Melissa Mora’s company Blank Slate Patterns has been on my radar since I started sewing. I was introduced to it very early on because I won a contest that entitled me to a free pattern from her line.
Melissa is also behind MellySews, which is the inspiration and blog companion to the Blank Slate Patterns shop. She is also the author of one of the first sewing books I ever got: Sundressing!
Blank Slate Patterns has also been a part of the Sew My Style challenge all the way since 2018. First came the Forsythe Trousers, then last year we had the Novelista shirt, and this year it’s the Marigold.
We thank Melissa for supporting the challenge for so long, and asked her to discuss Blank Slate Patterns with us.
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What is your name? Melissa
What is your company’s name and how did you come up with it? Blank Slate Patterns. I wanted something that encouraged people to think about putting their own spin on their sewing
How long has your company existed? Since 2012
When did you decide to become a pattern designer? When I couldn’t find a toddler blazer pattern for my oldest son. (Editor’s note: see more of that story here.)
What inspired you to start creating patterns? Being able to make a living making the things I wished existed
What background to you have in pattern design (self-taught, technical schooling, etc)? My background is in costuming and making patterns for the theatre. Before I designed patterns I was a public high school theatre teacher, so part of my job was to teach sewing and to help construct costumes. There weren’t always all the resources or patterns there are now for creating historic costumes, so anytime we did a show that required patterns I couldn’t find, I had to make them. Which meant almost every show.
Are you #teamcut or #teamtrace? Team cut, always. Though when I did find patterns that would work for a show, I would cut on the largest lines of multi-size patterns and fold down the edges so that I could use them again in other sizes.
Is your sewing space messy? Can we see a picture? Nope, I can’t create in a mess. Plus my current space is open to my bedroom, so I wouldn’t be able to sleep either. I have a tour of my current space here, and that is pretty much what it always looks like.
If you didn’t have sewing, what would your creative outlet be? I also enjoy knitting, spinning yarn, reading, writing and painting.
What is the barrier for designers and companies to make more menswear patterns that are modern and current, especially as the men’s sewing community grows? I can’t answer on a systemic level, but for me personally it’s because I don’t know very many men who sew, and I am hopelessly out of touch with men’s fashion. My husband is a football coach, so his entire wardrobe – even for work – is t-shirts, shorts and track pants. And not even cool track pants – he prefers the baggy nylon ones from the early 2000s that are hard to find now. Maybe if one of my sons gets into fashion I’ll take another look, but currently their wardrobes follow their dad.
What do you hope people gain from using your patterns? I hope they gain confidence in fitting themselves and have fun playing with personal expression using my patterns as a starting point.
Thanks for sharing, Melissa!
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