Meet...Diane of Blue Dot Patterns! Diane is a wife and mom in Southern California. She started Blue Dot Patterns in 2014 out of her love for sewing and also from her experience as a sewing teacher when she realized her students were frustrated with commercial patterns. Her vision is to inspire sewists through modern design and well-crafted patterns.
Why do you sew?
I can't help it. But really, there's something a little bit magical about taking a fold of fabric and turning it into "something". I'm not one to sew for sewing sake, so making something that's beautiful or even better useful is very important for me.
When did you started to sew? And what was your first make?
I was about 8 years old and I proudly made eyeglass cases for my parents.
When did you start to draft patterns? How was the learning process?
I took pattern making classes at two local design schools and that's given me a good foundation for my pattern line. Although I learned industry techniques, I gear my patterns and write instructions for the sewist.
How is your creative/design process?
I have to say my sewing students and my daughter are great design inspirations but when it gets down to it, I design pieces I want to wear. A pattern needs to fit well and be flattering, comfortable and enjoyable to make. Initially, I start by sketching, drafting the pattern by hand and making it up several times. When I'm happy with the finished product I digitize it in Illustrator and make it a few times more. I write detailed instructions and drawings in InDesign (this is my sweet spot since I'm a sewing teacher and I see on a daily basis the struggles new sewists have with instructions). When complete, the pattern goes out to my amazing team of testers (all skill levels and sizes), is finalized and then released! The entire process can take about 3 months.
How/where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
My next pattern is geared for the beginner/beginner (which getting a newbie excited about sewing is my fave) but also is a great wardrobe builder for anyone. I'd like to release a mini wardrobe pattern collection complete with a bag. I also want to support and interact with my customers more by expanding my website to include more tutorials, sew-alongs and photo sharing.
What sewing machine do you own? Is it the machine of your dreams?
I sew on a Janome 6600. It's not top of the line but it's a workhorse and I love it. I have a 25 year old Juki serger that just keeps running (no lie, I've only had it serviced once, I'm so bad) and a very used embroidery machine someone gave me that's on it's last leg. I'd really love a new embroidery machine and a coverstitch.
What is your favorite make ever? Why?
Pick my favorite child? Hmmm... I have a few. A blue maxi dress made from a challis I bought at Mood in NYC that's nothing fancy but I feel pretty in it, cowboy flannel piped pajamas I made for my son when he was 3 or 4 and a black shantung two piece evening outfit I made from a Vogue pattern.
What is on in the background while you're sewing?
Of late, Spotify and MakerStyle podcast. But for sure I've played "You've Got Mail", "While You Were Sleeping" and "Pride and Prejudice" (all versions even the BBC) 20 plus times...each.
Which is(are) your favorite pattern(s)?
I have at least 5 Margo blouses in heavy wardrobe rotation right now so that's my favorite pattern at the moment.
Who's your sewing/blogging/style/fashion/designer/quilter hero(s)?
I love Anna Maria Horner fabrics, marvel at the prolific sewing from blogger Lori at Girls in the Garden and designer Tracy Reese. I also find I follow a lot of British sewing bloggers on Instagram.
What are your favorite sewing techniques?
Pressing and basting. The iron can smooth out a lot of mistakes and basting can keep you from making them.
What is your least favorite sewing technique/step?
Waistbands, ugh! I think by the time I'm putting on the waistband I'm anxious to finish my project and wear it.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Energetic, nurturing, positive.
3 Favorites - color, texture and fabric:
I love blue, soft fabrics and natural fibers. A beautiful cotton voile has been known to bring tears to my eyes.
3 things that make you happy:
- 1. Watching one of my sewing students get excited (obsessed) about sewing.
- 2. A dog hanging it's head out of the car window.
- 3. When my husband eats the trail mix but saves the M and M's for me.
3 random things about you:
- 1. I've run 18 half-marathons.
- 2. Love to eat Good and Plenty when I sew.
- 3. I'm a lefty.
Thank you, Diane!
Enjoy 15% off on Blue Dot Patterns during this week! Go check the whole pattern collection here.
Don't miss next week's interview!