It all started with wanting to see what my mom was doing. I was 6. I'd sit in back of her sewing machine and take out pins as she sewed away. She said she really never ever taught me; I learned from osmosis. But she taught me. And what I learned stayed with me.
I kept sewing throughout childhood, college, and after. When I got married, I began working for Ann Taylor LOFT. That company took my skill to another level. It was really the jumpstart to sewing a different way. It was at this point I began altering patterns. I wasn't happy with just a sewing pattern as it was. I wanted to create the kind of clothing that I was selling at the LOFT. I wanted darts, pleats, gathers, tucks and lining when a pattern didn't call for it. I found myself looking at patterns and making substantial changes to them without even thinking about it.
When we began having children, my love for sewing only grew and I began to clothe them in styles that weren't available anywhere. I started out with a few pounds of fabric, pins, thread, and lots of rough drafts and I ended up with patterns I loved. They were designs I dreamt up. And it was fulfilling.
My part is definitely less colorful. I've always liked to draw, but as a boy my only subjects were cars and men's faces; my only media were pencil and pen/ink. And I never had the courage to branch out either in subjects or media.
Funny enough I have two vivid memories that came immediately to my mind as I wrote that last sentence. I remember as a small boy following my darling mother around the house, pencil and paper in hand, asking her for an assignment. "Tell me something to draw, Mama!" If she asked me anything beyond a man's face or a car, I would conjure an excuse and ask her for another idea. Worse perhaps, is my memory of Christmas at 11 years old. My parents bought me a beautiful set of oils and brushes. How many times I brought out all the oils and prepared my workspace, only to stop, frozen in fear, and pack everything up! I never used those oils.
Fast-forwarding several years, in a most unusual place I learned to use graphical tools. I was studying Theoretical Chemistry, at Emory University, and it was there - yes! in graduate school - that I developed a strong confidence with tools that left me feeling I could make a digital image of absolutely anything!
So when I was watching Jill make patterns for her own custom garments, I was like, "Baby, we could do this!"
So we did it, together! Patrick and me. I can't tell you how neat it is doing what you love - WITH someone you love. It was as if we were made for it! He has an artistic eye and hand, knows math like unbelievably (which I can't tell you the importance of this in pattern making!) and writes on a chalkboard for a living. His skill set complements mine to a "T". He not only understands pattern style, but also can contribute to it right along side of me. We dream together, we plan together, we work together. My patterns would have never made it to production without his nudge. And I wouldn't have continued without his constant assistance and faith!
In our flow, I imagine and draw, Patrick does the graphic/technical design, I construct, and then we check it (and check it, and check it, and…well, you get the point). We want our patterns to be more than beautiful; we want them to be perfect.
JillyAtlanta Patterns. We have the Past in Heart, the Present in Hand, and the Future in Mind.
Patrick & Jill