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Pattern Designer Interview - Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake

Gosh......Is it really less than six weeks until Christmas?? Why is it that every year I am one of those ninnies running around at the last minute in a panic, trying to do my Christmas shopping or sewing until the wee hours of Christmas morning? Every year I tell myself I am going to do be organised early....Maybe this year I will be?? LOLLL....

Either way....I don't want to think about it....not yet anyway! LOLL Lets go straight to the interview instead, which is a MUCH better topic for the moment! This week we have some fun and cute things to show you and maybe even give you some ideas of what you can make for someone special.....(in the wee hours of Christmas morning?...Perhaps NOT! LOL)

Over to you Virginia:

When did you start designing patterns?

I made my first pattern, Max the Owl Pillow back in 2009

Max Owl by Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake
What led you to this path?

I made a bunch of the owl pillows and listed them in my shop.  I noticed that I had lots of lookers and I realized that maybe (like me!) some people were just looking for things to sew themselves.  So, I created the sewing pattern for Max and it was a success!

Lucky The Elephant - a PDF sewing pattern by Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake Patterns
What training do you have or are you self taught?

I am self-taught but my mom sewed and she showed me basics as a teenager.  Unfortunately, we don’t live close together so when I really got into sewing as an adult, she could only give me support on the phone!

Hobo Lunch Sak by Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake Patterns
Describe your process of designing a pattern?

First I sketch an idea and then make a bunch of trials.  When I finally get the one that is just right, I begin the writing process.  This can be lengthy since it involves a lot of photos and reworking steps so that they are as simple as possible.  Finally I have a few testers and then make my last improvements.  Then I list and promote my new pattern!

3 Layer Clutch - a Gingercake Patterns
What do you find the hardest part about designing a pattern and bringing it to the public?

Many ideas fizzle and that is frustrating.  The hardest part is getting the word out about your pattern.  Sometimes, something you think is going to be great, takes awhile to catch on and you can’t let yourself be discouraged.

Which one of your patterns is your favourite and why?

I love them all but my favorite to make is the Annie Penguin because it is fast and fun and it reminds me of my daughter Annie!

Annie Penguin Photo

How would you describe your design style?

My style is bright and cute and fresh.  I often find myself walking a line that can get too cutesy and I want to be more modern.  I find that if I am true to my own style, my work turns out great.  If I get too influenced by someone or something else, that is when one of my designs fizzles and never makes it all the way to a full PDF pattern.

Check out Virginia's Cute Gnome Tutorial!

When you are not working on your own designs, do you like to sew other things? What and for whom? 

I like to sew clothes for my kids but I hate printing out and taping together tons of pattern pieces so I stick to the basics.  I also like to make handbags for myself! 

Duffle Bag PDF Pattern by Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake Patterns
Which do you prefer, the design process or the actual sewing and why?

I like both but I am not a production sewer. Designing is something that is fun but computer work is a big part of the process.  It has to be a balance between the 2!

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

I would tell people to be true to themselves and their own style.  If you are interested in design, you already have a natural tendency to create.  I would say to let others inspire you but don’t sell your creative self short by copying or emulating someone else’s style.  Also, take your designing job seriously.  Give yourself a proper workspace AND a scheduled time to work.  You have to be boss and employee so no slacking off!

Crayon Art Folio - A Gingercake PDF Sewing Pattern
When do you work on your designs?

When I first started, I did my work during naptime.  But now I have in home help and I work during the day while the big kids are at school and the baby is with my babysitter.  I close the door to my sewing room and try hard to stay focused!

Do you have a dedicated work area?

Yes!  That is essential.

Virginia's Sewing Room
Do you have a favourite fabric type you prefer to work with?

Quilting cotton is easiest and since I design for beginners, I want to keep it simple.  I like to mix in some textures though so my patterns often call for corduroy, duck cloth and others that are similar to quilting cotton but give a varied feel.

Favourite Fabric Designer?

Ann Kelle!   Kelly Boyd is a great lady too.  We have worked together on several projects and she has beautiful, fun, high quality fabrics.

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

Pay attention to your kids and current trends in toys and home décor. One of my best selling patterns (and soon to be in print by Simplicity!) is an Art Caddy tote.  I noticed my kids dragging their art supplies all over the house and I realized that a sturdy tote would solve the problem of having to clean it up all the time.  

The Art Caddy Tote by Gingercake

Thank you Virginia, for sharing a little peek into your world! Such FUN! 

You can find out more about Virginia here:

Website * Blog * Store * Facebook * Pinterest * Twitter


Next week we have a fabulous sewist whose blog will keep you busy for HOURS with more tutorials then you can poke a stick at as well as sewing tips and recipes too so make sure you have a nice hot cuppa on hand before you start......

Until next week - happy sewing!