Ann Grose is the pattern maker behind the Aussie brand, Designer Stitch
Tell us a little bit about you and the company?
I’m so pleased to be one of the first Indie pattern designers to be featured in the new The Pattern Pages magazine. When Emily asked me if I wanted to be a part of this exciting endeavour it took me all of two seconds to say, of course!
I originally studied a Bachelors degree in textile design, fabric design, printing and meterage. Unfortunately design jobs are very rare, and Australia has lost much of its manufacturing to overseas outsourcing so I decided to study fashion design and production to expand my skills.
I’ve worked as a freelance designer for fashion houses and manufacturers developing new ranges. I’ve also lectured in fashion related studies, design, pattern making and garment construction and taught to students in further education. I call this my apprenticeship because it led me to open my own fashion school, Designer Stitch School of Fashion and Design.
What made you start dress and pattern making?
I’d make patterns for my students to sew, and they kept saying to me, you should sell your patterns, and so Designer Stitch PDF patterns were born. I’ve been sewing since I was six years old, and both my mother and grandmother worked in the rag trade as couture dressmakers, so I grew up around sewing machines, fabrics, trims and gorgeous handmade clothing. There wasn’t a day that my mother was not at her sewing machine. The women in my family have always made everything they wear. When we went out shopping my mother would always say, “We can make that ourselves!”.
Tell us about the patterns in your collection so far?
The ethos of Designer Stitch is quite simple; to design sewing patterns that are stylish, easy-to-wear and on-trend. My patterns are also very simple to construct. My patterns are true to size – that is, they don’t have a lot of ease so I offer very extensive sizing charts in the pattern instructions to allow the dressmaker to make the best choice when deciding size. There’s a wide range of easy-to-wear patterns and includes trousers, tops, dresses, playsuits and more!
What do you feel makes you stand out from the other independent
My sewing patterns are aimed a women who want style and easy-to-construct garments. When designing patterns, I generally think about how my students can wear it, whether it would suit the smallest as well as the curviest among them.
My patterns are graded from a size 6 to 26 UK/AU. Style and construction are important to me, and if I can’t translate the construction steps into fairly easy visual sewing steps then I don’t make the garment.
What is your favourite pattern you’ve designed so far?
My favourite is the Kerry Cape. The pattern has quite a few pattern pieces but the finish of the garment is well worth it! The Pippa Wrap Dress is such a pretty dress and looks good on all sizes and shapes and the Willow Kimono is another easy garment but relies heavily on good fabric choices and trims. I could go on and on, I love each and every pattern I design!
Who is your biggest inspiration to your sewing?
My mother was my mentor, and she was very supportive but sadly, she passed away in 2008 but I know she’s with me watching what I’m doing. She’d probably say to me right at this minute, ‘slow down a bit’ but making Designer Stitch the best it can be is the reason I get up in the morning!
How would you best describe your personal style and has it impacted your pattern collections?
I try not to sway too much towards my own style and tastes, and keep a close eye on what’s trending to see if it can translate into a design that’s easy to sew. I also consider carefully whether the garment will translate to the smallest and largest sizes.
What do you feel is your best achievement so far?
I’m so thrilled to see my patterns being blogged about by like-minded sewists, and I pay homage to my fabulous group of pattern testers. It’s so thrilling to see the photos they post of their garments, and they make my patterns looking absolutely sensational!