Today I’m sharing the interview with Kristiann Boos of Victory Patterns. I was super excited (and super nervous) when I contacted her and she said yes to taking part in the tour. I have heard nothing but good things about her patterns, and have been admiring the Ava and Lola for ages. I’ve only sewn for myself a couple times and have never done a FBA before which I know I’ll need to do and it makes me too nervous to cut out my patterns! Anyway, enough of that. Read the interview below to learn more about Kristiann and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end and get the discount code!
I read on your about page that you used to teach sewing classes. How did you first get into teaching sewing? Can you talk a little about that?
I studied Fashion design at Ryerson and afterwards moved to London to work as a stylist. On a visit home, I walked by the storefront and through the window I saw sewing machines lined along the wall. I became really curious about what it was all about and I contacted the shop owner and found out that it was a sewing lounge, something that was new at the time. This was about 8 years ago, so sewing was just on the verge of having a new life breathed into it. Once I moved back to Toronto, I began to teach there and was amazed to see how people were taking such a huge interest in the craft. It eventually helped to inspire me to start this line of patterns. I still teach there now, I can’t believe how fast time flies!
Can you describe a typical day for you?
My tasks vary depending on the project I’m working on. Some days can be spent mostly on the computer, grading patterns, writing instructions. Some days I’m hopping up and down from a table taking photos from a camera in the ceiling as I construct each step of a garment. Currently I’m designing new patterns to be drafted, which is always so much fun. So lately, my day looks like this. I ride my bike to the studio around 10:00. Grab a coffee from the café around the corner and dig into emails. I try to get office any computer work done in the first half of the day. I’ll pop out for lunch or pick up some veggies from the market and make something simple. If it’s a nice day, there’s a little park nearby to enjoy. Then it’s back to work and I’ll tuck my head into designing, drafting or sewing up some samples. I teach about twice a week, so some evening are spent at The Workroom with lovely, passionate new sewists. If I have a free evening, I’ll break for work around 6 or 7:00 and I’ll pop across the street for a bottle of wine and sew a bit for myself!
What was the first thing you ever sewed that you can remember? How did it go?
When I was a kid, my first machine make was a terry cloth shirt made out of a towel. It wasn’t the most beautiful thing ever, but I was pretty chuffed! I had to really wrestle to get myself out of it, because it had no stretch. Ak!
Since this is Canada inspired blog tour, tell me a little about where you live. Is there one place nearby that you always recommend to new visitors? (A shop, restaurant or landmark).
I live in Toronto, and I’m pretty in love with this place. I get really excited to play tour guide, so my list is a bit long. Oh boy, where do I start ?!?
St. Lawrence flea market is amazing on a Sunday for vintage treasures. They have a button lady that sells gorgeous glass buttons from the 20’s and 30’s. Across the street on a Saturday or during the week you’ll find the St. Lawrence Market, which has delicious fresh, local food.
The Distillery District is worth a visit. While it’s a big tourist destination, it’s stunning as it’s home to the largest Victorian industrial architecture in North America. There’s lots of nice shopping, restaurants, café’s and art studio’s to visit.
You’ll probably want to go fabric shopping while you’re here, so Queen street west is what is left of our fashion district, where much of our garment industry used to be. Now you can find a handful of decent fabric stores. For lunch, try a burger from P&L. It’s crazy delicious!
If you like history, the Spadina House let’s you step into the 1920-30’s. You can go on a tour for $8.00 and feel like you’re in Downton Abbey. Across the street, you can also visit Casa Loma. Yup, we have a castle! From this hill, you can see the whole city!
If you want to experience a piece of Toronto retail history before it’s too late, Honest Ed’s hold’s a special place in our hearts. The Mervish family was a major contributor’s to the art’s and culture scene, and when you step inside the store, you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time. It’s a labyrinth, it’s tacky – but and a gem! If you feel like everything today is just a bit too polished and perfect, this will take you back and warm your heart. At the very least, it’s beautiful to look when the sun goes down out as it’s quite a light show! Around the corner is a lovely little strip called Mirvish Village on Markham street. Check out Ewe Knit and the cafes, restaurants and vintage shops that line the street.
Kensington Market is just hidden behind Chinatown and it’s a little hippie/multi-cultural village in the city. There’s a great strip of vintage shops, yummy coffee, food from almost every corner of the world, and lots of great people watching. Get a salted cod sandwich at La Ti Colibri or a taco at Seven lives and visit Courage my Love. My studio is just around the corner, so we might just bump into each other!
Above all else, I think everyone in the city would agree that the most magical place is the Islands. You can take a ferry to get there and explore for the day. On Ward’s island, you’ll find the sweetest cottages divided by little walking paths and gardens. There are no roads or cars to be found. Pack picnic and spend the day at the beach – there’s a nude beach too 😉
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 never been to the east coast. I would love to take a road trip over there. I’d also love to visit the Yukon! My Canadian vacations now are mostly to Montreal or camping trips to Algonquin park That’s where the group of seven used to paint, it’s gorgeous!
Do you think that being Canadian influences your designs?
No, I don’t think it does. Aside from our extreme seasons which in part dictates what we wear. Perhaps because I’m not Canadian by birth and didn’t have a super Canadian upbringing; I grew up in Trinidad and Scotland before arriving here, but I’m happy to call it home now. But I think my influence comes greatly from my mom in the 70’s. I think our mom’s are always a big influence on shaping our style. My mom always had such an easy femininity about her. I’m very drawn to vintage clothes from many periods, as well as cultural dress. Aside from that, I can’t say altogether what influences me, as it changes all the time.
What are your top 3 favorite sewing or creative resources? (books, websites, etc)
For sewing, I love “The Vogue Sewing Book”, “The Guide to Fashion Sewing” and “High Fashion Sewing Secrets.” For creative resources, “The Art of Manipulating Fabric” and “The Complete Japanese Tie-Dying” and “Encyclopedia of Needlework by Therese De Dillmont I always look out for old sewing and pattern drafting books at thrift shops and I’ve managed to find some amazing gems!
What is your #1 sewing tip or trick?
Just patience. It’s simple and obvious but I find that I always have to remind myself of it, especially when sewing my own clothes. I can rush through and work in a haste of excitement to see the finished product, but if I remember to take my time with each step, I’ll just love the final garment so much more. I end up having more respect and appreciation for it, and then it will stay in my closet much longer.
But I love to sew French seams wherever possible!
Do you have any future plans for Victory Patterns that you would like to share? Any new patterns coming out?
Yes, but I can’t give you a date just yet. I’m wrapping up a book that I’ve been working on for the past year. It will be out in September and I’m now starting to draft new patterns. Stay tuned!
Victory Patterns is graciously offering my readers a discount of 15% off with the coupon code CANADATOUR.
Coupon code is valid in her shop from June 17 – 23, 2015
You can find out more about Victory Patterns here.
These awesome bloggers are sharing their versions of a pattern from Victory Patterns:
I’m also giving away 1 PDF pattern of choice from Victory Patterns! Enter in the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don’t forget to link up anything you’ve sewn up recently by any of the featured designers!! You could win a prize package with a retail value of over $300!! Go here to link up!
Ula writes for Lulu & Celeste