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Interview with Kate from Pattern Emporium

One of the best bits of working on One Thimble has got to be working with inspirational women like Kate from Pattern Emporium.  Kate has been such a supportive role model to me and I was so so pleased that she agreed to make a pattern for the second Issue of One Thimble.  Today she’s taken the time to answer some of my questions about her design process. 


Kate has a Bachelor of Arts in
Fashion from RMIT and has been working in the fashion industry since 1989. She has extensive experience in all areas of design and pattern making as well as with her own indie labels.  Today Kate designs & sells her sewing patterns under the Pattern Emporium label, making her experience and skills accessible to home sewing enthusiasts.  Kate has patterns for infants, children & women available through her website

What’s the best bit about designing for your own business rather than working for another company as a designer?

My stress levels. Now that I have kids, working for myself with my own timetable, my own workspace, my own routine (or lack of one if I feel like it) & my own deadlines is just so much less stress on so many levels. It means I can be home when the kids get home from school and, let’s face it, teenagers need just as much supervision as our little ones. We feel very blessed that I can work from home.

Do you draw/paint/sketch or design directly on the computer?

I draw, sketch & design wherever & whenever the urge finds me. I have folders on my computer, tablet, phone & bookshelf for each style I have done or am thinking about doing. I have a notebook in each of my handbags just in case an idea hits while I’m out & sitting on my desk you’ll find the backs of envelopes covered in little ideas or new thoughts on how to sew something or explain something in a tutorial. I have an ideas collage board & design book & another book just for notes on each style as I write a tutorial. It sounds all over the place when I write it down but it’s pretty organised…. in a creative kind of way.

What/Who/Where inspires you?

I’m a visual person. Every single thing I see inspires me. Constantly. Anything new is exciting. I love change. I live for change & it inspires me. Love and happiness inspire me. If I’m happy, I’m inspired. After being a designer in Melbourne for many years, and all the stress that goes along with the industry, the job and the city, now that I live by the beach on the southern end of the Gold Coast, I’m actually where everyone goes to be inspired. That, in itself, is inspiring.

What’s your favourite item you’ve designed?
They all have their good points. It’s a job that I simply love to do and consider myself so fortunate to do what I love. When I was an underwear designer, I got to design some gorgeous ranges exclusively for Myer & David Jones. Given free reign like that by our MD was a wonderful experience.

Do your kids come to you with things they want you to make for them – party dresses, casual gear?

No. LOL. My kids are teenagers. They like me to buy them things. They do bring me their mending, which sits by my desk unfinished while I pretend it’s not there. But there have been moments when they have wanted to learn my skills that have blown my mind. A few years ago my 2nd youngest son, then about 12, was home alone for the school holidays and decided he wanted to sew something. I showed him how to straight stitch and he practised that for half an hour then decided to make a little cushion, quickly followed by a tiny teddy bear. The next day he came to me with a picture of a penguin and asked to make that. I helped a little with explaining how to do the pattern. He blew me away with the results. It was an exact replica of the picture he’d shown me.

Visit Kate’s website to find out more about her other patterns.  Kate also has patterns for the Harem pants in infants, child and adult sizes over at her website!
OR Purchase Issue 2 which contains this pattern

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