I am very excited to start what I hope will become a monthly series here on my blog and Youtube channel! I am purchasing and making a pattern from an indie pattern company and sharing the thoughts on my process. Along with looking at the pattern, I am sending the designer a list of questions that you all helped me come up with and sharing them here!
Full disclosure, my intention going into these reviews is to be positive. While I will absolutely offer any critical feedback or struggles I have, you will never see me drag a company. I will always reach out to the designer for any issues I may have and will let you know about them as well as their response.
I have a running list going of companies I hope to review, but please leave any that you know and love and want to get more love or any that you’ve been interested in trying!
Today I am looking at Kosedo Studio and reviewing the Lima Dress. I saw Sew Natural Dane post her dress earlier this summer and was intrigued by the sleeves. When I saw that Black Makers Matter was featuring this dress for the month of August (go check them out as they have a sew along and a coupon code!), I moved some things around to hurry up and get this dress made. Go check out the hashtag on Instagram to see some lovely versions and how this pattern looks on different bodies.
I reached out to Vanessa, knowing she was very busy this month, and she was so kind in her response and sent back the answers to the questions quickly. While I didn’t need customer service, I think this speaks to how quickly you could expect to get a response if you needed it! Here is what she had to say about her company!
What is your design background?
Creativity runs in the family; I grew up watching my mother sew and my father draw. I remember getting my first handwheel sewing machine for my 5th birthday; I fell in love instantly. Over the years, you could find me playing with different patterns and sketching designs. I always knew I wanted to study fashion design. On my journey to becoming, I studied fashion tailoring and fashion product development.
I took my first steps into the fashion industry about 15 years ago as a design assistant but quickly found my way to pattern making and fit technology.
Throughout the years, I’ve developed designs as a garment technician for famous highstreet brands. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world visiting and working with different garment factories. After witnessing firsthand the environmental and socio-economic impact of the fashion industry, I wanted to help get us back on track.
Sustainability has become a core pillar of my personal life; I hope by teaching people to sew, they’ll develop more respect for the skill and the time it takes to create a single piece of clothing (what we in the industry refer to as, slow fashion).
When and why did you start making your own patterns? Who do you design for?
My brand targets curvy women, women that love feminine style, bold colors, and prints.
What level of sewer do you design for?
The current patterns are for the intermediate level sewist. However, I want to have patterns with different skill levels so that the sewist’s talent will increase each time a pattern is finished and then move on to the next level of pattern. The degree of difficulty charts show you the skills my pattern requires.
What is your price point and why?
Due to my unique sizing system, it has taken a lot of time to develop the patterns. I currently have 3 standard sample sizes and 6 additional sizes. I believe you should be able to make the pattern by only looking at the illustrations, so extra care is put into the details of the illustrations. I do provide all the sizes, Copyshop option, all sizes in separate layer and seam allowance options for at home printing.
What is your size range? Why did you pick this range? What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on?
The size chart is developed with the curvy body in mind, length 168cm (5ft5) and Cup size B/C till G. The Kosedo size chart is unique in that sizes don’t grade up from a small size 6 to a 24 US. I grade in small groups of 5 sizes. I always sample and fit the middle size of each group and grade up and down only 2 sizes. This means that at the moment we have 3 sample sizes. Block sample sizes are A4 EU38/US6/UK10 B4 EUR47/US15/UK19 (due to the grading the size falls in-between sizes) C4 EUR54/US22/UK26. Developing patterns in like this achieves a better fit as we can make adjustments according to the size groups instead of having consistent and standard grading.
Why I developed a unique size chart?
In my mind, indie means uniqueness, thinking outside the box, representing minorities and making decisions based on my own values and beliefs. Instead of following the mainstream. I follow my own fashion sense and style. As an independent designer I work closely with the sewing community to serve their needs; and the community has curves.
I always found it strange that the fashion industry targets and develops clothes for only one body type; women with straight bodies, no hips, that don’t have many curves. I always said that when I started my own fashion business, I would make sure my brand was more size inclusive. When I started my business, I developed a unique size chart for my patterns because I didn’t want to start from a sizing system that didn’t recognize women like me with curves and a sway back.
The mainstream sizing systems also don’t take into account smaller women with fuller breasts, hips, and booty. The fashion industry seems to think that only plus-size women have curves. My clothes, patterns, and unique sizing chart offer solutions are designed with curves in mind. I’m surrounded by curvy girls everyday, in fact, I’m a curvy girl myself and it’s about time that there is a sizing system created to be inclusive.
Do you support Black Lives Matter?
Yes, of course, as a black woman living in the Netherlands who has worked in the fashion industry, I know very well what racism is. It gives me hope that we are now having well needed conversations. It’s important to me that my children live in a world where they can be themselves.
What are some ways that you are anti racist and inclusive in your company on a day to day basis?
I am really intentional with everything I do in my business from the models I work with to the illustrations I make and my sizing system. I specifically make patterns with curvy women in mind as the industry often excludes us.
Don’t you love her?! Here’s what I want to say about this pattern (I will list nitty gritty details below like always). It is obvious when making this pattern that Vanessa loves to sew. The attention to detail makes the process so enjoyable, I loved making this pattern as much as I love the result. She states her commitment to including curvy women in her patterns and the care with her sizing chart makes that clear. There are a lot of options and so much information to help you find your size. The drafting of this pattern is beautiful and I got a really great fit on my first try along with a dress that has beautiful finishes. I will absolutely be making this pattern again and would love to try the maxi version in a drapey fabric.
Pattern: The Lima Dress by Kosedo Studio in the shorter version
Size/adjustments made: I made size A6 and did take in the bodice a bit, would probably size down to A4 next time
Fabric: Soft washed linen in solid spice from Stylemaker
Final thoughts: I love the bodice of this dress so much that I have plans to work with it again, either to hack or add different sleeves. While not a beginner pattern, I would say that Vanessa’s instructions are clear enough for anyone wanting to expand their techniques and learn a few new skills.