Friday, April 9, 2010

Sew Fun Patterns for Baby by Jen Lopez

Jennifer López (no, not THAT one -- I'm sure she's never heard that before) is our guest for today! Her SewFun patterns have caught our eye -- a variety of good and functional accessories for mommy and baby, with great diagrams and well designed, well-written instructions. I love the idea of creating something that will not only comfort, but also benefit a child's development. Jennifer's just gotten started, and there's no telling what great idea she'll bring us next!

So, tell us about yourself!
My name is Jennifer López and I am the Owner/Designer of SewFun.com. I specialize in designing sewing patterns for baby toys, quilts and accessories as well as fun and functional bags for moms. I got started in early 2009 when I was frustrated by my inability to find patterns for some baby gift items I was trying to make. Although there are plenty of patterns out there (especially these days with many “free” patterns on line), I was irritated by the poor quality, lack of attention to detail and lack of good illustrations (or any illustrations at all). I decided to solve all of these problems by making my own patterns. I have a Mechanical Engineering degree from M.I.T. so creating 2-D representations of 3-D objects comes naturally to me. The years I spent in my professional career creating detailed illustrations and writing design specifications was ample preparation for the technical aspects of pattern development. The patterns resulting from this initial effort turned out so nice that I thought, “I bet other people would like these as well!” I coupled my engineering background with my life-long passion for sewing and SewFun.com was born.


What’s the “vision” for SewFun?
My vision for SewFun is to create sewing patterns with clear, well-illustrated and easy-to-follow instructions that are beginner friendly, yet appealing to advanced sewing enthusiasts. SewFun patterns enable all level of sewists to create beautiful gifts for baby showers and cherished handmade keepsakes. I am often complimented on SewFun patterns for the excellent quality of the instructions and the fact that there are “so many pictures!”

Your website is really entertaining. The “Ask Sewfie” bit is great! The “Boyfriend Curse” post really made me laugh. Whose voice are you channeling in Sewfie?
I am glad you are enjoying Sewfie! “Ask Sewfie” is a column that I write for SewFun.com where advice for the sewing-addicted is dished out by a talking tomato pincushion. Readers can e-mail Sewfie a question and if she answers it in the column, they win a free SewFun pattern. I love the advice column format (I readily admit to reading “Dear Abby” every day) and I thought this would be a fun way to talk about my love of all things sewing-related. I spend a lot of time on the computer with measurements, calculations and what-not, so with Sewfie, I’m definitely channeling the creative right side of my brain… also the side that goes out and buys another half dozen Fat Quarters even though she doesn’t really need them but they are SO CUTE she just HAD to have them.


How does your pattern design process work, from idea to fabric to pattern?
The design process for me starts with the desire to create something beautiful and fun for myself or as a gift for someone I care about. Thinking of the pattern with the specific recipient in mind really helps me to make decisions about: is this fun, it is useful, how should it work, what should it look like, etc. I draw a lot of sketches first, then make quite a number of prototypes from my “ugly fabric” pile – you know that “what was I thinking when I bought THIS stuff?” stash. When I have something that is working, then I start on the technical details of designing the pattern pieces themselves on the computer, writing the instructions, computing fabric measurements, and of course, creating oh-so-many illustrations. Every pattern is then sent out to a team of independent testers who stitch it up in their own way. They ensure my instructions are accurate, easy to understand and also fun! I really enjoy this part of the process because I love to see other people’s interpretations of my designs: the fabrics they choose and the personality that each individual brings to their creations.

Are there certain fabrics or designers that inspire you?
I am hopelessly addicted to all fabrics so I find inspiration in just about very bolt I see. Right now, I am loving the Authentic line by Sweetwater, Whimsy by Fig Tree Quilts, and Patty Young’s Flora and Fauna. I can never get enough of anything to do with Alexander Henry (how cute is Willow Orchard?) and I am very excited to do something with Anna Maria Horner’s Little Folks voile collection.

In addition to fabrics, inspiration comes in many other forms: the inspiration for my new design “Baby S’mores Quilt and Plushie” actually came from one of those re-usable grocery store bags which had the word “S’more” on it. I had the bag in my kitchen, I saw the word and it suddenly popped into my head: “what if I made a sandwich out of a stack of different textures of fabrics…. like a S’more – some soft fabric, some silky fabric, some bumpy fabric…. “, the whole idea came to me in about 30 seconds. Refining the idea into a workable pattern took considerably longer.

What’s up next for SewFun?
Sewfie and I are very busy over at SewFun right now. We are preparing for Spring Quilt Market. I am furiously stitching up models for all of the SewFun patterns for a display in the United Notions/Moda Fabrics booth (they are one of our distributors). We are VERY excited about that event. Back on the design board, we have an adorable baby toy in the works which promises to be the ultimate baby shower gift. We are also working on a big roomy bag for all of Mom and Baby’s stuff. Finally, a summer-themed baby quilt and toy combo pattern is due to come out in the next few weeks. You can keep track of the latest SewFun goings-on at our website, www.sewfun.com, and all of the SewFun patterns are available right here at the Fat Quarter Shop!

Jennifer López
www.sewfun.com

1 comments:

sandyb said...

really great article....just in time for my first grandchild....thanks so much!