I absolutely love hearing about new and unique pattern designers; it’s a great way to learn about all the new things I want to buy… Today we had the amazing opportunity to do an interview with Nicole Rusch from Liola Patterns.
Nicole has been blogging since 2013 on her website Liola Patterns, where she features and sells some of her gorgeous patterns.
For our readers who haven’t yet heard of you, can you tell us about yourself?
Hi, I am Nicole, the maker and created behind Liola Patterns. I am an Aussie and have been living in the Netherlands for the past 4 years with my Dutch husband and our daughter Luna.
What is your location?
How long have you been sewing? How did you get interested in sewing?
I started sewing when I was about 8. I took over my Mum’s sewing machine and started making clothes for my dolls. I continued sewing bits and pieces until I think I was about 11. Then I was creating very sad attempts at clothing for myself. My grandmother was an exceptional sewer and was also an influence to my passion.
What was your best sewing-related experience? What was your worst experience?
I have had so many of both I don’t know where to start. The one best experience that stands out for me was making my sister in laws wedding dress. As far as worst experiences goes I have a terrible habit of sewing things inside out, only to unpick them and do it again!
What fashion style do you personally identify with?
Simple and modern. I tend to lean towards simple design lines and classic cuts.
As more indie designers sell on-line, how do you keep an edge?
Quality. For me it is more important to have a good reputation for quality patterns than lots of them!
How long have you been drafting patterns, both for yourself and for sale?
I have been drafting patterns for 12 years for myself and custom designs. My patterns have been for sale for just over 1 year.
What made you decide to release your very first sewing pattern? Was there a specific ah-ha moment?
I have been sewing since I was little and studied pattern making and haute couture before moving onto a career in the medical field. Although I loved sewing and ing there wasn’t much work in what I wanted to do. Several years later and a relocation to The Netherlands I found myself out of my industry and wanting to create again. I continued making custom-made items for people with my label Liola Patterns. Most of the time I would draft my own patterns as I couldn’t find what I really wanted and wasn’t a huge fan of commercial patterns. This required a lot of work to make something just for me or as a one-off. I then came to the realisation that I could share these patterns with others. So after a lot of trial and error Liola Patterns began. It has been a great experience and a lot of work but I love seeing my customer’s creations popping up all over the Internet and social media.
What made you decide to start your own business/brand? Did it coincide with your first sewing pattern, come earlier or later?
I have been using the label Liola Patterns for quite some time selling bags and custom clothing so the patterns sort of followed on from this.
How long (on average) do you spend creating a pattern for sale? From initial idea to when it’s available for sale.
Months. I grab what ever time I can to work on the patterns but this can be very sporadic.
Is pattern drafting a full-time career ? Do you have another occupation?
My full-time job at the moment is being a Mum to our 1-year-old daughter.
What was the hardest part about setting up a business/brand and working for yourself?
Finding the time and not feeling guilty about it.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about running your own sewing business/brand? What’s the worst experience?
Seeing other people sew up my designs! The worst part would not be having enough time (and energy) to do more.
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 do not have a particular cause but I do hope that my patterns along with all the other indie pattern designers out there will make a small difference in people making their own clothing and think twice about where their bought clothing has come from and who has made it!
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.
Although formal qualifications can be a huge advantage I do not think it is necessary. I do have a formal qualification in pattern drafting and garment construction but most of my knowledge has come from trial and error. I think experience and knowledge is more important than a formal qualification.
Do you design patterns for plus sizes?
My last pattern I drafted up to a XXL size and will continue to do this for all my new patterns.
Do you design patterns for different levels of sewing experience and skills?
Most of my patterns are aimed at confident beginners. I would like to create some more complicated designs in the future.
Would you encourage other’s to draft patterns for sale?
If you have a passion and knowledge for it then go for it.
What advice would you give to someone interested in being a fashion designer?
Find your mark/ style and stick to it.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to sew their own clothes?
Don’t get disheartened when things don’t turn out how you had hoped. I still make many garments that never make it to my wardrobe. It is worth it for the ones that do work!
If you could tell your customers anything, what would it be?
Keep up the amazing creations. I love seeing them!
What plans do you have for the future?
I have lots of dreams for Liola Patterns! As I am very new into the exploding world of Indie designers firstly I aim at getting my name out there and Liola Patterns known. I would also love to offer a small run of ready-made garments from my patterns.
Where can you be found online? What are your social media accounts and website? Are you interested in meeting up with other designers?