First of all I wish you a happy new, healthy and creative year 2021! Matching my last project 2020 (blouse Lola by Apolline Patterns) there is today the third part of the blog series "Chatting out of the sewing box with..."*.
 
When looking for beautiful French patterns, you can't help but come across Apolline Patterns, a label founded by Estelle only in 2019. The 30 years young Parisian designs, draws and sews her collections alone from her home, making her passion her profession. Estelle tells us in a very detailed way about her label, the story behind it and gives us an insight into her work and life, so we can get a better idea of who is behind all the beautiful garments. At Apolline Patterns you'll find patterns that are feminine, sophisticated, timeless and offer lots of variation.

* "Chatting out of the sewing box" (Aus dem Nähkästchen plaudern)  is as german idiom, meaning that someone reveals something secret.  This comes from the fact that women used to hide secret things in their sewing box.


© Apolline Patterns
© Apolline Patterns
How did it come to the launch of your label? Why?

 

I first opened my blog, Some Place Called Home. I talked about sewing and did my first «home-made» clothes and creations. I shared my garments on Instagram. And both my blog and IG were more and more read. Some people kept asking me «could we have the pattern for that?». So I saw an opportunity to do my own business while doing what I loved: pattern design and sewing. I launched Apolline Patterns in 2019, just one year after speaking couture on my blog. I wanted to launch a pattern company that is modern, very feminine, and elegant. I want people to be proud of their handmade clothes, and for your friends to ask you «where have you bought that top?», to which you will respond fiercely: «I did it myself!»

What did you do before Apolline Patterns?
Before Apolline Patterns, I was first a «movie» journalist. It was a very great job: I watched movies and talked about them, I interviewed top actors and actresses. I did my first Cannes Festival. It was incredible. Unfortunately, the agency I was working for had financial issues so I was dismissed for economic reasons.  Then, I was a press officer in a global communication agency. It was a great opportunity that taught me a lot on how to make your business attractive. It is during this job that I started my blog, Some Place Called Home and Apolline Patterns. I quitted my job last march to work for Apolline at 100 % (and it was really the best decision I ever made).

How would you describe the style of Apolline Patterns?
My patterns aim to be modern, timeless, elegant, feminine. And comfortable. I am quite confident we can dress very well and still be very at ease in our clothes. I love to make timeless and classic clothes, with the little detail that makes your garment unique.
© Apolline Patterns
© Apolline Patterns
From the idea to the implementation of a pattern. How is the process and how long does it take?
Designing and conceiving a pattern approximately takes one to two months. I usually work with a collection of 3 to 4 patterns, so these collections take 5 to 6 months time! It is quite long. Once you have the idea, you have to assess if it is a good idea for a lots of reasons: will it suit as many people as possible? Is it too difficult? Is it a garment people will find attractive because they can wear it often? etc. Then, I usually draw the pattern and test it in my size. It can take one to two weeks. When I have a definitive version, I usually start writing the sewing instructions and illustrate them. I also pick some fabrics to make the first prototypes of the pattern (in real fabrics). I work a lot behind my MAC to grade the pattern, start page layout, trying to make all these lines understandable for my future clients. 
Then, the long part comes: all my patterns are sent to testing, so my «testing team» can help me identify potential errors or misunderstandings. It is a crucial phase, and it can take from 4 to 6 weeks. When I have their feedbacks, it’s usually 3 weeks before the launch, I implement feedback and sent my patterns to printing. I work a lot behind the computer to prepare the PDF versions, the e-shop on the website, and communication content... 

What tips can you give others to sew a perfect piece of clothing?

I would say : take your time, it is the best way to sew clothes you will wear. Take your time to do great finishing for your garment. When you are tired, or start being impatient, just stop and start again the day after. I would also advice people to try their garment before the final steps. It is easier to adjust the waistline, for example, before sewing the belt or the skirt which is attached.

 

© Apolline Patterns
© Apolline Patterns

What do you like to do besides sew?

I love listening to music and podcasts. I can really just sit there and listen for a couple hours, doing nothing else. I like dancing a lot too, my husband and I take some class regularly ! And I love organizing week-ends in France : it’s such a beautiful country (and I am afraid of plane, so Europe or abroad is not always an option).

Are you sewing with other patterns, too or just your own? If yes, which designer do you like?
I very rarely sew other patterns : what I love about sewing is actually pattern designing. So every clothes I make is a way to give birth to an idea of clothes. Sewing is often just a mean to achieve my ideas.
 
What inspires you (to create new patterns)?
Movies, TV series, US and British ready-to-wear designers, French bridal companies. There is a lot of details in all those clothes, that’s what really inspire me. I love historical movies or TV series because before, people really « get dressed ». Today, we can go to the Opera or Ballet in our jeans. Sometimes I regret that. So I get inspired by movies and TV series and I find ways to make a garment modern, wearable on a daily basis, and always refined.
© Apolline Patterns
© Apolline Patterns

What does a working day with you look like?

I work from home, this is important to know. Usually I start my day preparing and sending orders, then answering to my emails - always with a tea beside me. Then, it depends of the time of the year : either I design a new pattern, or sew a clothes, or write and illustrate the instructions of my patterns, or shoot a new collection. At some most specific time, I can spend days recording the video DIY for my patterns and then mounting them on Adobe Premiere. At the end of the day, I usually take care of my blog or Instagram, answering to comments and preparing new posts. What is great about having your business? You do all kind of things and never get bored!

 

© Apolline Patterns
© Apolline Patterns

What else would you like to do that you haven't done yet?

I would love, one day, to make limited edition of fabrics, that I would design along with a fabric designer. I would also love to write a book with my patterns.  I would like to organize real photoshoots with other people than me, who do not have the same morphology, for people to realize that Apolline Patterns can dress all kind of bodies. That’s my next project :)

 

What do you wish for the future?

I wish the Apolline Patterns adventure to last for as long as it can. It’s very simple, but I am having the time of my life doing this job. I wish for nothing else… (except maybe having a flat big enough to actually have a sewing room)

I would like to thank Estelle very much for taking the time to answer the questions in such detail. I am very happy that she gives us the opportunity to get to know her better and to get this interesting insight into her life.


For all of you who today hear about Apolline Patterns for the first time: Be sure to stop by and be enchanted by the French fashion you can sew yourself! It's worth it :)