Friday, September 16, 2011

Backstitch Talks to the Designers: Jamie Christina

This is an article I wrote for Sewing World magazine. I thought you guys would like to read it too, so you can find out a little more about Jamie Christina:

An interview with Jamie Christina, the pattern designer who is bringing some Californian sunshine to the UK by way of her dress patterns.

Although not a traditional one, Jamie Christina’s story will be familiar to many. An example of how life can lead you along a path that you yourself would never have predicted. A stay-at-home mum to three children, she turned to fabric and sewing as a creative outlet. Inspired initially by a community quilting class, Jamie was so enthused by her newfound love of fabric that she started her own online fabric store, Phat Fabric. Simultaneously she was using her cottons to create her own designed garments to sell in her Etsy store. ‘I followed a creative spark and dove head first into the discovery process of fabric and design.’ Before long she realised that there was a demand for the patterns of her creations, and so began to study pattern drafting and industry standard sewing techniques in order to develop these for production. ‘The success of my patterns has been the added bonus to what began as a creative adventure’.

Jamie Christina patterns are made for the emerging sewer who doesn’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing, and doesn’t want to spend days working on the garment. The patterns are written so that both the experienced and beginning sewer can enjoy both the process and end product of a pattern. ‘The patterns are basic and straightforward, but with amazing results’ professes Jamie.

Jamie hails from Southern California and this is reflected in her designs which have an easy and fun, modern bohemian feel. She has recently brought out two new dress patterns: the ‘Mission Maxi’ and the ‘Miz Mozelle’. The Mission Maxi is a maxi dress in knit fabric with three different views. One view offers a large godet attached to the back which adds a wonderful elegance to this easy to wear dress. ‘I think the reason why I enjoy it so much is because of its blend of comfort and fashion’ says Jamie. It’s a holiday wardrobe in itself – super in the day for poolside lounging or dressed up for easy nights out. The Miz Mozelle ‘named after my Granny’ says Jamie, is a vintage inspired piece featuring a Peter Pan collar with a keyhole bodice. ‘The keyhole bodice keeps it from looking too stuffy’ she says.

A charming aspect of Jamie Christina patterns is that they are pieces she is designing to wear herself. As a mother of three there is an all important ease not just to their wearabilty but also their practical and quick construction. ‘I am a one woman show, so time is an issue’ says Jamie. ‘I purposely have my sewing space in a corner of the house that allows me to be where my family is. I used to have my sewing space in the back of the house and I felt like I never saw my kids. I have a sewing desk picked up from an estate sale. It has a space for everything and when I’m done sewing for the day I just close it up. Everything looks nice and neat just sitting there waiting for me to wake it up the next morning.’

Jamie comes from a line of talented seamstresses. Her Granny used to make skating costumes for her daughters when they were little. ‘I am told that the other contestants and their mom’s were always excited to see what new costume my granny would design next’ says Jamie. Although Jamie did not get direction from her Granny, her mother did and in turn she passed this on to Jamie, but it wasn’t until adult life that Jamie really developed a love and appreciation for sewing. Although, she remembers one of the first things she had to sew – a nine patch pillow in 8th grade. ‘My mom said she knew I would be a good seamstress because all of my corners matched up perfectly’ says Jamie, ‘At least that’s how she remembers it, I remember ripping out seams everyday in class just to get them perfect!’

And Jamie and her mother are going to be working closely going forward. Jamie is handing over the online fabric shop to her mother. ‘Most of my work time is spent designing sewing patterns. I feel that to run a successful online shop you have to spend more time than I am able to devote to it. My mom is the perfect person to take over the business and it still gives me the opportunity to gush over the beautiful fabric and maybe sample some of it too!‘

This is all great news for us here in the UK as it means Jamie is able to dedicate her time to designing more of her stylish patterns!

Related Products:
Jamie Christina Patterns
Miz Mozelle Dress Pattern
Mission Maxi Dress Pattern

Photography by Pierre Olivier

1 comment:

  1. What a great interview! I love the Miz Mozelle in yellow.

    I bought the Mission Maxi pattern a few months ago (you know this already because I bought it from you) - but shame on me - I haven't done anything with it yet! Perhaps this will be the reminder I need to get going on it.