This week, as promised, we have another fabulous Pattern Designer Interview! Today I have great pleasure in introducing you to Gail Seymour!
Just wait until you see Gail's awesome office/sewing space! Oh I hope mine will be so well organised when I finally get my space to myself! Mind you, I wonder if it is always as tidy as it is in the photos?....one thing is for sure, mine won't be! LOLL Oh and Gail has an impressive range of gadget cover patterns as you are about to discover as well......Over to you Gail! :)
When did you start designing patterns?
I have been sewing for interiors for about 20 years. In 2008 when the economy tanked, I suddenly found myself with some extra time on my hands. I was given a Nook for Mother’s day and fell in love with it. What I didn’t love were the covers available. They were expensive and very generic, so I made one…or two…or three.
As a fan of Etsy, I thought that if I loved my eReader covers, others might too so I made up a dozen or so from scraps I had left from interior design projects. I posted them and sold a few, but they werent the barn burners I had hoped for. To try and figure out what I might do to sell more, I started searching the competition on Etsy. As I searched, I discovered that many folks were designing pattern instructions to sew your own projects. Not only were they offering them, they were selling them in some pretty impressive quantities, so I decided this was something I wanted to try!
Armed with my nice camera and some bright fabric, I made the same cover I had been producing and photographed every step of the way. Reviewing the photos, I wrote up instructions, converted the information into PDF and placed the pattern up for sale. I then began to design variations on the original cover and offer those for sale.
Immediately, the patterns did well. I promised myself that when my Etsy shop sold enough I would buy an iPad and before long, just that happened. That got me started making covers for iPad and tablets. When I had designed all the variants I could think of, I surveyed my customers and found a demand for purse patterns, so that’s my current direction for new designs. I’m also exploring fabric design as a future offering.
What led you to this path?
The ability to provide a product that did not require inventory, shipping and upfront capitol outlay made the digital pattern a terrific business model.
What training do you have or are you self taught?
I have a BS in Fashion Merchandising and Design with a Marketing minor, and an MS in Clothing and Textiles. I have been sewing for interiors for the last 20 years and have attended numerous seminars and training courses in that field since graduation from College.
I collect photos of bags and purses I like as I see them in stores or online (can you say ‘pinterest’!). When I am ready to make a new pattern, I scan back through readymade items I like and modify them to suit a new design.
What do you find the hardest part about designing a pattern and bringing it to the public?
Getting started! Somehow (making the pattern from scratch) its that first step that is hard to take. Once I have, then I can hardly wait to finish and offer it to my clients.
Which one of your patterns is your favourite and why?
The Emma Pattern is by far the best seller. Its hard not to love your leading item! The design is very practical with the extra pocket and is my favourite personal case for iPad.
How would you describe your design style? Anything unique about your patterns?
I like to design patterns that the sewist will find easy to follow and very well illustrated (photos…lots of photos). I try to keep steps simple and use a photo to show each and every one. A picture’s worth a thousand words! After years of using commercial patterns with black and white line drawings, there is nothing as nice as a full color photograph where you can really see what’s happening.
When you are not working on your own designs, do you like to sew other things? What and for whom?
I sew everything fabric for the home, bedding, draperies, pillows, slipcovers and cushions. I design for homeowners and sew for other Interior Designers too.
Which do you prefer, the design process or the actual sewing and why?
The design process. Sewing is fun, but the creative process is what keeps me engaged. I find myself thinking about how I’m going solve a design dilemma at all hours of the day (and sometimes) night!
Is there something you have learnt as a designer that you would like to share with other designers or newbie designers?
The design is only half the process, you must be a good marketer and provide excellent customer service to really grow. Great feedback is everything!
When do you work on your designs?
When don’t I work on my designs! Lol
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to turn an extra bedroom into a dedicated sewing space and office. I have 4 sewing machines all out and ready to use, a great cutting table, fabric racks and built-in cabinets all around the room. BEST money I ever spent!
Do you have a favourite fabric type you prefer to work with?
I love all fabrics, even the difficult to handle fabrics are usually worth it for the end result!What advice do you have for a beginner or someone interested in learning to sew bags?
Get your sewing machine tuned up and in good working order! The most frustrating part of sewing in my opinion is when you are stalled out because your thread is looping, or breaking, or your machine just won’t cooperate.
Interested in trying out a PDF Pattern or checking out a Gaila Designs Pattern? I have 2 free patterns for either an iPad stand or eReader stand to sew. It’s a great way to see what Gaila Designs patterns are like before buying!
You can grab yourself a copy here!
Grab your copy of the eReader Stand here!
Next week we have another Sewist Interview....What can I say about this sewist? Well....she is always up to something and has a fabulous sense of humour too! I am sure you will have fun geting to know this lady a little better........ ;)
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