Designer Spotlight – April 2018

   Mandalynn Soileau

Striped Swallow Designs

1. Tell us a little about yourself! What makes your world go ‘round as a designer and in general?  

Family, sewing and the ocean are my world! I have two daughters that I love to design and sew for, Harbor Capri and Emerie Skye. Though as much as I hate to admit it, I've been enjoying sewing for myself more lately...shhh don't tell them! I love seeing everyone's different takes on a pattern, especially mash-ups!

2. How did you get your start as a pattern designer and how long have you been designing?

I decided to open a children's boutique on Etsy, selling birthday outfits and dresses which turned out to be very successful. At that time though I had trouble finding pdf patterns that reflected my free spirit style and after a couple years I started getting burnt out on sewing the same thing over and over -- that's when I decided to start drafting patterns. It has truly been the best decision I ever made. I've always loved math, computers and being creative and though I didn't know it when I headed off to college to sail on ships...this is definitely a dream job for me and I love every minute of it! Next week marks 4 years since I decided to pursue designing patterns!

3. What makes Striped Swallow Designs unique? How do you try to differentiate your patterns from others on the market?

We like fun, trendy details...from pom pom trim on the Coachella Shorts to a unique design detail like the Harbor Knot.

4. Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs? Who are you designing for?

Nature. Everything from the sand to the wind to sunsets and stars.....

Design for: everyday women and kids. Who says practical and functional can't be beautiful?!

5. How would you define your ‘style’ to someone who has never seen your designs?

Boho Chic -- vintage inspired bohemian designs, along with new contemporary boho styles that are available in stores now.

6. What is your favorite part of the design process?

Figuring out how to draft and construct complicated design elements.

7. What do you have planned for 2018? What are you most excited for as a designer?

I'm always working on approx. 10 patterns at a time (I think my team thinks I'm a bit crazy haha)! I get an idea in my head and can't sleep until I draft it and sew up a muslin. With the warm weather we have had this week, I've been dreaming of swimsuits!

8. Do you have a favorite pattern in your collection? Why? What do you love about it?

Ahh that's a tough one...the Coachella Shorts are super special to me since that was my first pattern. The Boheme Sky is my go-to dress, it's quick and beautiful everytime and of course the Emerie Romper is pure love too.

9. What is your least favorite thing to do in regard to sewing and/or designing?

The pages to print chart when finalizing a pattern!! And as for sewing -- bands/cuffs, I literally have a bowl of bands on my desk that need to be added to a couple tops and then they would be ready to head off to my closet! I’m crazy and prefer sewing wrapped bindings ha!

10. If you could do/accomplish anything as a designer, what would it be? What is your ultimate goal or wish in the realm of pattern design?

Being able to test and release everything I have drafted would be amazing! The pattern that will go in to testing next week I drafted almost 2 years ago!

11. What’s your favorite kind of fabric(s) to work with?

It changes all the time, but currently rayon challis and bamboo lycra.

12. Any type of fabrics on your “Do not sew” list?

Nope! Well, I'm not the biggest fan of sewing with chiffon, but I love the end result so I just push through it.

13. What kind of machine(s) do you sew on?

A Babylock Ellageo, Brother 1034D and Janome Coverpro 1000.

14. Anything else you want our followers to know about Striped Swallow Designs?

When I started SSD, I never imagined where I would be right now and the friendships I've gained along the way through the online sewing community, our facebook group and testing. Ashley, Erin and I seriously have such an amazing time working together -- no matter the hour, we are there for each other, ready to take on the next project or provide support to our customers. Ashley has been with SSD for two years now and designs beautiful patterns for us as well. And Erin is an amazing artist who has brought so much to our team this last year with her cut files and helping keep me on track of course (which can be a difficult task) .


Alexis Davis