It's been just over 24 hours since the launch of our first printed patterns
and I am hugely excited to say that I posted the first batch of orders out this morning! I hadn't originally planned to produce printed patterns; I'm a big fan of pdfs and find the cutting and sticking process therapeutic as opposed to tiresome, but of course I appreciate that this process is neither easy (nor fun) for many people and hey, I sure love a good printed pattern with pretty packaging as much as the next sewist.
So this new evolution in the business was a bit unexpected. It was thanks to the New Craft House
summer party – after enthusiastically booking a stand there to promote my patterns, I started thinking outside of the safe pdf-only box I'd been sitting in and over the course of one excited afternoon did some research, some costings, some forecasts and some mock-ups and suddenly the game had changed! Since then I've been through seemingly endless iterations of designs and colours, familiarised myself with paper weights (I feel like I could practically tell you grams per square metre with a stroke of a sheet now...) and experimented with a million ways to fold a sheet of A0 paper... I exaggerate, but it's not an exaggeration to say I've dreamt about envelopes on more than one recent occasion.
The illustrations on the back of each envelope are based on the streets or areas which have inspired (and named) the patterns. Carnaby Street was a pretty straightforward one – I've chosen to feature the shops and buildings from my preferred end of the street, the one that begins with that sewist's dream, Liberty's.
For Bloomsbury I took inspiration from Gower Street, whose rows of tall brick terraces are archetypal of the area and must surely be filled top-to-toe with books (or so I dream...).
Portobello is the only street illustration with colours, because the wonderful painted houses that form the backdrop to (possibly) London's most famous market are pretty much my favourite shades.
The illustrations that form the pattern border on the front are similarly inspired by the individual areas' reputations – Carnaby for sixties' fashion and shopping; Bloomsbury for writers and their works; Portobello for its amazingly varied market stalls - everything from exotic fruit and foods to antiques and knick-knacks. I rather love the bizarre pineapple and teapot pairing on Portobello!
Excuse my limited grasp of colour modes but these are a touch more muted than they appear when printed!
The patterns are printed on durable paper up in Edinburgh; the envelopes locally here in London; the instruction booklets very locally here in my flat :) But we can send these out worldwide – check out the FAQs section
for full details on postage costs.
The top instruction booklet is one of the ones I made before realising quite how much ink full-colour borders were going to drink up! I think of them as limited edition...
We've also set-up arrangements with a couple of other shops – physical and online – so very soon you'll be able to purchase Nina Lee Patterns in person at Crafty Sew and So
in Leicester, or along with some fabulous fabric from new store Sew Me Sunshine
.* And of course you can come along and see the patterns and me in person at the Great British Sewing Bee Live
on 21-24 September! This new phase is incredibly exciting and I can't wait to send more printed patterns off to lovely sewists around the world; I've now got to crack on with getting those Kew illustrations done...
*If you're a shop interested in stocking our patterns, do get in touch with me via firstname.lastname@example.org!