welcome To The One Thimble Blog
Today we’re chatting to Suzanne from Winter Wear Designs.
Suzanne studied costume design in college, but first learned to sew from her mom. She designs clothes that her active kids can play in, that make them feel special, and that are finished in ways that will keep them comfortable. She also designs for women, because as a curvy gal, shopping in stores can be frustrating.
Tell me a little about your business and how you got into designing/sewing.
My business is Winter Wear Designs, and I make clothing patterns for girls, boys, and women. I started sewing when I was a kid, my mom taught me. But I really developed an eye for design and an understanding of garment and pattern construction in college where I was a theatre major and studied Costume Design. I never ‘planned’ to be a pattern designer. I just kind of fell into it, or was forced into it by Robin Hill (HA!). My kids created the need – they NEEDED clothes and were going through them fast, and the budget at home was tight. So I started sewing for them, and then I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I’d just create it… and then people liked what I created, and the rest, is history.
What/where/who inspires you?
My kids inspire me the most – seeing what they love, seeing how they play, seeing their eyes light up when I make them something that could only come from me. I am also heavily inspired by the runway – no one designer in particular, but the idea of taking a fashion trend and transcribing it to everyday wear. Most of my inspiration for kids designs come from adult fashion. For women’s stuff, I am truly most inspired by my customers. I try to listen to their cries for help as they can’t find current trends that correctly fit their body, because that is me – it sint’ that I don’t love clothes that stores sell!! I just either can’t afford them or they don’t ever come close to fitting me right. And everyone deserves clothes that make them feel amazing!
What’s your best tip for people getting started with sewing?
Just go for it!!! if you can drive a car, you can sew with a sewing machine. When you take the fear of messing up out of the equation, nothing in the sewing world is really that hard. Now, with that being said – maybe don’t dive into a full scale mermaid fit couture gown on your first go. Find some inexpensive fabric (or ask people you know if they have any fabric your could have – I’ve gotten tons from friends and family) and start with a pattern that is marked beginner or advanced beginner. Go into it knowing that it is practice, give yourself space and time to learn. Take the pressures of perfection and deadlines off the table and just have fun.
What’s your favourite pattern/ thing you have sewn?
Oh this is tough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know…..hmmmmmm……all of them!?!??! No, I can narrow it down. For me, I love my Magnolia and Amuse Boho patterns – they make me feel so good and they are easy to whip up and I feel like they are patterns that are encouraging more women to sew for themselves, which makes me do a happy dance! But I can’t overlook my Real Deal Jeans and Provence Pea Coat patterns – these are not quick sews, HA, but they are patterns that give you such a sense of accomplishment when done – they are flattering and classic and exactly what I always want my women’s brand to be about. Now for kids, the Cozumel is my favorite for boys – all those details, and who doesn’t want to eat up a boy in an adorable collared shirt? And for girls – the Phresh Blazer. I have other patterns I sew way more often for Mack, but that pattern was my launching off point for WWD and I am so proud of it.
What you are working on now?
My next OneThimble pattern…. am I allowed to tell???? Well, I’ll keep it a surprise but give a hint – it is for boys, and eeeek – you are going to love it! I also have 2 more women’s patterns in the works, one for knits and one for apparel wovens.
Tell me about studying costume design at college.
So I designed Costumes in college – I actually worked as a teaching assistant in the costume shop to help pay my way through school and got to design one main stage show per year my Sophomore through Senior years. In the shop we did everything from period corsets and panniers to modern street wear. Whatever the designer asked for, we were responsible to create. I worked with every material under the sun and quickly discovered that you can make anything if you get creative enough. I also got a lot of hands on training for alterations and working under a deadline. I loved the variety of sewing, but I really loved Design…. working with the director, taking inspiration from the text and mood boards, and then seeing a sketch come to life in fabric; so many hands and ideas came together to make it possible and I love and miss that group dynamic.
What’s something people might not know about you?
I love to sing, like LOVE LOVE LOVE to sing…. don not put a radio on near me unless you are ok with me singing along. I have to be careful about playing music while I am working in my sewing area because I will get lost in singing along and not hear my kids if they need me – which is no bueno when you have three cherub children who are prone to mischief.