Pattern Making Musings: Madalynne


Welcome one, welcome all to the last Pattern Making Musings! Boy, what a month it has been, and we are ending on a high with some great advice from Maddie of Madalynne.

Starting as something to occupy her during a holiday, Sewing turned out to be the most amazing transition for Maddie and you should hop on over to her website to have a read of how she got where she got! Starting out as a self confessed ‘Science Nerd’, she attended college yet never graduated, deciding instead to do something which I strongly advocate- get industry experience and stay there if someone offers you a job! Starting out as a Production/Technical Designer- which means tons of Pattern Making!- for Urban Outfitters she now teams Dressmaking and Pattern Making with Blogging for Urban Outfitters and… but I’ll let Maddie introduce herself properly…

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Hi, my name is Maddie Flanigan and I am the blogger behind Madalynne, the cool sewing and pattern making blog. If Steve McQueen was the ‘King of Cool,” then Madalynne is the “Queen of Cool.” My blog covers everything from how to draft a Sloper (Basic Block) to interviews with seamstresses and what projects I’m currently working on. For two and a half years, my day job was in the technical design department for a very large fashion company in Philadelphia, and about a year ago, this company took note of my personal blog and asked me to start an intranet blog that would create a cohesive voice for all their brands. Sweet, right? I consider myself one lucky lady to be able to do what I love both day and night (blog and sew), not to mention I receive a stellar discount off some really fancy clothes!

Do you have any other Blogs or Websites you would recommend?

All sewing and pattern making blogs provide a lot of useful information and each one has their own vibe. If you’re looking to strengthen your patterning and sewing skills, don’t focus on a particular blog, instead, pay attention to the post content. Any post about a garment that a blogger just made will detail the construction steps and tricks they used – that’s where you gain a lot of information.

What has been the best piece of Pattern Cutting advice you have been given?

The best pattern making advice that was been given to me was “use common sense.” At the time, I was working as an assistant technical designer and the woman I reported to, Alla, was a Russian pattern maker with over 30 years experience. I was a newbie in the industry, so I asked a lot of questions, but a woman can only handle so many, “Should I reduce the rise? Can I bring in the width from the side seams? What if I increased bottom opening?” After asking my umpteenth question, Alla turned to me and said, “Use your common sense!” So simple, but so true. Pattern making is not rocket science – a pattern’s curves and shapes must make sense and if they don’t, just put two brain cells together and make it make sense.


What is your must have item of equipment?

For this question, I’m going to have to answer with one of the simplest tools – a ruler or a measuring tape. Because I have experience in technical design, I’m a numbers kind of pattern maker / seamstress and I rely on my “specs.” When drafting, sewing, or altering a shirt, and this concept applies to other garments as well, I know that a body length spec (HPS to bottom opening) of 24” is perfect for my height and that anything longer than 29” long will look like a tunic on me. I stick to my numbers so much that I know my armhole depth by heart!

What Pattern, that you have you made, makes you the most proud?

I used to make elaborate garments that would take months to complete, but after finishing them, those clothes sat in my closet unworn because, well, where the heck am I going to wear a ball gown?! Over time, I’ve simplified the things that I make and as a result, I’m wearing more me-made clothing. Now, what makes me proud is not only that a garment is beautifully constructed, but that it’s wearable.

Which if the Independent Pattern Companies out there do you love at the moment?

Right now, my favourite pattern line is actually a book – Stylish Dress Book. It’s a Japanese sewing book that contains 15+ simple patterns. The designs are simple but also feminine and pretty. What I like most about these books is that even with a demanding full-time job, I can complete projects within weeks, not months, and that’s a great feeling.

How super cool is Madalynne? I especially love her advice about using your common sense. I am always telling my Pattern Class to use their eye, and if it looks a little odd on the Flat Pattern, it probably will make up odd. Don’t be timid- ironing out mistakes is what Toiles are for!

As ever, I would love to hear what you all have to say, comment below to join in! If you would like to read the other Pattern Making Musings the first was by Alexandra of IN-HOUSE Patterns, the second was from the lovely Sarai of Colette and last weeks was from Hannah of Sinbad & Sailor. Don’t forget to comment on Hannah interview to be in with a chance of winning a fandabbydozey Pattern from this new but oh so cool Pattern Company!

This weeks give away is all me baby! I am offering up the below bundle of goodies…

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A delicious Vintage Butterick Skirt Pattern, a stack of Dressmaking Zines including my newest Zips Zine, and one of my soon to be launched Sewing Tidy’s! Wow!! As ever, comment below to win. I’ll close the competition at midnight GMT 4th October 2013.

If you have just stumbled upon Pattern Month feel free to catch up through various posts from making the Basic BlocksToile and tips like Marking your Patterns, the Order of Sewing,  and Scaling Up Vintage Patterns! It’s great to have you with us!

Happy Patterning!

15 thoughts on “Pattern Making Musings: Madalynne

  1. I’ve really enjoyed this month! Pattern drafting is something I can’t do yet, but I’m very intrigued and hope to learn and be able to do it one day. Thanks a lot!

  2. Like the advice to use common sense, worked for me in the class this week and compliments your advice Laura that if it doesn’t look right it probably isn’t.

  3. Ohh what a nice giveaway! Please count me in 🙂
    I have been following Maddie’s blog for sometime and, although I’m just a beginner, I love reading about the technical side of sewing.

  4. Thanks for the interview. I always like hearing how people end up doing what they do and what part luck, being open to new opportunities etc plays in these routes. I sometimes wonder what I’d be doing if textiles in all its forms had been presented to me as a serious subject when I was at school. More interviews please!

    1. I completely agree, I didn’t have it as a serious subject either however; I was lucky to have a Mum who encouraged me! Glad you like!! I’m working on another crazy Month- to happen in November- so I’m sure to have more interviews lol!! xxx

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