Bag Brag Tuesday Linking Party - Week Nine!
Bag Brag Tuesday Linking Party - Week Ten!

Pattern Designer Interview - Samantha from Handmade by Mrs H.

Welcome to our new series of Pattern Designer and Sewist Interviews! Ohhh I think this is going to be so much FUN! Each Thursday I will bring you another Interview...... One week we will feature a Pattern Designer and the next week we will feature a Sewist!

This week we are kicking off the series with a Pattern Designer Interview. I would like to introduce to you Samantha Hussey of Sewing Patterns by Mrs H. I first came across Samantha when she contacted me back in January of this year and we started chatting about advertising....I soon came to realise she was a FUN, helpful and genuine person, happy to share any of her wisdom with you and we quickly became friends.....

Sewing Patterns by Mrs.H

So Samantha....When did you start designing patterns?
I started designing patterns around this time last year, July 2012, firstly because I was fed up of paying so much for patterns and secondly because it was a bright sunny day and I hadn't had enough sugar!
My second swiftly followed my first and then my third; but this year is proving a bit slower and I've only released one so far!
What training do you have or are you self taught?
I studied textiles for GCSE (age 16 exams) but since then didn't even sew at all until late 2010 when I started up again using sewing blogs to practice the skills that surely must have still been there? Somewhere? I used lots of clear tutorials and free sewing patterns until I was happy with a technique before moving on. I'm a bit...urm...particular so like to practice and practice something until it's as perfect as I can get it, especially top stitching!
Describe your process of designing a pattern?
I start with an awfully rough sketch then using scrap fabric start manipulating it until I get the shape I want. The Stella pleated bag was my toughest challenge yet trying to work out the pleats around the curve, trying to make a flat piece of fabric into the pleated, curved shape I wanted.
Once I'm happy I unpick the bag and draw the pattern pieces from my muslin pieces, cut out another muslin and make it up. I'll usually use that muslin for a couple of weeks to make sure that it's practical as a bag and then make any edits. Finally I write up the instructions and take photos as I make a final version. My first three patterns are made up of illustrations so I'd send the photos to my graphics dude who would change them into line illustrations, but my fourth pattern is photos and it's a lot easier from my point of view!
Then it's time to be brave and submit my pattern to my testers, a formidable bunch of seamstresses who have skills I could only dream to have! Once they've wrangled their way through my pattern, if there are significant edits I'll make another version with all of the edits to make sure that they make sense and the overal intergrity of the bag isn't changed. Then I spend a week asking my graphics dude to change the colour two shades lighter, then three shades darker, then possibly match it to something else on the cover and it's ready for release. Phew, I'm tired just thinking about it!
When you are not working on your own designs, do you like to sew other things? What and for whom?
I love to pattern test myself of other designers because I think it helps my own patterns. It helps me from becoming too long winded or brief, it helps me to think from the point of view of a sewist, and above all, I love sewing bags without having to design them myself!
Do you have a dedicated work area?
I'm very fortunate that my husband and I both work from home for our coding business so we can justify setting aside a studio. I call it the sewing studio, my husband, Dus, calls it the office. Our business only needs us to have a desk each so the rest is filled with my sewing junk items. We only moved into our house earlier this year so my blog is filled with our house updates where you'll be able to see our sewing studio office as it comes together.
Dus working away on our 'proper job'
What advice do you have for a beginner or someone interested in learning to sew bags?
Firstly, remember that if you can sew, you can sew anything you like. Sure you might need to learn some new skills, but sewing is sewing is sewing in my mind. Each part of sewing is made up of the same few stitches which can translate to any item. Check out some of the free tutorials and patterns that are out there on the web, and don't use your best fabric if you're trying a new skill for the first time.
Most importantly, take your time, make sure you have the right equipment (walking foot, right size needles, unpicker etc) and don't be afraid to ask for help.
Thank you for having me to visit Christine!

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Thank you Samantha! I was thrilled when you agreed to be my first Victim Interviewee! If you would like to see more of Samantha's antics....do check out her Blog!

I am always on the lookout for pattern designers to interview so if you would like to be interviewed, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me!

Next week we are going to interview one of my favourite all time sewists whose stitches are to die for!.......so be sure to tune in next Thursday and find out just whom that is! :)

Christine

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