This week I wanted to share with you the process on how I my designs come into being – this is just the shortened summarized version (I don’t want to bore you too much), and I hope you enjoy this sneak peek into my processes.
I usually design my sewing patterns in one of two ways. I either A, am inspired by a photo or garment that I see online or in stores – I then design my own version, and recreate the pattern from there. Or B, I just come up with a design in my own head (according to a theme of sorts, usually from a mood board I’ve created), and then create the pattern from there.
This week I am working on a blouse design I found on Pinterest, that inspired me to create my own sewing pattern version – or in this case – two different versions.
Blouse picture from Pinterest
My own designs
As you can see, I’ve added a few different features, like the buttons on the shoulder line and the neck pleats moving to one side on the second design.
After I have decided on my design, I usually sit and stare at it for a few hours – it may appear that I am just day dreaming, but what I’m actually doing is looking at each and every part of the design, and each and every seam and section. In my mind I’m visualizing what the pattern pieces will look like, how I may have to alter or change each part to create various design effects – and how I should change each pattern piece to get the design effects that I’m looking for.
I usually make a good few notes during this process, and when I’m done, I sit down at my computer and start to digitally draw out and design those pattern pieces.
One of my digital designs
Once I have created the first pattern pieces, I print them out in one size and I cut and sew the garment, writing down and recording each step I take as I go along. Once I have done this I know the best processes to use to complete the garment, and I can see what changes I need to make to the pattern for it to work (if there are any). This process can usually go over a couple of days (sometimes a week or two) depending on how complicated the garment is, and I may even make a few samples to make sure I get the design right.
Once I have done all of this, I then grade the pattern. What this means is that I add in a few good sizes in the spectrum from extra small to triple extra large. Because I do this in CoralDraw, I quite literally carefully measure out each size and move each line and point accordingly (it’s at least another day’s worth of work).
After this is all done, I then type out the sewing instructions, and then re-create each step digitally. Digitally drawing each step (you will see some of my older patterns had photographs for each stage, but I found it was difficult to always photograph each step clearly, and the picture made the instructions file HUGE! Which is why I switched to creating digital renderings).
After a couple more days, when all of this is done, I then try to film the sewalong, as well as I photograph and edit the final version of the garment for packaging and marketing purposes.
After editing and final touches, I launch them all – preferably at the same time, but unfortunately sometimes I am short on time and they are launched separately.
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All of this takes days worth of work and effort, and I think that after a few years my skills have become vastly improved as I’m always trying to better myself and offer you better quality sewing patterns as I go along.
I hope you enjoyed this insightful peek into how I work
Nothing says “serious sewing project” quite like planning to sew your own capsule wardrobe. With the seasons changing once again, now is the perfect time to start planning such a wardrobe for the next few months to come.
So, what is a capsule wardrobe? Ideally it’s about 10 to 15 different clothing items that you can “mix and match” to create different looks and outfits for the season to come. This can go up to as many as 20 items, if you’re looking to include accessories, shoes, etc in the range.
If you’re not too sure where to start, here’s a sample wardrobe that I have put together for you to help you to be able to choose your own. And if you happen to love this wardrobe, you can purchase the entire collection as a set by CLICKING HERE.
To get started, you need a theme. I have chosen the theme “Athleisure” – this is a fun and sporty look that can cover casual as well as formal, and even professional wardrobes. It’s also very much “On Trend” for what’s happening in fashion right now.
Athleisure – well the word pretty much speaks for itself, it’s about taking a blend of athletic, leisure and formal wear and bringing it all together to create a “sporty yet professional” look.
After Ashley Olsen was snapped wearing a pencil skirt with a hoodie, it has become one of the most preferred Athleisure looks of the season, and one of the looks I definitely had to add into this capsule wardrobe.
I have decided to go with 10 different patterns that you use to get this look.
So here are the 10 patterns I’ve decided to use in my example, and below is an example of at least eleven different style combinations – though I’m pretty sure you can get a lot more...
I've put together a few combinations for you to inspire you on a brand new look. For your capsule wardrobe, choose similar fabrics with similar colors (this range is particularly suited to a variety of knit / jersey fabrics). We suggest going with a mix of one or two neutral colors, as well as colorful colors, but no more than one print (your single colors can be tied in to match colors within your print of choice), as this will allow you to bring the various pieces together.
I love to sew, and being a third generation seamstress, it’s in my genes. So it is no surprise that I studied fashion after school.
I also have this inner entrepreneurial drive, which is why I wanted to start my own sewing pattern business full time. That and I also love working from home, where I can surround myself with my family (of the two and four legged kind) – including our blind puppy that we adopted.
Our nine adopted fur “kids” are almost a full time job on their own, which I don’t mind. I am determined to live a life where I fill my space and time with things that I truly love, and that brings me joy.
Achilles our blind greyhound puppy
I’ve tried several approaches over the past few years to grow my business, after all I have a home to look after, bills to pay and hungry mouths to feed, but at times it feels as though I haven’t had much luck in making headway. And if it hasn’t been for the amazing love and support of my wife, I’m not sure if I would have made it this far.
During September you may have noticed that I went very quiet, and not a new sewing pattern was in sight (which is very unlike me). The truth is, I have designed an entire range that I have been working on launching, but when September came along, I just couldn’t anymore.
Over the past year, with extensive advertising, new product approaches, and new sewalongs, and working 12 hour days most days, I quite literally worked myself into exhaustion. I love creating sewing patterns for you, my followers (of which I currently have a couple thousand of). I put my heart and soul into my work, bringing you new designs and sew-alongs, but every month I make little more than a few dollars from my sewing patterns – which is disheartening – and well last month I was very disheartened to say the least, and I found that well, I just couldn’t.
I couldn’t get up and face my PC to design new patterns, or my fabric stash to dig out a forgotten treasure (a favorite past time) or to sit in front of my sewing machine to bring it all together. I think this is something we all go trough at times, especially when life tells us that something needs to change.
It’s now October, and I’ve done a lot of soul searching. For me the answer is always, the same, I love my work and quite honestly, I don’t want to give it up. Perhaps I had been acting “too big for my pants” trying to look bigger than I am (In truth this business is just me, little old me. And I do everything from design to creation, to being the camera woman, film editor, graphic designer... and of course the dreaded admin department).
So I came up with two conclusions – firstly I’m going to give my business a fresh look and have another “good go at it” in a manner of speaking, so you will see that all my branding will now change back to my brand name only, and my site will now be https://booleheart.myshopify.com (no extra frills) – I’m just going to be real, and myself, and nothing more. I’m stripping myself down to the bare bones if you will – and exposing my core to you
The second conclusion, well it’s more a solution really. I know you, my fans enjoy my work I’m always getting positive feedback, and my YouTube subscriptions are starting to take off – and I want to keep bringing you brand new patterns, bettering my skills and quality of my work as I do so. However, I can’t continue to do this for little to nothing, so my solution has been to do something that many other creative artists already do.
If you like my work and sewing patterns, and you wish to continue receiving them free every week in my newsletter, it would seem unfair of me to stop sharing them with you – but please feel free to help make my day better by “buying” me a cup of coffee (I love coffee).
How it works – you can scan the QR code in the image or click on the link to find out more about it, and by “buying me a cuppa” you are sending $5 dollars my way to help me to continue to do my work – and $2 from every “cuppa” does go into the HeartFund to assist animal rescue organisations that I support.
or follow the link: https://booleheart.myshopify.com/products/buy-me-a-cuppa-coffee
But the best part of it all, is that it allows me to continue to do the work that I so love to do.
So here’s to starting a fresh, better path together...
As a third generation seamstress, she has a lifetime of experience behind her. She also has a diploma in fashion, and has been creating designs of her own since 2003.
She works from home, getting up every morning to express her joy, passion and love for sewing through new designs (and looking after her nine rescue animals). Being able to share her work with the world, and bring the joy of sewing and creation to others is her greatest dream come true.
How Boo Le Heart Works
You can Support Boo Le Heart Patterns in one of three ways:
Subscribe to our Patreon Page – A monthly subscription to watch all of our sew-along videos, and you get the sewing patterns for FREE
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Books available on amazon.com
Here are the books written by Nathalie Marran, available for kindle or as a paperback through amazon.com
Make It Sew
The complete guide for dressmaker’s looking to start their own sew-from-home business. Click Here to view it now.
Coming Soon – Watch this space!
This book is designed to share with the novice sewist all the information they need to get started, and not feel so intimated by approaching the sewing machine for the first time! Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know as soon as it's released.
Recently a friend sent me a link for a video about Allan Brown, who harvests wild stinging nettle to create his own fabric. He makes it look incredibly easy, and I find myself wondering what other plants can be used (I’m based in South Africa so stinging nettles aren’t so common) and whether or not I have the courage to give it a try.
And isn’t it amazing, if we put our minds to it (and managed to find the time) we could really create custom garments from scratch, from the thread up... and can you imagine the money we could save from all that store-bought fabric hoarding – I have at least 15 crates... that’s right CRATES of fabric at any given time. – and of course this process can be used for creating balls of yarn for knitting and crochet projects too.
While looking more into the concept of using plants to create fabric, I came across something else that is completely wonderful – GROW YOUR OWN LEATHER IN YOUR KITCHEN! - Suzanne Lee has come up with a method where you can grow your own leather! It’s a wonderful, magical tea that ends in happiness. Here’s her TedTalk video so you can see more on the subject. https://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_lee_grow_your_own_clothes
And while a dream of finding the time to create all these wonderful things, I must admit for right now, it’s just a little easier for me to pop online or into the nearest fabric store, but perhaps there’s no time like the present to start a new fabric adventure...
We love fun fabrics... especially ones that helps us to get through the middle of the year! Here’s our current top 5 fun prints, that we felt that we just had to share with you too...
Winnie the Poo! We just LOVE this fabric and had to start off with this classic children’s favorite! CLICK HERE to view this fabric in our online store.
The Nightmare before Christmas, Jack Skellington inspired print! A HUGE LOVE LOVE LOVE from us here at NonStopCraft. CLICK HERE to view this fabric in our online store.
If you love skulls and that vintage inspired Pin-up look, why not have a look at this skull and roses fabric. CLICK HERE to view this fabric in our online store.
How much fun is this My Little Pony Inspired Fabric! CLICK HERE to view this fabric in our online store.
And last but not least... kitties and spooks! How incredibly adorable is this? And if you order it now, it’s sure to arrive just in time for Halloween! CLICK HERE to view this fabric in our online store.
We have to admit, one of our pattern designers is a pit of a Trekkie... and she has designed this incredibly cute doggie jacket which is going out FREE to all of our newsletter subscribers this Friday! If you’re not yet signed up, pop onto www.nonstopcraft.com to sign up today!
We LOVE this little handheld sewing machine... we use it mostly when appliquéing delicate laces to bridal and evening wear – it makes the process of appliqué so much easier. It is also great for small quick jobs, like hemming a pair of pants, or sewing a patch onto a garment.
Key-chain measuring tape – as a dressmaker on occasion we may be caught out without a measuring tape – from experience we know that this can be quite embarrassing, this key-chain can help to prevent those embarrassing moments
This sewing pattern was designed for winter fabrics, and is the perfect casual jacket to wear during the winter months. Sign up for our newsletter by Thursday 13 July to receive this pattern FREE on Friday 14 July 2017.