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An Interview With Kay Whitt of Serendipity Studios Pattern

September 8, 2009

You've got such a wonderful way with color and pattern as well as
fashionable pattern styles, what world were you in before pattern design?

Believe it or not, I was an elementary school teacher! I taught second and fourth graders for 9 years before starting my design company 8 years ago, but during that time and before that I have always sewn. I would have to say that my love of color and design started when I was a child.
I am fortunate to have a wonderful mother who taught me to sew at that time. I began with simple hand embroidery around age 7 and moved on to the sewing machine shortly thereafter. I started sewing clothes for my dolls and making pillows like most young beginner sewers do. By the time I was in junior high, I was making clothing for myself. I always enjoyed using commercial patterns and altering them to my liking...changing the style as I desired to suit whatever tastes I had at the time. Those were the seeds that started what I do today. I have no formal design training, rather I rely on my instincts when designing a new style. I let the fabrics speak to me when choosing them for a design. I guess because I have been sewing for so many years, I just know when it feels like a good "marriage of fabric and design".

During the time that I was teaching, I continued to sew for myself and even made some seasonal things that I would sell to colleagues. Everyone loved them so much that they kept encouraging me to pursue it as a career. Because it has always been a passion of mine, I decided to explore the possibilities, even taking a weekend class for how to start a small business. This helped me to form the idea of designing sewing patterns....basically taking the skills and passion that I already had and creating a business that I love to be a part of each and every day.

Where do you get your inspiration for new designs?

Well, it varies. My mind always has a new idea simmering on the back burner so to speak, whether I am aware of it or not! Sometimes it starts with a great piece of fabric. Other times, it may start with a design that I see in high fashion which sparks the idea of how I could use a design element from here or there to create something unique that is current, yet has a classic feel. Most of the time, I wake up in the middle of the night with how it will all come together. It seems to be a typical occurrence among designers. I can't tell you how many times I have had that conversation with other designers in the industry!

You have some fabulous jacket and topper coat patterns. I see you at Quilt Market wearing them. Is that a special garment for you?

Absolutely! I love creating the special wardrobe I wear at market. It is a time for me to show how the most current fabrics offered in the industry can relate to beautiful clothing. I am fortunate to have some great relationships with fabric companies, so a lot of times I get advance fabrics to play with from premiering collections. This helps to promote how the fabrics can be used in my designs as well as help sell the fabrics for the various companies. It is a win-win for all of us.

What are your favorite colors and motifs?

Wow, that is a hard question to answer. I have to say that I have a strong weakness for greens of all hues. There is just something so organic and beautiful about green! I often have to steer myself into other colors, as there are many others that I love. Right now, I am loving aquas, browns, grays, and of course the ever classic black and white. As far as motifs go, I would have to say that I love anything large scale, so damask prints, florals, geometrics, really anything that communicates a strong design element does it for me. I find that these types of fabrics speak well in clothing as well as bag design.

What do you like to sew for yourself the most? And, what fabrics do you like to wear?

I love to make dresses and skirts for myself. I probably have more skirts than anything. They are just so easy to sew and wear, since you can pair them with casual accessories or really dress them up for a special occasion. As far as fabrics are concerned, I mostly wear high quality cottons, but I do love linen and silk as well. I particularly love pairing different textures together. One of my favorite combinations is silk and cotton.

I understand you are working on your first book! Can you tell us a little about it?

I am so excited about the book! It is a collection of sewing designs geared toward clothing. There will be skirts, tunics and dresses, jackets, and bags. I just finished the manuscript, but there is a lot more to do before the book is ready for release. I am hand illustrating the whole thing, so there will be a lot of detail to accompany the instructional steps. I feel like this will really help beginners and be a beautiful addition to the book as well. There will also be a special section on sewing technique as well as a chapter devoted to custom fitting the patterns. We are offering full size pattern sheets for the projects that will be ready to use, so no tracing or use of a copier will be necessary.

My hope is that this will not only be a book with wonderful designs, but a powerful reference for any sewer, not to mention an inspiration to think outside the box and make these designs your own. The book is slated for release next summer, so keep an eye out!

Do you have other hobbies, or does the pattern design business allow for anything other than sewing?

Oh yes, I have a lot of hobbies. Juggling it all requires some real discipline! I still love to do hand embroidery and pick that up from time to time. I also crochet and knit, so you can say that I love all types of handwork. I also dabble in gardening and have a wealth of pepper plants and herbs in my garden at the moment. I enjoy cooking also, especially pairing a quality meal with a good glass of wine....perfect after a long day of design and sewing!

Serendipity Studios Patterns have a feminine, classic silhouette with a twist. The definitely have the look of those beautiful garments you see in those cute boutiques around the country. Now you can make those looks that fit you well in the colors and fabrics you like! A couple of my favori Thumbnail image for lifestyle_shots_SabrinaDress_91_4A.jpgte styles include The Sabrina Tunic, The Sophia Trench and The Juliet Tunic.

1 Comment

The patterns are really cool and stunning. Good work. Thanks for sharing.

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This page contains a single entry by Kristl Pelz published on September 8, 2009 8:00 AM.

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