Tell us abit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Chelsea. I am a maker and designer based out of Sacramento, CA. I am the founder of Friday Pattern Company. We make patterns that are fun and accessible to the modern sewist.
Talk us a little about the creation process- from idea to final product. How big is your team?
My team is just me! I get help occasionally and have a few people I hire for photoshoots and things like that but for now, FPC is a one woman show. My creation process starts with thinking about the type of garment I want to design and what I want people to be able to do in it. From there I experiment with fabric and drafting the pattern. I spend a lot of time thinking about how my designs can be fun to sew. I really try to avoid fiddly bits or difficult construction. After the design and drafting the pattern, I have to do all of the not so fun stuff like writing instructions and making pattern cutting layouts.
What do you love most about having your own business?
I love getting to be creative! Having a job where I get to make things and use my imagination is all I have ever wanted to do.
Can you talk us through a failure or a setback in your business that you learned from or an experience that helped improve your business.
The first patterns I made weren’t at the level that they are now. One of those patterns was featured in a large sewing challenge and it was the first time a bigger audience was sewing with my patterns. I got some bad feedback and at the time it felt like my company was over. But I cried it out, broke the feedback down into individual steps, and fixed the pattern. I created a more thorough pattern testing process and really focused in on the areas of my patterns that needed improvement. It was hard going through that but it was honestly the best thing that could have ever happened to my business!
What is the best and the hardest part about being your own boss?
The best part is getting to work at my own rhythm. I’m a night owl and because of the creative aspect of my job, sometimes I need to do things that don’t seem like work to get inspired (like go on a walk or sit on a bench and people watch for a couple hours). So sometimes I don’t start working until noon and I keep working until 11 or 12 at night. But that is what feels right for how my brain works.
The worst part is that I feel like everything is on my shoulders. There is a lot of stress and the work is literally never done.
What was the first thing you ever remember making on your own? Tell us about this memory.
One of the first things I ever made was a small lap quilt. I made it with my grandma. After we made the top and it was time to quilt it, I asked her why we couldn’t just draw the lines on because in my mind it would be faster and look the same. My grandma, being the wisest and most wonderful person in the world, said we could, and we did. That is how I learned why you quilt your quilts instead of just drawing the quilting lines on with a Bic pen. I love the way my grandma taught me. I learned so much more from doing things wrong than I would have if she had just told me we had to quilt it.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability is a big part of Friday Pattern Co. I am constantly evaluating my impact both as an individual and as a company. The fashion industry, especially fast fashion, is extremely destructive both environmentally and socially. Sewing offers an option to step out of that world and slow down. The process of making brings a lot of mindfulness to what goes into creating a garment.
Do you have a mentor or a muse?
My grandmother who taught me how to sew is my mentor and muse. She passed away a while back but her presence is so strong in everything I make. She was this artsy bohemian woman who moved from Hawaii on her own when she was a teen. She embedded herself in the art scene in Venice, CA and was just the coolest person in the world. She was a fiber artist, florist, sewist, and just amazing person. Whenever we were together we made stuff. We would build, and sew, and cook. Getting to see the way she lived her life with so much creativity and art really inspired me to follow the path that I am on today.
How important is social media to your business?
Social media is more important to my business than I am comfortable with! It’s easy to feel cynical about social media but it is a really amazing platform to connect with people. The sewing community, especially on Instagram is such an amazing space. It is so inspiring to see the things people make and how the make a pattern their own!
Do you have a community of crafters/ makers around you or do you find you are on your own?
I have an amazing community of makers around me. I have a group of people who I sew with every Wednesday night at my studio. It is so fun having them to gossip about fabric with and being able to bounce ideas off of each other.
Also, my studio is in a shared creative space. I work in a big room with a bunch of other creatives. There is a florist, a woman who makes amazing polymer clay jewelry, a woman who does alterations, and a photographer. We get to keep eachother sane and commiserate about the highs and lows of owning your own business.
What does success mean to you?
That is a really tough question. I am an Enneagram type 3 which is mostly characterized by being competitive. I find I am mostly competitive with myself and that I have outrageous and unattainable expectations of myself and my success. Even when I reach goals that I set out for myself, I push the marker higher so that it is just out of reach.
The better part of me knows that success is finding a balance. Being able to be present in your life and having the ability to do the things you love. This is what I have been trying to focus on lately. Trying to cultivate a work-life that has structure and doesn’t consume me.
What have you chosen to make out of FS linen and why?
I made a modified version of my newest pattern release, the Adrianna Dress. I added a faux button placket and fabric covered buttons along the front of the dress. I love the texture and pattern of Yarn Dyed Linen fabric and how it lends itself to the simple lines of the dress.