How I got re-started making clothes

First off, a disclaimer: I don’t really sew. I mean, I know how to sew, and I certainly sew for my quilts. But I don’t sew clothing. I don’t enjoy sewing on a sleeve, or making buttonholes. Plackets? Nah! How ironic that I have added clothing pattern designer to my repertoire!

Anyway, many of you know that I am the designer of the Wild Onion Jacket Master Pattern. I thought it might be interesting to show you how the pattern came about. I’ve been thinking about this topic lately because of a conversation I had the other day with my buddy, Sherry.

Sherry and I belong to a mini quilt group (we call ourselves Stitch and B****). One night, about 5 years ago, a like minded neighbor asked to join the group. Well, she walked in wearing the most astonishing vest that she’d made in a Rosemary Eichorn class. Sherry and I are the “Queens of What If”, so we spent the next week thinking and talking about this wonderous vest. We decided to try Rosemary’s technique (with our own spin) on a sweatshirt. Here’s my result:


I loved loved loved collaging, but I didn’t like the way the sweatshirt fit. When you cut off the neck ribbing, the neckline gets big and sloppy. When you cut off the sleeve ribbing, the sleeves get too short. The body of the jacket leaves way too much of my nether regions exposed. So, for about 5 seconds, I contemplated sewing a real jacket.

When I came to my senses, I decided to make my own pattern. Sherry and I crawled around on her living room floor, drawing and erasing on taped together sheets of newspaper. Coached by our fellow S&B’ers, Isabel and Millie , we came up with the first version of what has become the

Wild Onion Jacket MasterPattern . cover-woj-master-pattern-blog.jpg

And this, dear reader, is what happens when you let strangers into your home. From that first sweatshirt version, to dozens of jackets later, my studio is now filled with jackets in all stages of completion. I know all kinds of pattern designer terminology. I’ve got a guy down in Los Angeles who lives to laugh at my newspaper patterns (he cleans them up and makes everything professional). But mostly, it can lead to some of the most exciting and satisfying creativity.

So I guess the moral of this post is: when opportunity knocks, if she’s wearing cool clothes, let her in!



Filed under Collage, Patterns, Quilted Jacket, Quilting, sewing

3 responses to “How I got re-started making clothes

  1. Susan! A REAL blog post!! Yay you!!

    I enjoyed the story of the conception of the Wild Onion Jacket. Isn’t it funny how you get yourself into things you never thought you would be doing?!


  2. I really love your story of how your patterns came to be……… neat to see another artists process and inspiration. I live to hear things like this!

    Thanks so much for sharing this fun story.

    love Violette

  3. Susan, isn’t it wonderful when opportunity knocks! Love your pattern and loved your story. Thanks for sharing!

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