3 July 2012

Unwrapping Papercut Patterns


Have you heard of Papercut Patterns? It's always exciting to discover a new (to me) sewing pattern company and I was particularly intrigued when I stumbled upon this line. Owner Katie sent me a pattern to try and - even though I'll have to wait a few months to sew and wear it - I couldn't resist the Watson jacket, which has a sweet little "capelet". Don't you just love that word? Capelet! Mmm...



Papercut Patterns takes a completely fresh approach to packaging design. The patterns come in a square box with cut out details, opening out to reveal a hanger. Could you hear me oohing and ahhing as I opened the box? The pattern instructions are printed on huge sheets of recycled paper, the same paper the patterns are printed on, the idea being to cut them yourself into a little booklet. The paper itself has a nice weight to it which won't rip easily. The instructions are given in an encouraging, friendly tone, with little tips thrown in. Handily for my fellow Brits and others, the fabric size requirements are given in both metres and yards.

But enough gushing from me - let's have a mini interview with designer Katie herself...


When did you start Papercut Patterns and how did you get into it?

Katie: "I first came up with the idea in 2008 while I was working in a fabric store in Auckland, New Zealand. I constantly had young stylish girls that were really into fashion asking me where they could get current sewing patterns. Because I had always drafted my own, I hadn’t really noticed the massive gap in the market. I guess you could say I had a light bulb moment, however to turn it into a reality there was a lot to be done! Firstly I had to move my life from Auckland as it was too expensive to live there while setting up as I was also supporting my then 7 year old daughter on my own. I moved back to my hometown Blenheim which is a small rural town in the South Island of NZ. My dad made a space for me in the corner of his business where Papercut began. It took me a while to set up, as I didn’t have any capital to start the business and had to do everything myself.

I started by designing my collection, then by the time I’d taught myself to use Illustrator and Indesign, designed my packaging, logo and website, I was really over my original collection so started again. Finally in September of 2010 I launched my business!"



The first thing that struck me about the patterns was the amazing packaging. What was your thinking behind the package design?

"I wanted my patterns to be a completely different experience to anything that was already on the market. I absolutely love beautiful innovative packaging and I wanted it to be something people would be excited to open.

I wanted to bring in a real designer at home feel. In a fashion workroom patterns are always drafted on brown paper and hung on a hook. Originally I wanted to have a proper pattern hook included in the package, and I bought 10 from an online store to work out how I would package them up…still to this day I haven’t received those hooks after numerous emails to the company I bought them from, however it made me think more creatively as to how I would achieve what I wanted.

I woke up in the middle of the night one night with the design for my envelope. Once I had that developed, I needed to figure out how I was going to punch the holes in each pattern piece for the string to go though to hang them up. The holes are still to this day all individually punched by hand.

My packaging has evolved a lot since I first launched, I am constantly making changes so that it is more functional."




The packaging and patterns are printed on recycled paper. Is environmental sustainability an important consideration for your business?

"I think that sustainability is something our generation really needs to think about. We need to be more aware of our impact on resources. I love that people are getting back to making things for themselves and I think it’s important that we care more.

I encourage to recycle any left over scraps. There are so many ways this can be done other than just putting them into a recycle bin. Paper scraps can be used for kids to draw and paint on. You can make cute little origami animals, and fabric scraps can be used for all sorts of things, even as fillers for cushions.

I also like to promote using natural and renewable fibres, not only do they feel and look better, they are better for our environment. I’m not sure how available it is over there, but I’m a huge user of NZ Merino Wool, it is such an amazing fibre! You can put it in the washing machine with everything else, it’s warm, light and sustainable!"

 


How would you describe the style of the garments that people can make with your sewing patterns?

"With my first collection I wanted it to be a basics range, patterns that you can make many times in different fabrics without it being too obvious it’s the same garment. If you look at most designers, they have repeat garments they release in different fabrics and prints each season.

I have been very vague in my fabric recommendations, as I want people to realise that they can put their own take onto my pattern, they are essentially the designer… for example, my Milano Cape has been made in a heavy wool coating, but you could make it up in a lightweight drapey silk and it be more like cape shirt dress. Depending on what you make your pattern up in, it can look like a completely different garment."

Which is your favourite of your sewing pattern designs and why?

"That’s a hard one, I wear them all! My Milano cape with Merino leggings underneath were especially great during my pregnancy last winter! The pleated pants are a wardrobe staple of mine, and I have a circle top in every colour of Merino possible! My all time favourite though would have to be my sleeveless Watson Jacket, I love it and wear it all the time!"

Thanks, Katie! Y'all, take a look at the rest of the pattern line, there are some lovely modern designs... including the really intriguing Circle Top! UK peeps can buy them from Sewbox.

34 comments:

  1. Oooh, thanks for bringing Papercut Patterns to my attention Tilly, I'd not seen them before. That Watson jacket is gorgeous! I already have a coat on my "to do" list so that might have to wait a while. I'm off to check out their other designs now...

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  2. Second time I have seen that pattern co. in a matter of days. As a kiwi it is great to see her patterns being reviewed by someone like you! :o) I look forward to the final result

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  3. That's very cool! The patterns look great, and I love those interviews you do Tilly, about the back stage of business. You rarely hear the real story about how things get started, and this is a valuable information for anyone in the field.

    I love the fact that the paper is recycled, the meters for fabric, the little hanger and the cut yourself a booklet. I like my patterns hanging from hooks like in the industry, and I punch little holes in my self drafted ones to hang.

    I'll be looking for these patterns, thank's Tilly!

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  4. I love Papercut Patterns! I'm currently sewing up the Milano Cape and should have it finished tonight (just buttons to go). It's been a fantastic learning curve for a beginner and the cape is looking fab! (Apologies if this sounds like a hideous blog plug- this is just a weird sewing coincidence) :)

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    1. Doesn't sound like a blog plug at all! But of course now you've said that I'm heading over to check out your blog... ooh it's lovely! :)

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    2. Thanks :) Am rather happy with how it's going!

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  5. The Watson jacket has been on wish list since I first saw Papercut Patterns. Can't wait to see some finished articles.

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  6. What an unbelievably inspiring interview. Thank you so much! I love the detail about literally dreaming up the packaging. I'm a firm believer in the creative use of sleep and dreams. When I'm deep in a sewing make, I always dream about it. Tilly, you will look cute as a button in that jacket/capelet - you MUST make it!

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    1. You're so right, the unconscious mind works wonders...

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  7. I've not hear about this brand, but glad you wrote about them :) Good to see more and more small designers popping up here and there around the globe.

    But am I the only one who finds Papercut Patterns a bit expensive? $25 -$35 per pattern + $14 if you live outside NZ. As much as I love recycling and sustainable fashion, I would prefer to receive this pattern digitally. Printing on non-recycled paper would be definitely better for the environment than leaving a carbon footprint when sending this pattern from NZ.

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    1. You see, I think for something as delightful to hold as this pattern clearly is, I would be happy to spend the money. Independent designers can only do so much to bring their unit costs down and still eat. I think there's room for everything - digital downloads and the physical pattern that you will treasure because it's just such a delight. Variety is the spice of life!

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    2. You must lobby to get them stocked where you are so you can avoid the shipping costs! :) In the UK we can buy Papercut Patterns from Sewbox for £12 - £16. I don't think that's at all expensive considering the time and energy that has gone into creating them, the beautiful and sustainable packaging, plus the fact that we are buying the right to use someone else's design. I'm very happy to pay this for an independent sewing pattern design which has not been produced with the economies of scale that the massive companies can afford.

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  8. These patterns have all got a personal touch...expensive....no. They are individual and as Katie herself says...can be made many times over in different types of fabric. Other online boutique patterns are in this price range too. Katie's patterns areinnovative and fun both in how they have been designed but also the way they are made. The circle top in merino is on my list!

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  9. I've seen these before (Denim Skirts has made a couple of the patterns up http://denimskirtsandotherstuff.blogspot.com/) but they're a little expensive. I might just have to bite the bullet some time as a special gift to myself because they look so fun!

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  10. Ah, I remember seeing these at some point last year - I was dying over the packaging, which is ADORABLE. I want that Milano cape with every fiber in my being.

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  11. Wow, i'm so pleased to find out about Papercut Patterns - the circle top looks perfect for me, even as a newbie, I hope the UK stockists catch up soon! :)

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  12. I love finding new independent patternmakers too! Thanks for introducing me to this lovely lad!

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  13. Thanks for the link Molly! I love the Miss Chalmers' skirt and have made 3 of them. I've also made the hoody and the circle top but haven't yet blogged the circle top.

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    1. I'd love to know how you found the circle top... it looks so simple but in an ingenious way!

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  14. This pattern line is a great find. Fabulous!

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  15. looks delicious... lovely interview too!

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  16. Thanks for a wonderfull interview. I love to read about people who have the courage to start their own business doing what they love. Reading about their journey is very inspiring and makes me want to start my own.

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  17. I love that cape although not sure I would wear it enough to make it worthwhile?? These patterns are gorgeous and I can buy them quite easily here in Oz - perhaps I could do a swap with those who find it easy to buy Colette patterns!!

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  18. Thanks for this post! I love learning about indie pattern companies!

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  19. I've not seen these patterns before, thank you for the introduction! Pattern packaging has always been important to me (maybe that's my graphic designer side coming out) and these are lovely. I may have to have one!

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  20. Ooh, these are fab patterns and the packing is amazing! So glad she is local - hurrah!

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  21. Great post on the Papercut Pattern site, as a newbie to sewing clothing only 7 months in, I find I am starting to like unique patterns from far off places or far off time. I luv the Circle top, I must make it. The interview was a plus, it was a nice touch to read a bit about what goes on behind the scenes.

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  22. I've been eyeing up the Watson Jacket for a while and can't wait to see your version. Think it still a bit advanced for me but definitely considering the Milano Cape sometime soon.

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  23. Thanks so much for all the lovely comments and feedback! Still being a very new company, it's great to hear your thoughts.
    Katie x

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  24. Great coat, but really $35 for a pattern is ridiculous.

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  25. I think it's a very fair price for a beautiful, original design. I just bought one, can't wait to make it!

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  26. How absolutely fantastic - a New Zealand indie pattern company! I can buy local! I agree the price is a bit steep, but then I find Colette pretty steep as well, once you take into account shipping down here. Also, in NZ we regularly have to pay $20+ for Big Four patterns so while these are on the higher side, they're not 'ridiculous'.

    Gorgeous packaging!

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  27. Totally awesome - I am buying the Pleated Pant pattern today! I love how creative our Kiwi cousins are (being an Aussie, but in this hyperconnected world we can all claim Kiwis as our cousins, I think). I'm very happy to pay for quality, independant, unique design - especially when it's eco friendly. Thanks for making this one known Tilly!

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  28. ooo thanks for highlighting this pattern company, I haven't heard of them and the capelet looks really cute.

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