Don’t you love when you see someone from the sewing community make the scary step towards their dreams? I feel is so important to celebrate and support those achievements.
I had the pleasure to met Sally at the London Spring meet up (the first one I organised) and we have been sharing some cocktails ever since. oh And that is fitting!
I will have one too, please! Grab yours and I hope you enjoy the interview.
Hop: Can you tell me a little more about the design process?
CC: Inspiration for the designs usually comes from a combination of high fashion and what is being worn on the red carpet, and my own desire for a professional wardrobe. I think about what I’d like to wear and what gaps are in my wardrobe, as well as what kind of designs people will be able to customise to make their own style.
Once I come up with an idea, I make some sketches and start to think about how the pattern would go together. I usually draw out a paper pattern and make some toiles at this stage to get a feel for whether it would work or not.
I draft everything in a standard size on the computer. Pencil drawing and scanning is not fun, it’s time consuming and inaccurate, so I prefer to do it straight onto the computer where I can work to a fraction of a millimetre. Once it’s drafted, I’ll print it out and compare it to my toiles to check there were no mistakes.
Grading is another important step, and again this is done on the computer.
Probably the most time consuming part of developing a pattern is writing the instructions! After I’ve figured out the most efficient order of construction, I draw all the illustrations individually myself, which can take many hours. Writing the wording and proof reading it can be tough, too.
When the instructions are complete, I test the pattern myself and I also send it to testers in the blogging community for feedback to help iron out any final errors.
With the corrections made, we photograph the sample garments for the website. I like to do a combination of studio shots and on-location ‘fashion’ photography so this can take some time to complete.
Finally, the pattern is ready for launch, and the promotion and customer support of each design begins.
Hop: What is like being part of the sewing community designer industry?
CC: So far, it’s been very hard work, but also, great fun. There is a lot of innovation going on in independent pattern companies around the world, which I find very inspiring. Everyone has been very supportive of my venture; it’s a great industry to be in.
I have really loved seeing people’s finished garments made from my patterns as well. It’s mind-blowing to think that someone is wearing something designed by me. I still get a kick out of that and I’m sure that won’t wear off any time soon!
Hop:What’s your secret (or not-so secret) sewing bad habit?
CC: I have loads! I hardly ever change my sewing machine needle, unless I’m sewing something special like leather. I do leave edges unfinished, especially if they can’t be seen.
Probably my worst habit is the mess – I’m lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing space at home but it’s a constant battle with fabric scraps, thread ends and new additions to the stash threatening to take over.
Hop:What is next for Capital Chic?
CC: In the short term, I’ll be running a sewalong for the Bellini blouse over the summer, and continuing to discuss my first collection on my new blog there will be more about the inspiration behind the designs, pattern hacks and I’ll be studying some of the techniques in more detail.
Depending on the demand, I’m thinking about whether to expand the size range that the patterns come in. Currently the range is quite limited, and I’d like to be able to cater for a wider range of sizes in the future.
In the longer term, I’m planning to launch a second collection towards the end of the year. I’m hoping it will be a good mix of separates and dresses, and even some outerwear this time, so stay tuned!
Thank you Sally!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about Capital Chic. For the full collection you can check here. Check my version of the White Russian.
Disclaimer: I do not get paid for designer spotlight features.