giveaway week on KCW!
winter

pattern workshop + giveaway

Welcome to giveaway week. This week is full of so many wonderful things! I’m excited to introduced you to new shops and visit old favorites as well. And of course there will be fantastic prizes to win everyday!  We’re going to kick off the week with an interview with Lauren Dahl, a teacher, a sewer, a blogger, a designer, a self described computer nerd and so much more! Lauren’s story is fascinating and unexpected! I hope you enjoy it.

interview with lauren dahl on KCW

  • When did you learn to sew and who taught you? 

I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember. My grandmother was a seamstress for 45 years at Alabama Textiles (Ala-Tex) in Andalusia, Alabama. She flat-felled side seams on men’s shirts in an assembly line. She had a machine at home and first taught me to make nightgowns out of old pillowcases and leftover shirting she kept in a big suitcase. We also made a lot of doll clothes. My mother is the one who taught me how to sew from a pattern, and the first one I ever sewed was a rather unattractive apron dress! By the time I was in middle school home ec, I had my own machine at school and helped the teacher with the class.

  • When did you first start designing your own patterns? Do you remember what the first pattern you made was?

I guess you could say I’ve always been designing my own patterns. I remember this absolutely HID-E-OUS shirt I made in about 8th grade out of this blue and white faux fur. It didn’t have set-in sleeves or anything – just cap sleeves. It was so tight, I could barely get it on, and it had no closures. I wore that thing proudly though (with a pair of bell bottoms, no less)! I also remember the first time I designed a shirt for my mom. It had no darts or space at all for the bust, and I learned quickly that women’s garments had a little more to them than two squares sewn together. 😉

  • How did you make the jump from making your own patterns to teaching other how to make them? Was there anyone specific who influenced you?
To be completely honest with you, it kind of went the other direction. I don’t consider myself to be a pattern drafter. I much prefer using patterns that have been tested and fiddled with by someone else. I developed my course based on skills I’d picked up in college and in my career (in advertising/graphic design/marketing), but people doubted my ability to teach since I didn’t have my own line of patterns. That’s really why I released patterns in the first place; it wasn’t the end goal. Yes, I can make patterns, but what I really love is teaching others to create them digitally. My expertise is in Illustrator and InDesign, not figuring out how to move a dart or deal with a sway back. Those are things I’m interested in learning more about though. Will I release more patterns? Perhaps…at some point. But right now, I’m perfectly happy sewing all my students’/friends’ beautiful designs!
interview with lauren dahl on KCW
  • So your class, Pattern Workshop, teaches people how to take patterns they’ve already made and manipulated them on the computer?
Yes and no. I teach students to develop their patterns in a variety of ways. Some students will already have perfected their patterns on paper, and they simply need to digitize them. Others will have slopers (basic pattern templates) they’ve created on paper, and they want to modify them digitally on the screen. And then there are some who will dive right into digital drafting without ever touching a French curve or piece of tracing paper. Pattern Workshop teaches all the necessary skills and processes to do any combination of these three methods of pattern design.
  • Can you describe the people who take your class? What are their goals? 
It’s SO varied. Some design for kids, some for adults…some are men, some are women. Some design doll clothes, and some do handbags and accessories. There are even those who simply want to be able to digitally design patterns for themselves – not necessarily for sale. We have a few well-known designers in the course, and then there are those who are just thinking about getting into the business of selling. And I’d guess the ages range from early 20s to about 70. One of the things I really stress about my course is that it’s all about giving students tools they can adapt and use for their own patterns and learning goals. I always stress that students figure out what works for them and the type of patterns they design.
interview with lauren dahl on KCW
from top to bottom: 1. Kimberly from Straight Stitch Designs 2. Jennifer from Jennuine Designs 3. Terri from Sew Straight Pattern Co.
  • What do they go on to do with the skills you’ve given them?
I’ve been amazed at what my students have done in this first year! I have several students who have released multiple patterns in just a few short months. I can’t possibly name them all, but off the top of my head, I’m thinking of Jennifer from JennuineDesign, Kimberly from Straight Stitch Designs and Terri from Sew Straight Pattern Co. There are truly dozens more, but those are a few that pop into my head. Of course, there are also well-established designers who join my class simply to speed up and streamline their processes.
  • What would you tell someone who is thinking about getting into pattern drafting?
This is going to be cliche, but all I can really say is, “Just do it!” You might think it will take too long, but five years from now, you can either have  a line of patterns, or you can still be wishing you had one. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll get there. (Or, you’ll determine you don’t like it, and you’ll move on to something else!) I’d also say that it won’t’ happen overnight. It takes practice, marketing and making connections. The most successful designers I know are the ones who reach out to the community and have a “tribe” rallying behind them.
  • Would you say selling your own patterns is a good business to go into?
A lot of people ask me – “Can I actually make a decent amount of money at selling patterns?” So here’s my answer: YES. But of course, there are caveats. You will not make a lot of money with only one pattern. And you will probably not make a lot of money with your first couple patterns. But once you’ve established a decent-sized collection, the income will keep growing. Every time you release a pattern, your sales will increase across the board (because of the exposure). It takes time, but it’s very possible. I do have friends and students who are supporting their families with their pattern income. And the best part? Once you have a store full of patterns, the income is semi-passive. Yes, there will be marketing and customer service to deal with, but you’ll have less stress and be able to focus on the fun stuff (family, more designs, etc.) once you’ve established that income stream.
interview with lauren dahl on KCW
  • What has teaching a pattern drafting course taught you about sewing? drafting? business? life? pick one or all 😉
Wow, what a big question. It’s taught me that there’s a market for most anything; it’s just a matter of finding it and loving it! And that sometimes you have to go with your gut and do what you think is right regardless of what others might say. It’s also taught me that I truly love teaching and entrepreneurship, and those are my strengths.
  • You are also teaching a Fabric Design course on Burda Style! Could you tell us a bit about it?
Yes! So, again, not a designer…computer nerd here! The course focuses on using Illustrator and Photoshop to create designs – not on design theory, color theory, etc. It’s more for the person who has a head full of ideas but no idea (or only sort of an idea) how to get them into repeat and prepare them for on-demand printing OR submitting to a fabric manufacturer. I go through everything from simple lessons in Illustrator and Photoshop to including a template for a proposal students can send to manufacturers for consideration. You can learn more and/or sign up at BurdaStyle Academy.
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After reading this, you can’t help but want to chase your dreams of being a pattern designer. Now is your chance! Lauren has generously offered to giveaway a spot in her Pattern Workshop course, Creating PDF Patterns: from Sketch to Sale, (a $149 value!) to one lucky winner. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter by Monday Feb 2. This giveaway is open to international entries, void where prohibited by law. Winner will receive a spot in the ecourse Creating PDF Patterns: from Sketch to Sale.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Or if you’d rather sign up for the course right away, use the discount code KCWWINTER15 for $10 off the course. It expires Saturday, February 28 at 11:59pm PST. If you win the giveaway, but have already signed up for the course, your money will be refunded. 

Good Luck and Happy KCW!

Don’t forget to enter all the giveaways this giveaway week: Pattern Workshop, Scientific Seamstress and Sis Boom PatternsWhipstichCrafterhours, Figgy’s

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75 Comments

  • Reply jennifer January 26, 2015 at 8:30 am

    yes!! I do want to design my own patterns! But I don’t know how to get from the sketch to computer to varying sizes…this is what I need. I have one crochet pattern for sale. It was a lot of work. 

  • Reply Sara January 26, 2015 at 8:42 am

    I already design patterns, but I’ve been hoping to take Lauren’s class. I think that her technical skills can really help me speed up my workflow. 

  • Reply Brooke January 26, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I would be interested for my own family, but the idea of drafting a pattern for sale is a bit too much for me!

  • Reply Maartje January 26, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Great give away! Would love to try a course like this.

  • Reply Rita January 26, 2015 at 8:54 am

    This would be better than wining the lotery! I would love to be able to make my own patterns… 

  • Reply Mel January 26, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I’ve thought about it but I’ve been too nervous to try!

  • Reply inspinration January 26, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Who wouldn’t want to win this class! I know I would love to.

  • Reply Erin Ellis January 26, 2015 at 9:16 am

    YES!  I love to design patterns, and I am super excited about this giveaway.  Thanks for the chance!

  • Reply dora January 26, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I have designed some of my own patterns, but after a point I had difficulty figuring out how to progress. I have always wanted to take Lauren’s class, but so far it has not worked out. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway!

  • Reply jeanine January 26, 2015 at 9:41 am

    would love to have this course and learn how to do patterns!

  • Reply Karly January 26, 2015 at 9:41 am

    It’s a great class! 

  • Reply Lindsay January 26, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I have created several patterns, but I would really like to digitize them and start to sell them as well. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Reply Candice Ayala January 26, 2015 at 10:18 am

    OMG! I was just researching workshops for this very same thing!!! I just want to dive right in. This is absolutely wonderful! 

  • Reply Dana N January 26, 2015 at 10:19 am

    I have and I do make my own simple patterns!

  • Reply Melissa Q. January 26, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Love this! I’ve been drooling over this workshop for so long! 

  • Reply carrie January 26, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I have made two (quilt) patterns, and I have plans for a few more. I’d love to improve my Photoshop and Illustrator skills!

  • Reply Jess January 26, 2015 at 11:00 am

    i have never thought too much of it, but i really enjoy sewing and would love to explore it as a way to work from home!

  • Reply Lauren January 26, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Thanks so much for the interview! xoxo

  • Reply kristin January 26, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I’d love to take Lauren’s class!  I have a pattern I’d love to grade, perfect, and offer for sale, but am a bit stuck.  Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Reply fenna January 26, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    yes! I have designed some small items but clothing has intimidated me…

  • Reply Emma January 26, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Would LOVE to take this course! Looks fantastic! 

  • Reply kristi January 26, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Love to see how Lauren has created her niche in sewing blog land. 

  • Reply crystal January 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    I’ve always wanted to draft my own pattern, just never seem to have the time to devote to it.

  • Reply Sonya January 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    What a fabulous giveaway! I have been contemplating patternmaking, and this might give me an extra kick in that direction.  

  • Reply Teri January 26, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    It was great to read Lauren’s story. I’d love to win her class!

  • Reply auschick January 26, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I’d love to be able to draft my own patterns. I took a course once but it was years ago and I didn’t have a chance to really put the course to good use afterwards.

  • Reply Constanca January 26, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    So interesting to eras this interview with Lauren. I’ve been wanting to sign up for her workshop for a while now and it’s great to learn a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes. I too have quite a few ideas for a line of patterns but I lack the technical knowledge. I’d love to win a place!

  • Reply Caroline January 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I Walter to be a fashion designer when I was younger 🙂 Maybe here’s the chance.

  • Reply Elsa January 26, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Oh yes I wish I knew how to draft them digitally (rather than having paper pieces everywhere and always having to re-draft them from scratch because I lost them…!)

  • Reply mjb January 26, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    It seems like a good revenue stream!

  • Reply Boevenbende January 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Would love to take this class. Thanks for the chance!

  • Reply Molly January 26, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I would love to design my own patterns.

  • Reply KLujan January 26, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Yes!  I think it would amazing to make my own patterns.

  • Reply Ula January 26, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    When I was a kid I used to design clothes for my toys, and I’m always drawing outfits I’d like to sew…it would be fun to expand on that and make patterns 🙂

  • Reply Judith January 26, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Absolutely. I love to sew, and it would be nice to be able to make patterns that aren’t just for myself. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Reply Amanda January 26, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I’m not sure if I’m creative enough to design my own patterns, but I’d certainly love to try!!

  • Reply Jennifer L January 26, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve always wanted to learn how to design my own patterns.

  • Reply Alissa January 26, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    I don’t want to design my own patterns. But I love using indie pattern designers!

  • Reply elena January 26, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    it would be awesome to be able to translate an idea into a pattern that works! understanding the construction and how to adjust things would make it easier for me to get started. 

  • Reply Domenica January 26, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I’ve been wanting to purchase this course for a while now. I’m buying it now so winning this competition will just be an added bonus. Thank you!

  • Reply Danielle Hittle January 26, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    I really want to make children’s patterns but am also getting quite into making patterns for myself :   )

  • Reply Marah Scott January 26, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    Oh my gosh I so want to take this course! I feel like it has been on my super big want list forever!

    • Reply Marah Scott January 26, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      Aagh toddler helping type isn’t really helpful. I have sketches and some things I have drafted off of basic slopers for my 3 year old son and my 2 year old daughter. I have been sewing for both since they were born. I would really love to expand my knowledge and even more so into the digital realm 🙂

  • Reply Carla G January 26, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Yes I would love to design patterns!  I’ve always wondered how to do it.  🙂

  • Reply Terri January 26, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Wonderful Interview!!! As a student – this course has been priceless to me! It has brought me from knowing almost nothing to opening my own little company. I can’t rave enough!!!

  • Reply Annie McGee January 27, 2015 at 2:38 am

    How awesome! Would love to learn how to get my designs into pdf format. 🙂

  • Reply Candice January 27, 2015 at 2:39 am

    I have been eyeing this course for a while now 🙂 I tend to ‘hack’ patterns when I can’t find just what I;m looking for for my children or myself, but I’d love the skills to be able to begin drafting from scratch! Fingers crossed x

  • Reply Linda Rose January 27, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Yes! I can’t wait to get started drafting, designing, and selling!

  • Reply Mikaela January 27, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Yes, I want to design my own patterns! I’ve done some pattern modifications, but I need someone to tell me systematically go about designing my own pattern.

  • Reply Roxanne January 27, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Yes! Ever since I was a little girl. 😉

  • Reply Isabel A. January 27, 2015 at 9:30 am

    I would love to do it!

  • Reply Amanda deSerres January 27, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Oh my! I wanna win this. I wanna win this more than I’ve ever wanted to win anything ever. It would be awesome! oh please, please pick me!!! 

  • Reply Bethany @ Sew-Not-Perfect January 27, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I don’t know that I have enough creativity to design my own patterns.  I’m always amazed that designers can come up with so many patterns!

    • Reply Bethany @ Sew-Not-Perfect January 27, 2015 at 11:16 am

      The comment was supposed to say – “for large scale or sale – but I’d love to know how to design properly for myself and children” 🙂

  • Reply Nena Fisher January 27, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Fingers Crossed cuz this sounds amazing!

  • Reply Leah January 27, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    This would be a great skill to have.  I could see having my girls take this course as a part of their education.

  • Reply trijnewijn January 27, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    it would be great to be able to create my own patterns. My children doesn’t always fit in regular patterns since they inherited the broader-than-normal chest from my husband. I never fit in regular patterns because I’m 1884cm (6’1/2″)tall and my waist and hips are 2 sizes apart, so I’ll just repeat my first statement: it would be greate to be able to create my very own patterns!

    • Reply trijnewijn January 27, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      whoops, 184cm is tall enough… 

  • Reply Corinnea January 27, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    I’ve been looking at this course. I think it would be such a valuable skill to have. 

  • Reply Kayla January 27, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    I would love to learn how to design patterns!  The whole process is so interesting to me. 

  • Reply Claire January 28, 2015 at 2:38 am

    I’d love to learn to digitalise my patterns 

  • Reply Natalie from Sewoutnumbered January 28, 2015 at 5:55 am

    I’ve tried digitising my own patterns in the poor man’s version of illustrator but found the process so frustrating I gave up.  I definitely need Lauren’s help!!

  • Reply Virginia January 28, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Yes – I would love to draft patterns to fit perfectly! With a wide back, measurements for bust just don’t stack up the same.

  • Reply Cherie January 28, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I would like to learn how to design my own patterns. Not for selling but for personal use.

  • Reply Angela H. January 29, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Yes!!!! I’ve been interested in this class for a while now. I make patterns for me and my kids. I’m pretty clueless on how to digitize them. 

  • Reply Teresa January 29, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Ooh I’d love to take Lauren’s class. I have seen two of her patterns and they are so good and so professional. I’d love to learn to grade and digitize a pattern I’ve been working on. 

  • Reply Albumine January 29, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    oh yes, but I have no idea how to start… definitely I NEED YOUR COURSE 😉

  • Reply Sabine January 30, 2015 at 9:37 am

    I am so very interested in this! At the moment, I am drafting all my patterns on paper, which is not very handy (tiny understatement…) if you want to do any grading… Crossing my fingers…. and if I don’t win, I am seriously consideing buying the package!

  • Reply Mary January 30, 2015 at 9:42 am

    I have thought about it, but it seems like you would need a lot of persistence!

  • Reply Melissa January 30, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Yes, mostly for myself because I always have ideas in my mind, but also to be able to offer free patterns for designs I really love on my blog. 

  • Reply TrinaB January 31, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Wow! Designing my own patterns has always been in the ‘too hard’ basket – but how fabulous to be able to create the patterns you really want to sew!

  • Reply Dawn L January 31, 2015 at 11:28 am

    I am so excited to learn of this course! OH! How I want it!!!

  • Reply Katherine January 31, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I’ve always loved the idea of being able to draught my own patterns but I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. Fantastic competition! 

  • Reply laura January 31, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I feel inspired

  • Reply Danielle January 31, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Yes! But it looks so intimidating

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