Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hollyburn Sew-Along - An Interview with Tasia

Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt Sew-Along

Welcome to the next post in the Hollyburn Sew-Along! Incase you've missed any, here are the posts we've had so far:
Inspiration (Part 1)
Inspiration (Part 2)
Choosing a view
- Choosing and Buying Fabric
- Changing the Length

As today is actually my birthday, I'm taking a bit of a day off with the Sew-Along, and instead have a different kind of post for you that I'm excited about; Tasia from Sewaholic Patterns (the designer of the skirt we're sewing) was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, so today I'm sharing her answers.

When you're starting a new pattern how to you begin? 
[Tasia] I begin with a basic idea, whether it's a detail I want to include, or a sewing technique, or a problem that needs to be solved. From the initial idea, I work on the design until it's evolved into something real. For example, with the Hollyburn skirt I wanted to create a simple, flattering skirt that would work well for beginners. For the Renfrew Top, I wanted to make sewing with knits as painless as possible, so I designed a top that wouldn't require a serger and where the hems were finished with fabric bands, for a clean and tidy look. With the Thurlow Trousers I was excited about adding an extension at the centre back of the trousers, like men's suit pants, for easy alterations. There's usually one main concept behind each pattern that I start with and the design evolves from there.

About how long does it take from concept to finished pattern?
[Tasia] About six months, depending on how well the initial muslin turns out. Some ideas come to life easily, and some are more of a challenge to finalize! If I'm having a hard time translating my ideas from my imagination to a 3-D garment, I'll put that design on hold and move forward with the ones that are coming together well.

You've shared with us some of the progress as you've been setting up your company, but what has taken you most by surprise about the process?
[Tasia] I'm surprised about how long the pattern development process can take, if I don't stay on schedule! It shouldn't be a surprise, but I find myself caught up in many time-consuming things that take me away from the core of my business, which is designing and developing patterns. I thought I'd have more free time to sew, funny enough! There are so many aspects to running a business that I didn't consider, or if I did, I didn't think they would take that much time. I'm surprised (although not as much anymore) about the constant troubleshooting. Things go wrong in a business quite frequently! It's up to me to find solutions as problems arise as an entrepreneur and solo business owner, while still keeping everything else running.

What was the first thing you remember sewing? How old were you?
[Tasia] I remember making Barbie clothes when I was about six or eight. My Barbie wore a hooded cape, a suede miniskirt and other super-stylish pieces. That was the first time I discovered the freedom and self-expression of sewing your own clothing! Barbie patterns had 1/4" seam allowances, so when I moved up to sewing real-person clothing I found the 5/8" seam allowances so generous, so it was no problem moving on to sewing my own clothing after sewing for my dolls.

What's your worst sewing habit?
[Tasia] I'm a fabulous project-starter and a terrible finisher. I love to dream up new projects, but often I run out of time or energy to finish them. I have more 'theoretical clothes' that are still in fabric form than actual clothes! I also hold pins between my teeth and I put off changing my serger thread if the current colour is 'close enough.' I'm sure I have other bad habits but those are the first that come to mind.

What's the best piece of advice you could give to fellow sewers?
[Tasia] Experiment! Try new things, read books, sew patterns from different pattern companies. Don't be afraid to try out a new technique or a pattern that scares you, and don't be afraid to make mistakes. It's only fabric! Enjoy the process of sewing, rather than rushing to the finish line just to have a completed garment. Try to match your real-life wardrobe and style to your sewing projects so that you're more likely to love and wear the things you sew. Above all, remember that it's supposed to be fun!

Any chance you could share anything about what's coming up for Sewaholic patterns in 2013?
[Tasia] I'm planning a variety of new patterns for 2013 - some are comfy and cosy and some will be perfect for the office. I'm especially excited about the cosy patterns. I love a pretty dress as much as the next girl, but sometimes you just want to pull on something comforting at the end of the day. My goal is to offer a wide range of patterns for real life, from weekend to work, as well as lounging at home and going on vacation. So look for many exciting new styles coming up this year!

And lastly, can you settle a discussion I had with some friends; how do you pronounce your name? 
[Tasia] It's Tasia, like Tass-ee-ahh. Like Tania would be with a S. emphasis on the TAS part. TAS-ee-ah.

Thanks again Tasia, for taking the time to answer my questions!

Missed any of the sew-along posts, or just want to re-read them? You can find the full list here.


  1. Happy Birthday Rachel and I hope you're enjoying your special day... thanks for sharing the interview with us and I'm loving the sew-along too!

  2. Happy Birthday! Great interview - it's always lovely to hear from the real people behind the patterns. My pattern arrived today, so I'll be toile-ing this weekend :)

  3. Happy birthday sweetie. What a great interview too! Thanks for the present to us! Once my pattern arrives I'll be getting on board with this sew along! Sam xox

  4. Happy Birthday!! I hope you enjoy it :)
    Thanks for the interview with Tasia ~ she is one of my favorites :) I absolutely LOVE her patterns


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