Quilt Market: Serendipity Studio and Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed. The winner is #180 Cathy K!

One of the booths that I simply could not leave Quilt Market without seeing was the booth for Serendipity Studio. I actually walked up to the information booth and asked (I was incredibly unprepared this time around…I left my packet of booth numbers at home, in addition to my make-up, contact lenses…all sorts of stuff).

In the photo above is Kay Whitt, the designer of Serendipity Studio. She is wearing a dress made from one of her new sewing patterns, the Zoe Dress. That’s me in the rainbow bright dress; that’s the dress I made from a quilt I cut up, using the Serendipity Studio Monique Dress sewing pattern, my ever-present favorite pattern which I have made many, many times!

Artist Portfolio from ‘Artful Bags’ mini book, and ‘Lola Gypsy Bag’ sewing pattern

Kay and I are both bag ladies and clothes horses (I almost said we are a lot alike, but honestly she is light years ahead of me). She has so many gorgeous patterns to choose from. Now that I think about it, I think I’ve made more of her sewing patterns than anyone else’s. Not on purpose, my mind just wants to make what it wants to make. 🙂

I have no problem in recommending any of the Serendipity Studio sewing patterns to confident beginners…I feel like the illustrations and instructions are more than you’ll need to get you through sewing your project. Choose any project, and I’m pretty confident that you’ll have an enjoyable time sewing it up.

I got a little interview in with Kay about her sewing patterns, and here is what she had to say!

1. Your sewing patterns, especially the ones for clothing, always feature detailed instructions for making many different kinds of variations to the garment (i.e. using several different kinds of fabrics, adding ruffles or rouching, etc.). I don’t think I’ve come across any other pattern designer that does this on a regular basis with their patterns. As a pattern designer, why are the optional variations important to you?

This is a great question! I think the main reason that I add variations is because I love to see how many different looks I can derive from one set of pattern pieces once I know that I am past the technical “fitting phase” of design. I consider this my time to really explore the different aspects of the design itself, stretch my creative limits, and play around with different looks, fabrics, etc. I feel it is important to add variations for each design because everyone has different tastes and this provides the opportunity to find something about a design that resonates with them. I like for customers to feel like they are getting a lot when they purchase one of my patterns.

2. I love that your sample dresses always feature quilting cottons. I have noticed that there is a divide in fabric choices, as far as garment pattern designers are concerned. Do you think there is a difference in construction, quality, or wearability from using fashion fabrics compared to quilting cottons when making an article of clothing?

It is interesting that you would ask this. There are people who think that cottons are not suited for clothing, but I just have not found this to be true. Yes, working with cotton is different from working with fashion fabrics from the standpoint of drape and weight, but I don’t feel that there is any difference in construction. There are things that have to be taken into consideration when working with cottons, as I find that adding a hemband to the lower edge of a skirt or sleeve adds a bit of weight to the garment, thus helping it to have better drape.

Having said that, I personally do not recommend quilting weight cotton for a jacket. I think the weight is not substantial enough. I prefer a heavier weight fabric for those types of garments and usually turn to a twill or sateen if I want to use cotton. Otherwise, I venture into wool or other fabrics with more weight.

In general, cottons are so easy to work with and they are very obedient! They stay put during construction and press so well. Plus, in today’s market, there are just so many beautiful prints to choose from! It is hard not to be drawn to them. I have had people ask about wrinkling during wear. Well, cotton is a natural fiber and like linen, it will wrinkle during wear. I have found that when I wear dresses or skirts that wearing a simple half slip with them really keeps the wrinkling to a minimum, prevents any clinging to leggings or tights, and is an extra boost for the drape also. I have even had some customers line their skirts or dresses with a polyester fabric to build in their own slips. This is a great idea, but I am usually too lazy to do it….so I just wear a separate slip!

3. In regards to your sewing patterns, do you feel like they are, in general, for a certain level of seamstress (i.e. beginner, intermediate, or advanced)? Or do you think that anyone can make an item from following your pattern instructions?

Well, my patterns are at different degrees of difficulty. I would say that there are definitely designs that a beginner could easily make, such as the Claire Cami Dress, Diane Kimono Dress, or my Fashion Formula designs since those do not have any sort of closure. Once zippers are in the mix, that means that there are more facings involved, which adds extra construction steps and makes a design more complicated. This is not to say that an experienced beginner could not make them, but these types of designs do take more time and skill. Jacket designs are probably the most advanced patterns I design, simply because they have more pieces and some have a lining, which takes considerably more time and skill to construct. As far as bags go, I offer many that cover all sorts of skill levels. As a general rule, the more details a design has, the more time and skill it will take to make it.

4. How do you arrive at a certain design for a sewing pattern, and what is your design process like in a nutshell?

Most of the time, an idea for a design will pop into my head spontaneously. This is usually a composite result of seeing a variety of things, whether it is online, in a magazine, on television, etc. My brain sort of “stews” these around in my subconscious and then presents itself. Usually this occurs in the middle of the night!
From there, I do a simple sketch with some ideas for how the design can be changed around for variations, then it is on to drafting the first set of pattern pieces with my design software. At this point in my design work, I have built a library of different pattern pieces. I think about the design and what sort of pieces I can build from that I have used before. There is always a lot of changing things around until I get the design just where I want it. This is a back and forth process from drafting to sewing and back again until the pieces are working together as I desire, then the fun begins with fabric play and making the variations.

5. What is your favorite thing about being a sewing pattern designer?

I love everything about being a pattern designer! It has spoiled me to be able to make my own designs and I find it hard to follow a ready made pattern anymore. There is just so much freedom in being able to think of a design and then make it a reality. I really love that part of it the most.

Looovee that bird bag in the center…that is the new ‘Madison Wallet Bag’ sewing pattern!

I picked up the new Madison Wallet Bag sewing pattern while I was at Quilt Market, and I’m really excited to make it! I think it’s a versatile style that really allows you to play with your fabrics!

Maria Mexican Folk Dress from the ‘Fashion Formula Dresses’ booklet…check out that hand embroidery!

Didn’t I say there were so many bags to choose from?? 🙂

I was lucky enough to be able to sew a dress that was in Melody Miller‘s booth at Market using one of her new fabrics. I used the Serendipity Studio Zoe Dress pattern to make it. I just love the wide pleats on this one! It worked really great with Melody’s decor-weight fabric! Here’s me wearing the dress before I sent it off:

And now how about a giveaway?!? Kay Whitt has generously offered a prize pack of all of her new sewing patterns to one lucky reader! Please click the link below to take you to the entry page! You have until Tuesday, November 13th at 7pm CT to enter! Good luck!

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