Pattern related Notions and a great Wordless Wednesday, we have Pattern Making Musings from Sarai of Colette, and a rather special give away!