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Interview with Melissa from Bella Sunshine Designs

Melissa-Prendergast-Bellasunshine Designs Today I’m so excited to introduce you to Melissa from Bella Sunshine Designs.

She learned to sew at the age of 9 and by 13, she had decided she wanted to one day be a designer. What started off as a childhood dream, quickly evolved into a thriving business. Bella Sunshine Designs has been providing well-fitting, vintage inspired sewing patterns for women and children since 2015.

Melissa contributed the super sweet Josephine Dress to One Thimble Issue 15 and it was such a blast to work with her on this issue!

Tell me a little about your business and how you got into designing/sewing.

My parents owned their own business when I was a child, and when school let out for summer, they let me stay at my grandmother’s during the daytime for the summer. My grandmother is a super talented artist (fun fact: she was commissioned by the President of the US when she was a young woman). She always had some sort of fun project for us to do together. The summer I turned 9, she taught me to sew. My great aunt was a professional dressmaker and taught my grandmother. She, in turn, taught me. That summer on, I knew I wanted to work in fashion design. Here’s a photo of me in the very first me made outfit.

What/where/who inspires you?

So many things. If you are talking design, I love old time, vintage classics! If you are talking business, anyone that has the courage to go out on their own and make it happen. I try my best to surround myself with super positive, successful people. I think that’s one of the best ways to remain successful yourself.

What’s your best tip for people getting started with sewing?

Don’t let fear hold you back. Sew that thing that you are afraid may be beyond your skillset. The only way we ever grow and learn is to push ourselves forward. And in the day of the internet, the answer to your problem is only one YouTube video or Facebook group convo away!

What’s your favourite pattern/ thing you have sewn?

Right now, I am all about the Amelia. I made a matching set for my girls and I, and it is complete love! I have had this design in my head for two years now, and I’m so glad to have finally released it.


What you are working on now?

What am I NOT working on right now? I have a bit of designer ADHD combined with being a severe workaholic (7 days a week, 12 hour days). Right now, we are working on a pair of tulip shorts that our testers have been begging us for along with a matching top that has a beautiful flare to it! On top of that, we are in the process of expanding our past women’s patterns further into plus sizes as well as converting some of our super popular children’s patterns into a ladies version. Lastly, I am launching another business geared towards helping other creatives with their business. I’m super excited to launch that later this summer.

What’s something people might not know about you?

I have always been business minded. I started at 9 selling homemade items in my parents shop. Later as a teen, I had my own jewelry line. As a young adult, I owned a professional photography studio that specialized in weddings and portraits for about 6 years. As you can imagine, my skills with a camera have come in handy when photographing things for BSD. It doesn’t hurt that I manage to get cute photos of my kids, too!

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