Your wardrobe, your way! Meet Christina of Wardrobe by Me patterns
To celebrate the gorgeous wrap skirt project in issue 65, we are chatting to the designer Christina Albeck, founder of Scandi-inspired pattern house Wardrobe By Me, to find out how she creates instant classics!
Hi Christina, tell us what inspired you to start Wardrobe By Me
I discovered the growing interest for home sewing and PDF sewing patterns. Making and selling patterns this way was completely new to me and I was fascinated with the possibilities of reaching people all around the world. I was blown away by the enormous amount of women who felt that high-street clothing just didn’t fit right and I thought it would be fun to see if my perspective on well-fitting garments could make a difference.
How would you describe your brand aesthetic to someone who hasn’t come across your patterns before?
Wardrobe By Me (WBM) patterns are designed to be the pieces in your wardrobe that you can depend on, garments that you return to season after season both because of the flattering fit and comfort, but also because of the classic silhouettes that never go out of style.
How do you think your 20 years of experience designing patterns for fashion brands has helped you make your business a success?
The experience helps me create garment patterns that have the right proportions. I know which finish works best with which type of fabric, and I don’t need to experiment with pocket placements, button placements, placket widths, sleeve lengths, collar widths etc. That may sound obvious but the right proportions set a garment apart from looking ‘right’ to looking home cooked. When these things are unbalanced the garment looks wrong. Little details such as what direction the buttonholes should be placed on a placket (vertical), or the direction of a striped waistband (horizontal) on a pair of striped pants, make all the difference. I design patterns with the sole purpose of making something that fits well and is flattering.
How do you take an idea and turn it into a pattern?
I sketch the design, and develop the pattern using PAD-system (apparel software for pattern making and grading). Then I plot the pattern and sew a prototype that I fit, check for balance, proportions and ease. I decide if the design invites any ‘natural’ variations, and incorporate those into the final pattern. Next I lay out the pattern pieces, write instructions, and open the pattern for testing. I test it over about 10 days, and usually have 15-20 talented ladies help me check the fit and edit the instructions. Testers have very valuable input, and I always listen to their feedback. Finally the pattern is released. This process takes around four weeks from initial idea to final release.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
I love posting tester calls because at that point all the hard work is behind me, and all I have to do is polish and correct mistakes! I love seeing how testers make the pattern their own and watching them develop and blossom to be really great at modeling and showing off their makes.
What patterns are proving to be the most popular?
The top-selling WBM dress pattern is the Asta jersey dress. I developed the pattern several months before testing. I felt the silhouette was too simple to even bother, but on a whim I decided to test it anyways. When I made the tester call in my Facebook group, more than 100 people applied to participate, which was a complete surprise! When the pattern was released it generated an all-time high both in terms of visits but also sales. Wrap dresses like Diana and Mirri are the top sellers. Not upon release, but over time. Those two are no surprise to me, as wrap dresses are very flattering, easy to sew and never out of style. The men’s patterns also generate a lot of interest. That has come as a surprise, but I think all seamstresses really enjoy being able to make something homemade for the men in their life.
How do you think Scandinavian style differs from British style?
Scandinavian style tends to be quite simple and casual. We are not great fans of elaborate and brightly coloured floral prints. We tend to gravitate towards blue, grey, brown and black colours. Aside from this, British and Scandinavian style is very similar.
Finally, what are you working on over the next few months?
The original goal for WBM was a full collection of patterns to fill all wardrobe needs. At this point we are almost there. Over the next few months I will be focusing on making more patterns for wovens. We all love a great jersey top or dress, but a woven project is a great way to improve your skills and really add finesse to a home-sewn wardrobe. Additionally I would like to expand the men’s collection and to include a collection of lounge and sleepwear.
Find Christina’s gorgeous skirt project inside issue 65 on sale now! Read all about it here.
Find out more
Christina is the owner and designer at Wardrobe By Me, where she creates Scandinavian-inspired PDF sewing patterns with a classic yet contemporary aesthetic. To find out
more about the brand, visit www.wardrobebyme.com
Follow the Wardrobe by Me community and sign up to become a pattern tester at www.facebook.com/wardrobebyme