Something I have long been dreaming about doing; this is the first edition of the Saywood Social Club. A series showcasing small businesses that I love, because I know you'll love them too.
One of the best things about being a small business is meeting new people and new talents. And Make With Mandi is not only creating great home sewing patterns, but Mandi is local to Saywood Studio, so we've been able to share a walk together to get to know each other.
This is Mandi of Make With Mandi - Home Sewing Pattern Maker
Make With Mandi is creating home sewing patterns, which you can buy in PDF to print at home, or ready printed and ready to sew. The silhouettes Mandi has prepared are cool, effortless and timeless pieces for your wardrobe. So not only do you get to choose any print or fabric you'd like to add into your wardrobe collection, but you can learn to make it yourself with all of Mandi's tips and tricks. She has some great online tutorials if you're a beginner, or if you are a pro, you can enjoy every stitch.
I did a Q&A with Mandi to find out more about what is behind her garment pattern business, Make With Mandi:
You just started your own business, Make with Mandi - creative patterns for home sewing. What made you take the leap and set up your business?
Prior to covid my work commitments had made it hard for me to continue having creative hobbies. During the first lockdown, I volunteered as an admin behind the scenes at the Waltham Forest Scrub Hub. It reminded me how much I had missed working with textiles, problem solving and using the fashion industry knowledge I had spent years learning. The real catalyst to getting this all started was the Mia Dress. I whizzed up the pattern and the dress on one lockdown afternoon and posted a pic on my instagram (Make With Mandi (@makewithmandi) • Instagram photos and videos) A friend of mine in Canada loved it and asked me for the pattern. It got me thinking, and it snowballed from there. I didn't do much research into the process or market and just let the creative juices flow.
Tell us about your background in pattern cutting and fashion?
I studied Fashion at Derby university and loved the technical aspects of fashion. I didn't want to be a designer, but wanted to be more involved in the physical creation of the design. I found that realising a 3D garment from a 2D pattern came naturally to me and this is where my love of pattern cutting started.
Mandi cutting out her home sewing patterns at home.
A lot of work goes into making a garment, the pattern cutting, the sewing, the weaving of the fabric etc. How long does it take you to develop a pattern from scratch? Tell us about your process.
I am too scared to actually count the hours that the whole process takes! I am a one woman band - though my husband is always on hand to help with tech issues and photography. Having to wear multiple hats is super hard work and I salute anyone who has a small business. My designs are generally inspired by garments I would like to wear. If I didn't believe in the design, it would make the process a whole lot harder and less enjoyable. My process involves some pattern drafting on paper as well as the computer. The packages I use are a mixture of Clo 3d and Adobe Illustrator and the pattern grading is contracted out. Once I have all the instructions and the pattern completed, I send out the pattern to my pattern testers. If anyone is interested in testing patterns you can sign up on my website (link Pattern Testing Opportunities | Make With Mandi). The feedback for the testers is invaluable and lets me check that the grading is correct across the sizes.
It is only after this process that a pattern is released.
Make With Mandi wearing the Bolt Culottes - Pattern available on her website
For you, what makes a stand out garment pattern?
Y'know I'm still really learning about that. I am trialling different things, some simpler, some more complicated. Right now, the Bolt Culotte ( Shop | Make With Mandi) has been really popular- which is great as I think they make a great wardrobe staple. But if you had asked me at the outset, I wouldn't have pegged them as being the best seller.
What is it about pattern cutting that you particularly enjoy?
I absolutely love seeing a 2D pattern come to life. It brings me so much joy!
What is your favourite style in your pattern collection?
My favourite is the Mia Dress, but I have so many more up my sleeve that I also love - I cannot wait to share them with you. If people are interested they can sign up to my mailing list to be the first to find out about new releases and discounts.
You have a YouTube channel, which is such a useful tool for people learning to sew or needing some extras tips - how have you found setting this up and making the videos?
This is been an unexpected joy. I am generally an introvert and not particularly technical, but the You Tube videos (Make with Mandi - YouTube) have been enjoyable and not as complicated as I thought they would be. I have lots of ideas of things I'd like to add to this channel, but I have to be feeling brave to put my face out there.
Tell us your top tip for the home sewers?
Just go for it! I want sewing to be for everyone and people shouldn't be too scared. Start with small projects and work your way up. I'm actually working on a Start to Sew package. I'm hoping to release this in the next few months so subscribe to my mailing list to keep updated.
Make With Mandi home sewing patterns available to buy on her website
If you are looking for a home sew project to practise your sewing skills, Make With Mandi has some exciting patterns to choose from. And if you are a beginner and looking to start your home sewing journey, the Riviera Cami is a great place to start.
Be the first to know about the starter kit by signing up to her newsletter.