Designer stories | Chelsea from Friday Pattern Company

Designer stories | Chelsea from Friday Pattern Company

In January, I started a new bi-monthly series on the blog, where I am interviewing the designers behind sustainable pattern brands. You can read the first instalment with Kim from Ann Normandy Designs.

So here we are with episode two, and I’m bringing you a Q&A with Chelsea, the designer behind a very interesting indie brand: Friday Pattern Company.

The brand came on my radar because since the inception, Chelsea decided to donate 5% of all proceeds to a rotating catalogue of good causes. This, plus their lovely, modern minimalist style, really puts them high on my list.

So I reached out to Chelsea, looking to find out more about the behind the scenes. She graciously agreed, and so here are with the interview. We’ll be covering loads of topics and hopefully, you’ll find out something you didn’t know about the company and Chelsea herself (check out question 9, definitely kindred spirits here!).

Enjoy!

1. For anyone who has not heard of Friday Pattern Company, tell me more about your brand, design ethos and your mission.

Friday Pattern Company creates modern sewing patterns that are designed to be wardrobe essentials, the type of garments that can stay in rotation in your wardrobe season after season. I would say that the designs are for the most part easy to sew but have a big impact. We are also dedicated to being a force for good as a company, so we donate 5% of all proceeds to a rotating collection of charities with each pattern benefitting a different charity.

2. What was the inspiration behind the name Friday Pattern Company? It does not sound very sewing or fashion related ☺.

Friday has always been the best night for sewing. You can stay up late, sew all night!

3. In the Designer stories series, I want to talk about the person behind the brand as well as the company. So can you tell me a bit more about yourself and your background? Have you always worked in fashion or did you start on a different pathway and then found your calling?

I grew up in Santa Cruz, CA in a very artsy family. I have always been interested in fashion and knew that I wanted my career to involve making something. I studied fashion design in college but quickly discovered that I was not at all interested in the fashion industry. I changed my major and thought I would go in a different direction. I worked at a fabric store for years and deepened my love of sewing. I briefly had a handmade dress business. I have also spent the last 6-ish years working for a sustainable fashion brand as their marketing director.

4. As the designer behind a brand, how to you manage the balance between your personal taste, your personality and what sells?

That is something I am still trying to balance! I stay pretty true to myself in my designs. I tweak them slightly in the name of practicality, but for the most part, my patterns are the things that I want to wear. I was concerned that the Adrienne Blouse wouldn’t be something people would want to wear but I decided to just go for it anyway and it has turned out to be my most popular pattern ever!

5. Why did you decide to start a pattern company and what makes it different from all the other indie brands out there?

Designing sewing patterns is something I have wanted to do forever. I love the way that my creativity can intersect with the creativity of others. I think the really cool thing about the indie pattern market is that every brand has its own unique vibe. I would say that my patterns stand apart for their millennial appeal and that most of them are designed for knit fabrics. Although a lot of the people making my patterns are not millennials. I also prioritise fun in my patterns. I add in cute graphics and keep the tone light in the instructions. It is very important to me that you have fun when you sew with my patterns!

6. How long does it take to bring a pattern to the market? What kind of steps are involved? And what was the hardest pattern to develop out of your collection?

It varies and each pattern comes with its own unique trials and tribulations. Short answer is probably about 6 months. I start with a design, make a million samples (usually the design changes drastically during this period), develop and grade the pattern, send it to my testers, incorporate feedback, polish it, and release it! Probably the hardest part is how bogged down I get creating the technical drawings and graphs.

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DESIGNER STORIES - Chelsea from Friday Pattern Company

7. The first thing I think about when I hear Friday Pattern Company is your wonderful ethos that gives 5% of your profit to charities. Tell me a bit more about why you do that, how you choose your charities how much do you think you have donated so far. Also, how did your customers react to this?

I wanted to incorporate giving into my business. Having that built in to my business is a constant motivation that I am doing this for more than just myself. I love the giving business model and I don’t think it needs to be limited to shoe or clothing companies!

8. On a personal level, how did you start sewing? Do you still have time to sew for pleasure? What do you like to sew that’s not business related?

My grandmother taught me to sew when I was a kid. I have always loved it. I returned to it in high school. I was going through a lot of self loathing and sewing made me feel like myself. Making things has always been very healing for me and the fact that I sew has always been a part of who I am. I prioritize sewing for pleasure! It is critical that I don’t fall out of love with sewing so I categorize it as vital for my company. Also, being a part of the sewing community I am constantly inspired! I love supporting other indie companies and sewing their patterns. Currently, I’m making Ginger Jeans.

9. What does sustainability in sewing mean to you?

Having witnessed the wreckage of the fashion industry first hand, I can tell you that sustainability exists in so many different ways in sewing. For me the biggest thing is making something well, that will last a long time, and that I will love, is key. Obviously, curbing consumerism and using what you have is important, but reclaiming the fashion industry and changing the way that we devour fashion is going to make the largest institutional changes. I think that going through the process of taking raw materials and turning them into clothing can be a transformative process. Once you know how much goes into making clothing, you can’t look at a $15 dress the same way.

For me, sustainability is making something well, that will last a long time.

Chelsea, Friday Pattern Company

10. Lastly, what does the future hold for Friday Pattern Company? Any new patterns in the work?

The future holds exciting things for Friday! I am working on a new one piece swimsuit that I am particularly stoked about! I am also in the process of adding sizes to my range. I also have an ongoing project of creating sewing patterns for gender non-binary and trans folks.

Thank you so much to Chelsea for answering my questions! I really enjoyed learning more about her, the brand and even got an early heads up about the new pattern coming up!

CONNECT WITH CHELSEA AND FRIDAY PATTERN COMPANY

WEBSITE: FridayPatternCompany.com


INSTAGRAM: fridaypatterncompany


FACEBOOK: Friday Pattern Company


THANK YOU FOR READING! PLEASE LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN COMMENTS AND WHAT OTHER DESIGNERS YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO INTERVIEW.

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2 Comments

  1. 28 March 2019 / 11:54 PM

    I am finding this series really interesting, but wondering about the “sustainable” element. I used to teach and research green business using the four pillars of sustainable business – being human, social, economic and environmental and so I really applaud the fact that money from each pattern sale is donated, which fits the social aspect. I would like to read more about reducing environmental impact. For example, the use of layers and nesting in PDF patterns fits the environmental, as it reduces the use of inks and paper, zero waste patterns, minimal waste patterns, recycling, etc. Some designers that I am aware of doing these things are Itch-to-Stitch, Pattern Union and Elbe Textiles. There are probably lots more – hopefully!

  2. sewrendipityalex
    Author
    7 April 2019 / 4:47 PM

    That is a very good point, Sue! And thanks for the recommendations, I will try to get in touch with them.

So, what do you think?

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