The Square Rose Prototyping Process

Once I get an inspiration to create a new purse, I try to sew up an example, knowing that it will be the first of many iterations to translate my concept to an attractive and workable purse.  After at least half a dozen tries, I’m finally able to come up with a design that makes sense and that can be translated to a pattern that can be reproduced by a majority of customers who purchase my pattern.  That’s when the hard work begins, as I write the instructions to guide everyone to readily produce the purse I envisioned.

My first step is to have my husband review my instructions.  John has an engineering background, has the ability to write clearly, and knows very little about sewing, so he’s perfect for the job!  If John can understand my instructions, I know I’m on the right track, and he helps me clarify and simplify things.

Once I feel my instructions and pattern are in good shape, I test them by creating a number of prototype copies and give the instructions to sewers.  After about six weeks, my colleagues gather at my home to provide feedback about how their sewing experiences went as well as to show their own purse creations to everyone.  It’s fun to see all the different fabric choices and creative embellishments.  We spend several hours going through the pattern instructions in detail discussing what went well and what still needs work, and I’m always pleased about how the quality of their input helps me improve and clarify my pattern instructions.  They are also very proud of their new purses, and are happy to allow me to photograph their purses so I can include them in my Gallery on my website as inspiration to others.

For my new Peaty Back-Bag, ten people participated in the prototyping process.  I cannot thank the prototype testers enough for their insightful feedback and support, so I can deliver the best possible patterns to my Square Rose customers.

And Sew It Begins … or Why I Started This Blog.

I am very excited about starting this blog, because there is so much that I want to say about my designs that I don’t get to say in my instructions. My patterns include detailed clear instructions that have been tested and revised based on feedback from my local focus group as well as customers. I have also taught many classes around making bags from my patterns. The experiences that people have in my classes are enriched because they are able to see so many examples and learn about the whys and “what ifs” behind my bag designs. We explore creative options that my purse designs offer as well as embellishment ideas and new techniques.

My classes also give me an opportunity to learn from my students, and this helps me make my designs better. I hope this blog will be a way for me to interact with users of my patterns as well as communicate such things as any corrections or clarifications to the instructions, added information on pattern construction and embellishments, and to share creative ideas. Many of my patterns are blank canvases, and I like to try all kinds of techniques such as fabric manipulations, surface design methods, and beading to customize my designs, which I want to share with you. The main focus of the blog will be the Square Rose patterns, but my other passions are beaded embellishment, surface design, and even fabric dying techniques that I know will sneak into this blog.

I hope that this blog will form a basis for creating a little artistic community where we can all share our ideas and enhance our enjoyment of our fiber arts and artistic passions.