Today’s featured designer is Heather of the blog Closet Case Files and the pattern shop Closet Case Patterns. Closet Case Patterns opened shop in 2013 with the release of her first pattern, the Bombshell swimsuit pattern. Heather lives in Montreal, and she designs patterns that are modern and on trend. One thing that I have loved about this tour is even though a couple of these designers are local to me, I’ve learned of a few new places and shops to try out, and today is no exception! Read the interview below and then enter the giveaway at the end!
Closet Case Files began a few years ago, when Heather started feeling like she had become a slave to the fast fashion culture. Sewing changed everything for her, and she began to teach herself new techniques which eventually led her to developing pattern making skills. Her first pattern, the Bombshell got a huge response (I remember seeing an article about the Bombshell and Heather in the Montreal media a short time later). A year later she left her commercial interior design job and began focusing her efforts on pattern making and her blog. You can read more on her About page here.
Can you describe a typical day for you?
I would love to be one of those go get-ems that rise at 6am for meditation and yoga, but I am NOT a morning person. I generally get up between 8 and 9am and spend a quiet hour drinking tea and eating breakfast (yoghurt & granola, toast or a breakfast sandwich) while reading my blog roll and catching up with email. My days vary depending on what stage I’m at with a project. Sometimes I may be in front of the computer for 12 hours straight working on spreadsheets, layouts and instructions; other days may find me sewing samples or working on the blog. Once a week I run errands in the afternoon which always makes me remember how great it is to work for myself – it feels like playing hooky! If I’m not feeling too stressed, every once and a while I’ll dedicate a “free day” to sewing for myself. On admin heavy days, lately I’ve been meeting up with other freelance friends to hang out in cafes and work together. It feels much less lonely and makes the admin stuff a little less boring.I give myself at least 45 minutes for lunch every day to make something healthy and read a book and reset my brain. I’m trying to get in the habit of going for a walk in the afternoon, especially when I start to feel my back knot up. I generally call it quits at around 6:30, but when I’m in the crunch zone it’s not unusual for me to work till 9pm or later. If i’m not working late, I’ll make dinner with my boyfriend or (less often) meet up with friends. I’m generally in bed by 1am after reading myself to sleep. It’s a quiet, work-filled life. I don’t socialize a fraction as much as I used to but I’m really fulfilled and energized by what I’m doing these days so I don’t mind.
What was the first thing you ever sewed that you can remember? How did it go?
Since this is Canada inspired blog tour, tell me a little about where you live, your corner of Montreal. Is there one place nearby that you always recommend to new visitors? (A shop, restaurant or landmark).
I’ve lived in Villeray for 11 years now. It’s a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood just south of the highway, and a few kilometers north of the much hipper Plateau/Mile End area. It was not cool at all when I moved up here, but now it’s slowly gentrifying so there are lots of great cafes and restaurants popping up. I love Huis Clos for cocktails (7659 Rue Saint-Denis) and Larue & Fils (405 Rue Jarry E) for lattes and croissants. Marche Hung Phat (7099 Rue Saint-Denis) has the best banh mi sandwiches, Restaurant Iris (50 Rue Jarry E) is my go-to lunch spot for El Salvadorian pupusas, and you can’t beat strolling around the Jean Talon market for produce, meat and cheese. Luckily I’m a short walk away from both of Montreal’s fabric districts. I highly recommend stopping by Globetex on St. Laurent for crazy wholesale deals, or walking north on St. Hubert from Jean Talon for a large variety of family owned fabric and notions shops.
Is there any other place in Canada that you’ve always wanted to visit or that you do visit on a regular basis?
I’ve been all over Canada but I would really love to explore the West Coast further. I have a lot of friends in Victoria and Vancouver and I’m hoping to take a working holiday one of these days and spend a month or so in northern BC, the Yukon and hopping around all of those coastal islands. I will get over my fear of Goretex and ” the active lifestyle” if it means enjoying all that beauty for a short while!
Do you think that being Canadian influences your designs?
That’s an interesting question! I don’t think it has necessarily impacted specific pattern decisions I’ve made, but living in Montreal, which is such an insanely affordable city, definitely made my business possible. I definitely would not have embarked on this career change if I was working a traditional job in a big city like New York or Toronto. My rent is really cheap and it’s given me the freedom to be creative for a living. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a really inspiring, vibrant place to live.
What are your top 3 favourite sewing or creative resources? (books, websites, etc)
Sewing wise, I’m often surprised by how often a google search on an obscure sewing technique leads me to Pattern Review. The folks in those forums are sewing ninjas. I love Instagram; I’m constantly getting inspired there, and it’s my favourite way to communicate with people. Otherwise, I love turning to books for inspiration and help. Lately I’ve really enjoyed Shirtmaking by David Page Coffin and I’m constantly referring to the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing for construction methods.
What is your #1 sewing tip or trick?
Use a great iron and invest in pressing tools like a ham, sleeveboard and clapper. Sewing is 80% pressing, and most mistakes can be repaired with a burst of steam and a little pressure!
Do you have any future plans for Closet Case Files that you would like to share? Any new patterns coming out?
I am hoping to move to paper patterns this year, but it’s contingent on finding funding at this point. It’s very expensive to get that element going! I have plans to release two more patterns this year, and as always, I’m putting a lot of effort into writing useful and fun content on the blog! It’s my first love and I have some exciting plans for new features and posts this year.
You can find out more about Closet Case Files on the blog here.
Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win TWO PDF patterns of choice!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
These three awesome bloggers will be sharing their versions of a pattern from Closet Case Pattern: