Who is Experimental Space Patterns
I’m Andrea, and I run Experimental Space Patterns. It’s just me here and that means I take care of everything from sketching out and designing the patterns (one of my favourite parts!), to digitalising them for PDF and print use, arranging the packaging, website maintenance, to bookkeeping. Some of those things are more interesting than others!
Over 10 years ago I started designing knitting patterns. I was always knitting. Anywhere with a moment and I’d have my knitting bag out to try to do a few rows. At some point, I dusted off my sewing machine and as soon as I did it completely took over my knitting time. Very shortly after, my same interest in designing new things and working out the best way to construct them led me to start designing sewing patterns.
Why did I name the company Experimental Space?
The name Experimental Space comes from before I was even designing patterns. I love learning new things and initially used the website as a blog for whatever hobby was occupying me at the time. It was my space for experimenting with new things and seeing where they took me. When I started designing sewing patterns, I realised it is the perfect name to explain both what I do as a designer and what everyone else does in their own sewing space: Trying out new patterns & techniques, finding out what we like, don’t like, we experiment in our own little space.
I like figuring out how and why things work and then finding ways they could be better. While designing my patterns I am constantly deliberating over which construction method is best for both the finished result as well as making sure it’s an enjoyable experience. I’ll fall asleep thinking about the best way to enclose a seam and wake up considering collar options.
My dream for Experimental Space being is a brand that excites people with the designs and creates patterns that are rewarding to sew. I absolutely love seeing people make up the designs and even more so when I find out they’ve learned a new technique while using one of the patterns.
Why I chose the envelope artwork style
I originally worked in software development specialising in the video games sector. The artwork we were using for their projects was stunning and I thought it would be amazing to have a full cover illustration creating new characters and set in a scene to show off the garments in a creative and beautiful way. I spoke to a character designer I knew and she loved the idea so we immediately got to work.
I show her the finished garment, walk her through the details that need to come across in the artwork, and give her a rough idea of the characters I’d like to see. She then comes back to me with some scene ideas and sketches before moving on to the colour. It’s always very exciting to see the artwork come to life!
I’ve actually used two different artists. My first artist created the covers for Evelyn and Casey. Unfortunately, due to her work commitments, she no longer had time for commissions. I was concerned about finding another artist that could replace her, especially as I’d just started to establish myself as a pattern company using this style of envelope cover, but the next artist I found has been brilliant. She also happened to be a character designer from the video games world and I couldn’t have been happier to find her. She is responsible for the beautiful Josie, Rosalee and Lily covers. I’m eager to design my next pattern if just to get to work with her on the next piece of artwork for it!
How I choose what to design
I always design things that I want to wear. I won’t stick in a certain collar type just because it’s “on trend”. Or design a garment style if I know I don’t like it. My view is I’m trying to create a collection I am excited to put on, feel good in, and am comfortable wearing. I figure if I do that there must be others out there that would appreciate the same things. Or at least that’s what I hope for!
When I move past the concept stage I start considering how best to construct it. I put a lot of thought into how to make it easy to sew and producing an item that looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside. Also which way is the best way to do it, and not just the way people usually do it. Things should change and evolve to make things easier. If something doesn’t make sense I’m excited to see how it can be improved.
As a designer, I think the most exciting thing to hear is when someone says they’ve learned something new or upskilled from one of my patterns. It’s such a brilliant feeling to know someone has upped their sewing skills by taking a chance on something they didn’t know how to do and trusted in the pattern to get them through it.
The end of my rambling
Thanks for reading! I hope that was an interesting little glimpse into my world at Experimental Space patterns. I’d love to know what you think or if you have any questions. I’ve popped a little form below if you do!
Experimental Space Patterns