We’re thrilled to have Gabriela of Chalk & Notch as our featured designer this month (November, 2018). To celebrate, their patterns are on sale all month! Use the coupon code CHALKNOTCH at checkout for 15% off. Read on to get to know the designer a bit better.
How long have you been sewing? Designing?
My mom sewed and because it was normal to sew in my household, I never felt intimidated to try. I decided to pursue fashion design for college, and after checking out my local options, I attended West Valley College in Saratoga, CA. They have a great Fashion Design and Apparel Technology program and the campus is beautiful, located right next to the Santa Cruz Mountains. After college, I worked in the apparel industry for 8 years before deciding to stay home with my kids. My first industry job was as a pattern maker for a small custom shop. After that, I worked as a product developer for a larger company, managing the development of overseas production for men’s sportswear. I learned so much working at these two very different companies, but ultimately I wanted to stay at home after having kids.
Tell us a bit about where you live/work.
In 2015, I decided I wanted to create a business and join the online sewing community. I didn’t know much about it at all, so I started engaging with people on social media and learning as much as I could. We had moved back to our hometown, and I had a bit more space than our one-bedroom city apartment and more support from family. I released my first Girl’s pattern at the end of 2015 and my first Women’s pattern in 2017. I still work from home in a small corner in our bedroom. I’d love a separate studio space and we may add on at some point, but it works best for my studio to be in our home.
How do you describe your personal style? Your pattern company’s style?
I would say Chalk and Notch patterns are all pretty feminine, but I hope they are also wearable and stylish. I prefer flattering styles, not necessarily fitted garments, and you can see that reflected in my patterns. I like wearing dresses since it’s easy to put on one garment and feel put together. To be honest, most days I don’t really need to change out of my workout clothes since I’m just at home, running back and forth to drop-offs and pick-ups. I have added a few patterns to my line that are more casual because I selfishly wanted them in my closet (like the Pony & Pixie).
Have you been pregnant or nursed? Did you sew for yourself at the time?
I have three kids: 4, 6 & 10. I did not sew for myself during the 6 years of pregnancy & nursing, but looking back on that time now, I wish I had.
Tell us about one of the patterns you have for sale on Maternity Sewing.
The Fringe has been a very popular style and one of my personal favorites as well. It’s super comfortable (I never add the waist ties), I feel really put together when wearing it and depending on the fabric, it can be casual or dressy. It’s also pretty easy to fit so I think it works on a variety of body types. (Check out the Fringe Maternity Tutorial we have on our blog!)
Do you have any words to share about body positivity or self-confidence and how it can relate to sewing?
I believe that feeling good really starts with taking care of yourself in any way that works for you; you shouldn’t feel bad about putting yourself first. For body confidence, I know it’s hard to feel confident in a body that doesn’t really feel like your own anymore and that’s okay. Things are different after kids; there’s no getting around that. Finding clothes that fit your style while being comfortable can be very helpful. Sewing can also be a creative outlet that is just for you, which is really helpful during a time when you are giving so much of yourself. Overall, give yourself some grace during pregnancy and while raising young children. We are all just doing our best and that’s enough.
Thanks Gabriela! Loved getting to know our featured designer? Check out our other featured designers! And don’t forget to enter CHALKNOTCH at checkout te get 15% off their patterns.