Liam patterns what have I got?
5pm, mid-april: “what have i got in the back of the cupboards that i can make into dinner?”
lockdown for me was like being stuck inside at high school on a rainy lunchtime: all that exists in the world is right in front of you. kind of the pits but also kind of the best thing.
the joy and sense of achievement i felt in using up that new type of lentils i bought ages ago or actually making the stock i had been freezing leftovers for was so real and so true. i wanted to bring that same feeling of worth and purpose back into my working life - both in the way i approached making a collection, and also in what i offered to our customers.
so! everything new in this collection is being sold as a pattern. yup, that’s right, a paper pattern that comes in an envelope that customers can use to make their very own creations.
there are 16 patterns across three different groups: modular, sets and offcuts (definitions below) and cover beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels.
modular: simple shapes with variations that can be added on to mix things up. like the carol bias slip - a slim line bias cut slip that also comes with a variation for narrow fabrics and a fluted hem. or the glen top - a relaxed fit woven t-shirt shape that can have the pack o’ sleeves added to it (five different variations of sleeve! party on!).
sets: a shape or design line that can be used across a few different garment types. like the anne - a wrap design that can be made as a dress, top, or a blouse with peplum hem. or the chloe - a relaxed pantsuit style with either a short or long leg and a narrow strap or drop shoulder top.
offcuts: free, downloadable .pdf files to use up offcuts or extra fabric - like our lil’ pouch or sleek mask.
i truly believe that the future is circular! and so circular considerations underpin all decisions made throughout this collection’s design and production process.
all fibre used to make the pattern paper, and the card for the envelopes they come in, is waste from (or the by-product of) sawn timber production from radiata pine forests in the north island of new zealand. the finished product is fsc certified and 100% recyclable, but my intention is that these patterns get used over and over again.
all samples have been made using fabric that was already in our office (either old sampling or ends from our bulk runs), and i have styled them with pieces that we already have in store.
because i was free of the demands of bulk production when designing the sample collection (that fabric is too difficult to cut! that colour is too weird! why on earth would you put those two fabrics together? you can’t use house paint to decorate garments!) i could be super playful with my material and colour choices. i hope that, in their own way, our customers will have as much fun experimenting as i did.
over lockdown i discovered a strong community of sewers through hosting sewing and patternmaking classes. it was the first time in ages that i got to spend time getting jazzed about different ways to do dart manipulations, or my view on how to (and imo how absolutely not to) add fullness to a skirt. what i loved about it is that the people who joined me on those zoom calls seemed just as interested in the minutiae of patternmaking as me and it made me fall in love with my job again, and grateful to feel like i belonged to something positive. we will be holding more of these sewing and patternmaking zooms over the next couple of months. for details and dates, keep an eye on @liampatterns
making things gives so much to people. there is a slowness and a very internal process that goes on when you make things with your hands that i think can be a powerful tool for positive mental health outcomes. it also, quite viscerally, shows us just how talented the people who make our clothes are. empowering and humanising these highly skilled machinists in a way that words on a page can’t.
there is such joy in being able to pass a skill on to another person, and a great way to give a loved one something enduring.
sustainable consumption - it’s an oxymoron really. this collection is a first step to radically address that. and so this collection is made up of, literally, what i have got.