I have had a wonderful chance at getting to know another indie designer; this time with Alison from Lorelei Jayne.
Alison has been sewing for a several years, blogging alongside at the same time. As her skill progressed and she showcased her wonderful creations, she found more and more people wanted to be able to sew her designs. Thus she created her brand, Lorelei Jayne.
For our readers who haven’t yet heard of you yet, can you tell us about yourself?
I’m a 30-year-old working mum with 2 kids and a husband and a huge passion for sewing (I’m obsessed). I also love blogging, business and being busy!
I have been sewing full on for the last 5 years and blogging about it for just as long, from my journey of earning to turning it into a handmade business and now to designing. I am love designing patterns that are great for beginners and advanced beginners.
My name is Alison not Lorelei Jayne. That’s my brand. But some of my close friends call me Lorelei now as a joke.
What is your location?
I’m in Perth, Western Australia.
How long have you been sewing? How did you get interested in sewing?
I did some sewing in high school as well as sewing and craft project with mum as a kid, but really got interested just over 5 years ago when my first son was born. I really wanted a new bag and saw some online and wanted to give it a go. I got a free sewing machine from a local freecycle group and went to work! I have made things almost daily since!
What was your best sewing-related experience? What was your worst experience?
My best sewing experience was sewing my 5 tops in 5 weeks, choosing the fabrics and patterns and trying new techniques. I really learnt a lot and got a lot of new clothes for my wardrobe! Win win!
My first experience with a zip was terrible. I gave up for a month. Then I tried again and watched a lot of YouTube videos in that month. I was almost resigning myself to work with Velcro and snaps forever! But now if something doesn’t work out I try again almost straight away!
Who inspires you?
Fabric designers and other bag designers. Seeing a fabric can really inspire an amazing bag design. I love modern Fabrics and they can be hard to cut into unless I feel like I have the perfect pattern for them!
Other bag designers inspire me to come up with new techniques and step out of my comfort zone!
What fashion style do you personally identify with?
I definitely dress for comfort and love casual but creative. I change my handbags and purses often and love bright colours and florals and that’s how I bring in the most creative elements of my outfits.
As more indie designers sell on-line, how do you keep an edge?
By being myself and giving a lot of detail in my pattern instructions. I also use modern and bright fabrics in my pattern photos.
How long have you been drafting patterns, both for yourself and for sale?
5 years for myself, pretty much from the first day I started sewing I started making patterns. For sale only in the last year.
What made you decide to release your very first sewing pattern? Was there a specific ah-ha moment?
I released my first free pattern about 2-3 years ago and I just thought it was cute and others might like it. When it got pinned a lot and I started seeing others making it I thought ohhh it worked, like not just for me. I felt like I could write instructions and made sense as much as created something that others could make too.
What made you decide to start your own business/brand? Did it coincide with your first sewing pattern, come earlier or later?
It came after releasing free patterns; I decided I wanted to monetize my blog and have a way to pay for my fabric. Also it was this little daydream I had. You know the ones you have, what if I win lotto kind of day-dream, I thought why wait, just do it! Life’s too short to wonder what if.
How long (on average) do you spend creating a pattern for sale? From initial idea to when it’s available for sale.
My shortest was 1 week and longest 2 months. Designing is usually the fastest part, I create a few prototypes, take photos and write-up the tester pattern. Testing taking 1 – 2 weeks.
Is pattern drafting a full-time career ? Do you have another occupation?
Pattern designing and the business is my part-time passion and I work in administration full-time.
What was the hardest part about setting up a business/brand and working for yourself?
Not becoming distracted and staying focused. I remind myself of my goals and where I’m at in my journey to keep myself on track. Also I had to get use to not always having feedback on how you’re going and just trusting my gut instinct on what’s right for the business.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about running your own sewing business/brand? What’s the worst experience?
Being my own boss in my business is amazing and learning new things every day. I’ve also made great friends. The worst has been negativity and people stealing or breaching copyright which is not nice to deal with.
Some designers have a cause that has motivated them to design or support. For example making sexy lingerie for women who have mastectomies. Do you have a special motivation?
I love that all sewists can really enjoy making a great bag and that there is a bag pattern out there to suit everyone’s skill level and need!
Do you think formal qualifications (university degree) are needed/necessary for drafting and selling patterns? Do you have a formal qualification? Either sewing related or not.
I don’t have formal qualifications, I have done courses in specific computer programs to assist in the process. I’m a self-taught for the most part and believe it’s not necessary to always have a formal qualification. I think that having a passion and creative life assist me in continuing to learn constantly.
Do you design patterns for different levels of sewing experience and skills?
I design bags for entry-level to intermediate. I like creating quick sew with interesting design elements the most because that’s what I like sewing.
Would you encourage other’s to draft patterns for sale? Why or why not?
Yes! I think it’s a great thing to do if you have interest from others wanting to sew your pattern. Share your pattern with the world. It’s fun.
What advice would you give to someone interested in being a fashion designer?
Write down your vision. It’s important to know what you want and why you want it. Plan, plan and plan some more. Choose your testers wisely. Learn from your mistakes quickly and trust your instinct.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to sew their own clothes?
Don’t be afraid to give it a go with your sewing machine. You don’t need a serger. Make muslins. Touch all the fabric and enjoy yourself.
If you could tell your customers anything, what would it be?
Thank you for buying my patterns and showing off your creations it making me very happy!
What plans do you have for the future?
I’m planning a lot more patterns and blog posts. I also will be challenging myself with new skills and pattern reviews.
Where can you be found online? What are your social media accounts and website? Are you interested in meeting up with other designers?
I can be found on social media with “loreleijayne” and at my blog LoreleiJayne.com.
I would love to meet up with designers!
I love how Alison enjoys trying new techniques and is regularly learning new skills. She uses bright colors to bring joy into her life.
Her blog is well worth checking out as she includes examples of her finished bags that she, and others, have sewn. She also includes some freebie downloads that are great for bloggers who want to try to schedule their days/weeks. * How did she know I desperately need to do that?! *