On today’s post for Sewing Indie Month, I bring you an interview with Yuki, pattern designer for Waffle Patterns. She describes her patterns as having a simple design with a vintage essence with which you can make stylish and functional daily garments. I really like her designs, she knows how to balance originality with practicality in each of her designs. She describes creating something in the best way: “I think the whole experience through making by hand and sharing is a kind of yoga for our heart.” Read on to know more about her background, her design process, and her very cool pattern instructions!
Hi Yuki, please introduce yourself!
Hello Lisa and Paprika Patterns’ fans! I’m so happy to join here! I’m Yuki running Waffle Patterns and a Japanese living in Amsterdam, (so English is not my mother tongue so excuse me for my bad English in advance). Also, I’m one of the Paprika Pattern’s fans! (check my Jasper hoodie on my blog!).
What is your sewing and pattern making background?
I was sewing since I was a little girl with my mother and it was one of my hobby at that time. My idea of starting Waffle Patterns is based on my experience as a graphic and product designer.
I’m not very much confident to talk with people unfortunately, but I found the things I made or designed communicate much better than I speak. I believe that fact builds my faith. Since I realise this, to support self expression through the art and craft is my passion.
Also, I believe the power of the one-of-a-kind or the handmade. I worked on the mass production design for a long time. They make great products, but I prefer to share the feeling “I’m special” with my original one and love to see other people enjoying only one creations. I’m so happy to see my customers’ projects, and how they add their personal touch. I think the whole experience through making by hand and sharing is a kind of yoga for our heart.
Your instructions look very professional and fun. Do you create them yourself? How did you learn those skills?
Yes, I’m making all of them and love designing that! My knowledge of graphic design supports this and I believe my experience of surrounding foreign languages makes me more “visual communication” oriented. I’m trying to make them user friendly as much as I can. I hope many sewers in any age or culture background can try new techniques and step up with my instructions.
You have quite a few jackets and coats in your shop. Are those your favourite to design?
Yes, and I personally love to sew jackets and coats, because of they are severe with fitting. I never found my size in The Netherlands. (I’m much much shorter than The Netherlands average). So making by myself is the only way to get the perfect one. Sometimes making jacket looks difficult and takes much time, but actually it’s so fun and give us a sense of nice fulfilment. I hope many beginner sewers feel that with my jacket patterns.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
There are many things inspire me, but especially I love to visit trade shows or museums. Both the next seasons products and the historical beauties tell us a lot. I prefer not only fashion or fabrics related shows, but also other products like furnitures or 4wheelers.
What is your favourite part of the pattern making process?
I love all of the process, but enjoy more the basic design part with sketching, researching or making mood boards. I also love making instruction.
What is your least favourite part of the pattern making process?
It is not really the least favourite, but I tend to take too much time for grading, I think there should be easier and faster ways.
Do you have other jobs besides pattern making?
Yes, I’m a graphic designer, and now I want to work it for sewing related things more, like original fabric printings. Also, sometimes I help other indie designer’s instructions or translating their patterns to Japanese.
Do you have other hobbies?
When I was living in Japan, sewing and collecting vintage Kimono’s was my first hobby. now I’m enjoying trips and local sweets. You can find all my patterns are named as sweets or deserts. It’s very interesting hopping over European countries, each country has own culture and special local sweets!
How did you come to live in The Netherlands?
A design office in Tokyo which I was working for, sent me to their branch office in Amsterdam years ago. When I was finishing the 4 years term, I still wanted to stay more and already had a passion to start Waffle Patterns secretly, so I just quit the company and be a freelancer.
What is it like to live in Amsterdam, coming from Japan?
Tokyo is a very special city, too much service and high technology, speed and extreme trend, fashion and subcultures. We never bored with it, but sometimes very stressful, and unfortunately still Japanese culture tends to unfair for working females. My first year in Europe was a bit difficult to get used to the “inconvenience” but it calmed me down and taught me proceeding things carefully and slowly and helps me to find out what is important or priority. I love both of the cities and I’m so lucky for this experience.
Do you still have a (sewing) connection with Japan?
My base of sewing knowledge is the Japanese way, but unfortunately, I had no sewing friend in Japan (except my mother). It is amazing, Waffle Patterns starts making new connections with Japanese sewers. I want to see them actually someday. And I found Japanese sewing books are quite popular in the world, now I want to make new relations through those.
Again I’m so happy to see Lisa and sewers here! I hope everyone enjoy the Sewing Indie Month!
Thank you for this interview Yuki! Go check out her patterns in her shop.