Tasia is the designer and owner of phenomenally popular indie pattern brand Sewaholic Patterns. In 2010 she was laid off her job and instead of getting dispirited (like I would) she used the opportunity to start her own business – designing and printing patterns – for the modern seamstress. Her Cambie dress was a runaway success and her Renfrew knit tops have become a “go to” pattern for many-a-seamstress. Oh and you’ve almost certainly heard of – if not taken part in – the Tofino Sewalong. Also, in case you were wondering how Tasia chooses the names for her patterns they are place names, you can find out more here. Tasia lives in Vancouver, Canada. She blogs at here and sells her patterns at Sewaholic.net
Making clothes that fit perfectly can be very empowering. Is this why you chose to make Sewaholic specifically for pear shaped women?
Absolutely! As women we’re constantly being told we need to change ourselves to fit into our clothing or to look good. We are encouraged to get our legs shorts-ready, our stomachs bikini-ready, our arms toned for sleeveless garments. What if we forgot all of that and focused on making clothing to fit our bodies, just the way they are? In my teens and twenties I thought that my body shape was the problem and if only I lost enough weight I’d not be so pear-shaped. Guess what, it didn’t work like that! I can go up and down in weight but the proportions of my body and bone structure remains the same. So I focused on making patterns that flatter a figure that’s curvy on the bottom. I started my line because it was something I wanted for myself, and I knew I couldn’t be the only one!
How do you design your patterns? Do you sit and sketch or design on a computer? Do you look at fashions to emulate? Do you ask your friends what they’d like to see next?
All of the above! I sketch on paper, I’m inspired by real-life clothing, vintage designs, and clothing details I observe. I think about silhouettes and how clothing moves when we move, and how to flatter parts of our figures. I carry around a notebook always, and even have notepaper beside my bed for when I wake up with new ideas! Now that Sewaholic Patterns is becoming popular, people are sending in their requests for new pattern designs. I try to take all of those things into consideration. People kept asking for pants to fit pear-shapes, and so I made that a priority with last year’s Thurlow Trousers. I listen to people’s complaints about clothing or sewing, and try to come up with designs that solve problems, for example, designing the Renfrew Top that doesn’t require a serger to sew a professional-looking, clean finished knit top. Design is more than just the look of a garment, I also think about how it will be constructed, what kind of neat methods we can incorporate, and how we can make the garments enjoyable to sew as well as long-lasting. It’s not just about the way the piece looks but also how it goes together. What’s the point of designing something beautiful that’s a real pain to sew? You’ll only be left with negative feelings about it. So I am always looking inside clothing to see how it’s made and if there are techniques that make sense to use in a sewing pattern.
It seems with Sewaholic Patterns there is a real focus on creating everyday-wear, whereas other companies play on the nostalgia associated with sewing. Was this deliberate when were creating your pattern range?
It’s funny you say this, because I love the nostalgia-inspired designs just as much. When it comes to knowing whether a pattern should be produced, I feel most confident about the designs that can be worn over and over. It’s easy to design a trench coat and feel confident that it’s going to be a success, because it’s such a beautiful yet practical piece! Same with a basic fitted knit tee shirt and classic trousers, those styles are easy for me to print because I know they’ll work into just about everyone’s wardrobe. I suppose I’m an intensely practical person and that’s why the styles for everyday life always get through to completion.
You model all your own pattern designs, was that nerve-wracking when you first started out?
It was not too bad as I’d started to become more comfortable modeling from blogging. You get used to seeing photos of yourself and focusing on ‘how does the garment look’ rather than ‘how do I look, is my face weird?’ Besides, you can always crop out the face part. I never thought too much about it because a real photo shoot was way out of my budget, so I act as model and photographer, self-timing my product shots. To be honest I think more about the photography part than the modeling. I want the photos to look really good and not seem like I took them myself!
You’re currently taking part in the bombshell swimsuit sewalong. Do you think it’s important to support other indie pattern designers? Do you think Sewaholic will ever release a swimsuit pattern of it’s own?
Absolutely! We’re all part of the same sewing community and our goal is to get people pumped about sewing and design cool things for people who sew. I love trying new patterns from all companies, but I feel even more excited about a purchase when the person I’m buying from is just like me. And I can’t design every single cool pattern myself, so if someone’s designed a style that I love, why not support the designer? I only wish I had more free time to sew for ‘market research’ – there are so many amazingly creative pattern designers out there! Will I ever release a swimsuit pattern? It has been requested by blog readers and customers, so there may be a Sewaholic swimsuit pattern in the future!
Thanks so much for being on the blog today Tasia! I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to share some sewing inspiration!
So readers – What is your favourite Sewaholic Pattern??