Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Interview with Creators of the Monthly Stitch

How is your indie dress project coming?!

 I just had to ask, because it's now June -- Indie Pattern Month -- is off and running! By now you must have decided which contests you are entering. I had the opportunity to chat with Kat and Mel, popular bloggers from The Monthly Stitch (over there in New Zealand!), the inventors of the "Sewing Indie" month, and got the inside scoop on their passion and how it all came to be. These gals really have it together and are doing wonderful things for our sewing world. To really appreciate the people behind the project, I wanted to know more, and I'm sure you do too!


What's Indie Pattern Month all about? 
It's about our slight obsession with indie designs!  It's a month-long celebration during which we showcase and interview various designers to get some behind-the-scene glimpses, make indie patterns, talk about indie patterns, and run sewing contests to encourage everyone to get involved and sew with - you guessed it! - indie patterns.

This (2015) is the third year that Indie Pattern Month has been run, and it's the biggest one yet. Just like last year, it's held over on The Monthly Stitch a place where everyone can join in, whether or not they have a blog. (

How did it start?
We think sewing challenges are fun! A few years ago, we started to run them on our own blogs -- The Curious Kiwi ( and Modern Vintage Cupcakes ( We ran challenges around themes, around designers, around labels. They continued to get bigger, and bigger. And then, the biggest one yet -- we ran the first Indie Pattern Month in June 2013 ( holding interviews with designers on both of our blogs and encouraging people to share their indie makes to a communal Pinterest board ( . We had a lot of people give us feedback on how much they liked it, so decided to make it an annual event!
A little Mad Men inspiration.
Why indie patterns?
We seriously love sewing. And we love that there are more and more options coming out for people to use and make -- new labels starting up, new designs coming out all the time with fresh and innovative thinking. It's so much fun to see what other people come up with and there's a lot of talent out there in the sewing world!

Indie Pattern Month is about supporting that talent because we love to see new businesses grow and flourish.

How do you run Indie Pattern Month?
Well, to be honest, with a heck of a lot of hard work! We both work full time as well, and this is just one of our many hobbies.

We start planning for Indie Pattern Month about 5 months ahead of time, brainstorming how it'll be run and how we can improve on the previous year, what competitions to hold, and which designers we'd like to get involved as sponsors.

There are always heaps of designers we'd love to invite to sponsor, but we don't want to overwhelm people, so we carefully select which ones we invite to take part, aiming to get a mix of different styles, sizes of company, age of company, and requests from people for designers they'd particularly love to have involved. We really try to make sure there's something for everyone!

We ask designers who get involved to donate a prize for a sewing contest -- that way, it becomes a two-way deal with the Monthly Stitch community. They get some more publicity and hopefully more people find out about their label and designs, and the community gets something back in terms of a prize they can win.
One of my own favorites Fifth Avenue.
For the contests, we choose winners based on a mix of judges scores and community vote. We're very careful to make sure they don't just become popularity contests, but at the same time we want the community to get involved in choosing which creations they like the best. This combination worked well last year, and we've refined it even more this year. Our fellow editor Juliet, from The Crazy Gypsy Chronicles ( is one of the judges, and we also invite Penny, the owner of the online store Dresses & Me ( to help us judge.

What do you get out of Indie Pattern Month?
We get the joy that comes with building an online sewing community. We do it (and run The Monthly Stitch as well) for the love of sewing.

What's The Monthly Stitch? And how did that come about?
A few years ago, there was a blog called The Sew Weekly. Kat largely got into blogging because of that - she followed along with almost all of the sewing challenges for three years, and made friends in the Sew Weekly community.

Then The Sew Weekly suddenly vanished. It left a big hole in the blogging world and we decided to do something about that by creating a space where everyone could join in, sew along with a theme, share their creations, and feel part of a community.

We work hard to make sure The Monthly Stitch is an open and friendly space. We try to avoid the problems other communal blogs have dealt with and we set up a Facebook group  ( where Monthly Stitch contributors and followers can converse, talk about sewing, ask questions, and share ideas.

Our first challenge was capes (! We had 38 people participate and those numbers have grown every month since. 

Do you sew many indie patterns yourself?
Gosh, yes! We sew heaps of them from pretty much every indie label. And we have plans to sew lots more this month. All the indie patterns! All the time!
Thank you, Kat and Mel for sharing this "behind the scenes" view, and for your wonderful contribution to the sewing world. 
If you've been hesitant to enter a contest or even try a new pattern, this is a great way to jump in! I can't sign off without reminding you that we are sponsoring and that you have the chance to win prizes from Sew Chic Patterns and all the wonderful sponsors you see on this badge. I'm excited to see it!...what will you make?

May you have a Wonderful Sewing Day!

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