Today as part of my The Pretty And The Kitsch Interviews series, I am bringing you an interview with Xandra, the awesome owner and creator of EvaDress Patterns! She is an incredibly kind and multi-talented woman and I’m so thrilled and thankful that she agreed to take time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions! I hope you all enjoy this interview!
Tell us about your business, EvaDress Patterns!
I offer reproductions of patterns from the 1860’s through the 1950’s that are in public domain. Original vintage patterns are also available.
The selection constantly grows as patterns are added to the collections throughout the year. I also offer some patterns of my own design based on fashions of days gone by.
I make these patterns available to ensure that the flattering lines and elegance of historical fashions do not fall the wayside.
When did you start your business? What inspired you to start it and what excites you about your work?
I started the business in 2000. I was heavily influenced by my father’s parents to whom I was very close. They are part of a long family line of independent business owners who raised my father and my uncle during The Depression years. They did so with unwavering family values despite their economic hardships and despite those hardships, they wore fabulous clothes!
Problem solving to create beautiful things excites me about my work!
What is your process? What tools do you like using? Where do you do your work? Can you walk us through a day in your life with your business?
The process of drafting a master sheet from an original set of vintage pattern pieces takes a number of days, but putting it in condensed terms, I hand draft carefully ironed vintage pattern pieces onto a large sheet of 36” wide paper to create a master sheet. I have the sheet scanned and use the scanned file as an underlayment in my pattern CAD program. From there, I draft each piece in preparation for grading a pattern into multiple sizes.
My process involves working between the 2-D pattern and a 3-D mock-up as I develop a multi-size pattern from a vintage original. I use a 1941 (the last pre-war home model) Singer sewing machine to sew mock-ups. I print my patterns on demand using a large-format plotter. I work in a studio at home.
What do you love the most about your business?
I love sharing the possibilities patterns offer with customers worldwide-a reward is getting to see what they create with the patterns.
For the reasons I stated in answer #2. The flattering styles of vintage designs never lose their appeal over time.
How do you choose which vintage patterns to reproduce?
I have carefully selected a vast array of designs over time in hopes of creating a ‘library’ of classics, but also include very rare styles. As late, I work to fulfill designs in popular demand such as 1940’s wide-leg trousers and 1930’s beach ‘pyjamas’.
What is your personal favourite vintage pattern?
My personal favourite pattern is the 1933 Katharine Hepburn Ensemble by Butterick.
Are you a seamstress yourself? If so, when did you begin sewing?
I consider myself a dressmaker and I began sewing when I was 12.
What started your love of vintage?
The influence of my dad’s parents sparked my love of vintage.
How would you describe your own style?
Since 2007, I’ve leaned more toward an eclectic style. Blending by-gone eras with a contemporary appeal and even incorporating unique hand-knit or crocheted pieces to accompany my sewn garments.
Who or what is your personal vintage style inspiration?
My dad’s mother is my vintage style inspiration. I began sewing vintage by emulating the early 1920’s dropped-waist dresses I have of her in photos!!
What is your favourite era for vintage?
The 1930’s is my favourite vintage era.
What is your favourite thing about vintage fashion and vintage sewing patterns?
My favourite thing about vintage fashion and vintage sewing patterns are the seemingly infinite details and technical aspects sewing with vintage patterns demand.
Tell us about yourself!
My career background is in architecture, for which I sewed my own clothing from 1930’s and 40’s patterns. Having moved from that profession to pattern-making was seamless for me (pun intended). At the interim, I have considered myself a vintage pattern architect!
What do you do in your free time?
In my free time, I spend time with my family and my three rescue rabbits.
Do you have any words of advice for someone who might be thinking of starting her own business, whether it be in vintage, pattern making, or any other creative fields?
My best advice for anyone starting any business of any kind is to give it time. Good business structure does not happen instantly. I’ve seen so many people get caught up the ‘glamour’ of having their own online or creative business without realizing it doesn’t happen overnight.
Do you have anything special you would like to promote to my readers?
I am happy to offer your readers 10 percent off any size order. Click on ‘Add a note to your order’ to type in Pretty10 upon checkout.
Where can we find you online?
I am at EvaDress.com.
Thank you so much, Xandra for allowing me to interview you, and for providing my readers with such a kind and generous offer! I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with me, and I wish you nothing but the best in everything you do!
If there is anyone you would like to see interviewed please let me know in the comments – you never know, you just might end up seeing them featured here!
All images in this interview used with kind permission from Xandra of EvaDress Patterns.