It’s time for our first ever Boho Fabrics Designer Spotlight! Every month we’ll feature a different indie pattern designer and offer one-of-kind collaborations with them. This month we’re shining the spotlight on Suzanne Winter of Winter Wear Designs! If you don’t already know WWD, you’re missing out! Her patterns feature lots of guidance for getting a truly custom fit, regardless of body shape. We love her easy-to-follow instructions and her patterns always offer great style and tons of options! Check out what Suzanne had to say about her work and make sure you’re following us on Instagram and Facebook (and in our group!) to see all of the awesome collaborations we have planned with WWD this month!
Designer Spotlight – February 2018
Winter Wear Designs
Winter Wear Designs
1. Tell us a little about yourself! What makes your world go ‘round as a designer and in general?
Well, I'm a mama of three - which isn't so unusual, but all three of mine were born in the span of 13 months. As much as there are days that I'd like to stop the spinning of the world, they just don't allow that as a possibility. My designs center around their needs and how I can be a comfy yet stylish mama who can keep up with them. This year my motto is 'sew what you love - wear what you sew!'
2. How did you get your start as a pattern designer and how long have you been designing?
So I studied costume design in college, but I didn't get into design until after I competed on Project Run and Play and realized that there were clothes I had made during the competition that I wanted to be able to continue sewing as my kids kept growing. At the time I was working on Pattern Revolution and was able to take and review Lauren Dahl's digital pattern grading course which was what I needed to get my feet on the ground in the world of PDF designs. I've been designing for almost 4 years now... which is crazy, because I still feel like I just started.
3. What makes Winter Wear Designs unique? How do you try to differentiate your patterns from others on the market?
When I started designing the key thing that I cared about was fit. I have kids with very non standard sizing. One of my twins is tall and rail thin the other is tall and built like a linebacker. Everything I make for them needs some kind of blend of sizing and my 5 year old daughter already needs a 10 width. So WWD patterns all have a size range up to a 14 or 16 so that you don't need to buy multiple size ranges of a pattern to fit your child. For women I have also created a large base size range of xxs-xxxl with instructions for how to make alterations based on your body shape included in every pattern.
My early patterns were marked by tons of details, a crazy number of options, and techniques that would stretch a confident beginner's skill set. When I started out, I wanted to fill holes I saw in the market, I wanted to create patterns that I couldn't find and that I didn't think people could make with simple hacking techniques. Three and a half years later the pool of PDF designers has multiplied dramatically and so have the variety of patterns available. I've found myself this year really coming back to my roots of designing clothes that people love to wear and that they can easily create a custom fit that they would never get from the store.
4. Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs? Who are you designing for?
I draw inspiration from stores I can't afford to shop in, HA!!! I'm designing for myself and my kids. What we need, what I want to wear, what I want to see them in... that is the heart of my design inspiration for WWD.
5. How would you define your ‘style’ to someone who has never seen your designs?
Modern Classics - designs that aren't going to go out of style.
6. What is your favorite part of the design process?
When I start seeing testers final photos come in. I get the biggest smile seeing people wear something that they made and love. I also love brainstorming and sketching ideas, but there is a level of fear in that stage - can I make this work, can I draft this to really be the vision I have in my head? When those tester photos come in on women of all shapes and sizes I feel like I won.
7. What do you have planned for 2018? What are you most excited for as a designer?
I have so many things planned for 2018. But the thing I'm most excited about is 'Stitch My Fix'. It is going to be a yearlong focus on sewing clothes that we love and will wear. I've got a new collection rolling out called 'Winter Wear Wardrobe Builders' that are going to be closet staples at a lower price point. These patterns are beginner friendly while still teaching and encouraging beginners to stretch their skill set.
8. Do you have a favorite pattern in your collection? Why? What do you love about it?
Ohhhhhhh - favorites are tough!!!! That's like asking if I have a favorite child! I'd have to say that the Bateau Garden Dress and Phresh Blazer will always be two of my favorites because they were truly the birth of WWD. The Magnolia for women is my most made pattern for myself - although the Omega is quickly catching up! And for boys I'm crazy proud of the Metro Blazer because it was a project that really stretched me as a designer and brought me to a higher level of technical skill.
9. What is your least favorite thing to do in regard to sewing and/or designing?
Layer. I HATE TO LAYER! When I started sewing and designing PDF patterns no one layered. 4 years later, it is an expectation. All of my patterns from the past year have layers, and I'm slowly updating old patterns to have it, but I LOATH the process!!!!
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?
I feel like I just want to encourage people to sew - as long as I'm doing that with my design, I'll keep designing and feel like I've accomplished everything. So I guess my ultimate goal is to reach as many people as possible so that I can tell them through my patterns - You CAN sew, you can make something that you love and that you will wear all the time, you can do this!
11. What’s your favorite kind of fabric(s) to work with?
I love knits of all varieties, they are flattering, easy to work with, and versatile. But my favorite fabric of the moment is Rayon or Rayon blend apparel wovens. Many of my patterns from the past year (and planned for 2018) are designed for rayon blends. I feel like I'm on a mission to make everyone fall in love with them and to get more variety of them on the market.
12. Any type of fabrics on your “Do not sew” list?
Sequin fabric. I've sewn sequins onto fabric, but I have no desire to fight with sequin fabric. Nope. Nope. Nope.
13. What kind of machine(s) do you sew on?
I have a Bernina from the 60's, a Viking Topaz, and a Brother 1034d serger.
14. Anything else you want our followers to know about Winter Wear Designs?
Hmmmmm..... I'm a hugger and I do in fact like Green Eggs and Ham.
Thank you SEW much Suzanne for teaming up with Boho Fabrics this month!