I’m here today with my monthly pattern review! Every month I send an indie sewing pattern company a list of questions my readers helped me come up with and if they agree to answer, I buy a pattern and sew it up to share the whole process with you! Check out past reviews here!
This month I’m looking at Just Patterns. This French company makes chic but wearable clothes and I first learned about them when their newest pattern, the Claudia tank, was released fairly recently. Delphine is the owner of the company and she was delightful to interact with! Here are her answers to our questions!
What is your design background? When and why did you start making your own patterns?
I started sewing when I was in my teens. I was obsessed with the idea of recreating the garments that I couldn’t afford. However, unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have the skills or access to the resources that would have allowed me to make my dream wardrobe come true. I realized that the resources that would enable me to create the garments I was dreaming of, were not commonly available to home sewers. For the next 20 years, in parallel to studying and working at my day job, I read books, took pattern making and draping classes at fashion schools in New York and Paris, participated in the online sewing community and sewed a lot.
In 2013, I started a sewing blog (sewing tidbits) and I launched Just Patterns in 2017 during my maternity leave. It was initially launched with a friend working in the fashion industry but we split and I now continue on my own. The reason I sew and release patterns (to create my dream wardrobe) never changed, although the actual clothes have changed a lot since I was 14!
Who do you design for? Who is your Target Audience?
My sewing patterns are meant for dressmakers who are passionate about fashion, luxury ready-to-wear, and love detail-oriented sewing projects.
What level of sewer do you design for?
I design patterns for sewists who already know the basics of sewing. While it was not the case initially (and I’m still in the process of updating 2 older patterns), I now provide detailed and illustrated step-by-step instructions.
I do believe in empowering makers to up their skills and that each project is an opportunity to improve one’s skills. All patterns have a Resource Page, where I curate a list of tutorials and resources from the online sewing community. I also add specific tutorials and blog posts for inspiration and complex steps.
What is your price point and why?
My price point has evolved a lot since I launched in 2017. My initial idea was releasing patterns with minimal instructions at a cheaper price than most indie patterns (between 3$ and 7$ US). But, I quickly realized that not that many people had time or interest to sew with minimal instructions and that they didn’t mind higher prices if it meant detailed instructions. My new patterns (and the older ones I updated) are translated in French and in English, they have step-by-step instructions, an improved size range, pattern testers and editors are compensated. They are currently priced between 10$ and 14$ depending on the complexity.
I write an annual report of my sales and the expenditures since year 1, so the evolution in my thinking and strategy are well documented. You can read the 2020 report here.
What is your size range? Why did you pick this range? What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on?
My current size range is French 34 to 56 (bust 31 1/2 to 52 3/4 – 80cm to 134cm). The range is broken up into 2: size range 34-46 drafted for B/C cup and size range 46-56 for a DD cup. Both are drafted for a height of 5’5/1m65.
I’m French and I initially did not pay enough attention to the size range so I established 34-46 as it was the “standard”. That was a mistake and I started improving the size range in 2019. All my new patterns (3 in 2020) are published in the new size range. An older one was already updated (the Stephanie Skirt), one is completing its second round of testing (the Linda Wrap Dress) and my objective is to update the last one also in 2021.
Ideally I would like to go up to a size 60 (bust 57 1/2/ 146cm). But my development/fit size is a 50 and I do not have access to a fit model in the higher sizes, so I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to guarantee the quality of the drafting. I do grade up at the request of customers.
Do you support Black Lives Matter? What are some ways that you are anti racist and inclusive in your company on a day to day basis?
I do support Black Lives Matter. I published a diversity commitment in June 2020 and I updated it recently to include elements on racism towards Asian people and cultural appropriation. It’s visible on my website and social media. This commitment includes ongoing and future actions in issues like representation, marketing, cultural appropriation and transparency. I report on it annually as part of my income report.
Is there anything else you would like people just discovering your company to know?
I love sewing and can talk about it for hours. I actually just launched a sewing column where people can submit their questions and I have a lot of fun answering them!
But I’m also managing Just Patterns alone, doing everything from drafting, grading, photography, to updating the website and doing the accounting. In addition, I still freelance in my day job field and I raise a 4 year old. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and might not be able to respond to customers on time. Sorry!
I appreciate Delphine’s thoughts and all the time she took in letting us get to know her. I purchased two patterns from her and sewed them up as part of my Spring Capsule!
First, I wanted to try the Claudia Tank. Now I knew going in that this pattern might not be for me, I wasn’t sure about this shoulder pad trend! I made the straight size 38 out of this cotton jersey knit and the fit is great. I appreciate the finishings and details that are in such a simple pattern but I quickly learned, shoulder pads are not my thing. I already have broad shoulders and this silhouette draws a lot of attention to them! I removed them and am wearing it as a tank, but I don’t know that I would make this pattern again. I am glad I tried something a little trendier though and appreciate that it was an affordable pattern that made the risk really low and worth taking!
The second pattern I made was the Tyra Tank and I was confident that no matter what, I liked this style of oversized t-shirt. I used the same cotton jersey but in a different color and again made a straight size 38. Both of these patterns suggest ribbing for the neck band but I just used self fabric and they turned out great. I did change up the neck of the Tyra because after sewing it I wished it was a little lower. Not a big deal and I would absolutely make this again. I’ve even seen people on Instagram talking about turning it into a dress and I think that would be an easy and fantastic hack!
I really enjoyed working with these patterns. There are detailed instructions for every step, the prices are incredibly reasonable considering all the extra resources provided, and I love clothes that are simple and beautiful with wonderful extra details added in!