Bag Brag Tuesday Linking Party - Week Twenty Three!
Zippit Shut - Zipper Series. Part 1-The History of the Zipper!

Pattern Designer Interview - Melissa Mortenson

Some people's creativity simply blows me away! You know....the type of person that seems to be great at EVERYTHING they do....crafts, sewing, pattern making, decorating....blogging, you name it! (WHERE was I when all these talents were being handed out? I must have been hiding somewhere waaaayyy out the back of Burke!).....

Anyway......My next interviewee may not have a lot to say BUT she sure has a lot to show! Melissa Mortenson's blog, Polkadot Chair, is one you do NOT want to miss! You can spend HOURS there....(Which I DID ....BUT don't tell anyone...I was supposed to be working! LOLLL) BUT before you choof off to take a peek .....stay here and READ the interview! (Hence I am NOT giving you the link until the END of the interview! Sneaky, aren't I? LOLL) 

Over to you Melissa:

Melissa Mortenson
When did you start designing patterns?

Back when I started blogging in 2008

What led you to this path?

I started making handbags to solve problems for myself (i.e. I needed a beach bag) then noticed that others might like to make the same bag. So I spent some time learning InDesign and I was off!

What training do you have or are you self taught?

All self taught, I was a Biology major in college!

Large Hexagon Quilt Tutorial by Melissa Mortenson
You can check out Melissa's Quilt tutorial!

Describe your process of designing a pattern?

First I made a sketch, I've usually got a very specific idea in my head. Then I make it up to see if it works, see what needs to be changed etc.  Then I make it again this time noting specific measurements so that I can write it up into a pattern.

What do you find the hardest part about designing a pattern and bringing it to the public?

The photography. Without a great photo your pattern won't resonate with others. I think it's very hard to photograph handbags, I'm still working on this aspect, it's my biggest challenge.

Which one of your patterns is your favourite and why?

The July Bag, because it's a great shape that looks good in both burlap and fancy upholstery fabric.

the July Bag- A PDF Bag sewing pattern by Melissa Mortenson
Another version of the July Bag by Melissa Mortenson
How would you describe your design style? Anything unique about your patterns?

First as "problem solvers" that's how all of my handbags start out… The June bag started as a bag to take to Disneyworld with me that would be light weight but big enough to stash what I need for the day.

The June Bag - A PDF Bag sewing pattern by Melissa Mortenson
When you are not working on your own designs, do you like to sew other things? What and for whom?

I have to confess that I don't usually sew from patterns anymore, mostly out of laziness… it seems easier to just draft it out than read a pattern. When I do sew from patterns I love Oliver +S and Anna Maria Horner patterns.


Witches Hat Fascinator Tutorial
Melissa's Witches Hat Fascinator Tutorial

Which do you prefer, the design process or the actual sewing and why?


The design process. There is something magical about seeing something you had in your head come to life.


Sunday Bag - A Bag PDF sewing pattern by Melissa Mortenson
The Sunday Bag

Is there something you have learnt as a designer that you would like to share with other designers or newbie designers?


Stand by your work.  Not everyone will construct things the same way you do, but that's part of what makes you unique. Embrace that.


Ruler Wreath
Check out this awesome ruler wreath tutorial!

When do you work on your designs?

I just finished a book to come out in 2014, so that has taken up most of my creative efforts for most of this year. I'm just now moving onto new pattern designs. I work on them inbetween blogging and sewing for fun.


Paris Scrapbook
Melissa's Paris Scrapbook Tutorial!

Do you have a dedicated work area?


Yes, I've got a room in my basement.

Craft Room
There really IS a Polkadot Chair!



Melissa's Grandma's Sewing Machine!
Melissa's Grandma's Sewing Machine!

Do you have a favourite fabric type you prefer to work with?


Cotton, and Upholstery grade cotton.


iPad Case - A Free Tutorial by Melissa Mortenson
Melissa's iPad Case Tutorial

Favourite Fabric Designer?


Heather Bailey, I started sewing voraciously after I saw her Freshcuts Line.

What advice do you have for a beginner or someone interested in learning to sew? 

I would say, be patient, read all of the instructions and don't be afraid to email the designer with questions. Most will respond.  Also, you're never going to learn if you don't DO IT, just jump in and go.


Halloween Pillows
Halloween Pillows


You can also find out more about Melissa here:


be sure to visit Melissa's Blog!
Thank you was a lot of fun getting to know you better and yes, I admit I spent waaaay too much time surfing your blog! LOL

Next week I have another fun interview with a sewist who has a secret tip to share that I think is simply PERFECT! <GIGGLE> will have to WAIT until next week to find out what it is.....

Oh well.....I suppose it's time to get my now very FLAT backside off this chair and get back to my sewing! Actually....I think I forgot to have lunch......hmmmmmmm....

Happy Sewing!

 P.S. If you enjoyed this interview, please be sure to follow along with bloglovin so you don't miss any! :)

To see all the past Pattern Designer Interviews, please click here!