Yes! I'm still alive! And rather than make gradual entries explaining the various projects in my life, I'm going to post one big one!
What have I been up to? Well, I work at a dog supply store, believe it or not. This takes a little imagination for some, and I'll try to keep it brief. Basically the owners have two businesses, one being a retail store, and the other a doggy apparel company. As I'm sure you guessed, they have a room in the back of their retail store that's filled with wonderful industrial sewing machines, fabric, patternmaking supplies, and a wealth of budding product ideas. This is where I hang out, like a weird secretive teenager or something. They hired me to do random sewing jobs and product development. (I swear it gets more interesting if you hang in there). All of this was with the promise of the opportunity to design down the road somewhere. I do occasionally make dog coats, but they actually have them produced by a factory in California. They actually have quite a large stock of them, and sell them all over the country and in catalogs. This is Marnie.
Out of a general love for dogs, the owners have taken an interest in the African Wild Dogs, who are very amazing and sadly endangered animals. In order to raise money for the African Wild Dog Project, they designed a fleece fabric that looks like their beautiful marbleized furry coats. They also have big ears. See how cute?
Well that's Marnie again, but Wild Dogs too. ANYwho... it was my job to help design garments out of this fabric. Fleece not ever being a first choice of mine, was a bit of a challenge at first, but I've gotten more used to it. They coat that Marnie is wearing is the Cozy Coat pattern that they've been using for years. I didn't have anything to do with the design of that. I was very excited to design actual people clothes! That's right, for people, not dogs. I usually have to run that by people twice. There are companies out there who make hoodies for dogs, but we are not one of them. At any rate, we developed a pattern for a women's zip-up hoodie, which came out very nicely. I designed arm warmers, a hat, a child's hoodie, and am working on a Men's hoodie. I wish I had a picture of the women's one, because it is a little difficult to imagine, but very nice. The shoulders, sleeves, and hood are made of the AWD fabric, and the body is made of black fleece. It has a nicely fitting contoured hood, with raglan sleeves in the back. The front is a combined raglan and yoke, making the sleeve one continuous piece from center front, down the sleeve, and around to the back. It's nice and long and fits closely (aka not frumpy!) and has a large kangaroo pocket as well. What else? Well, I'll have to post a pic later. Thanks for humoring me, fellow patternmaking geeks! Here is a picture of the Children's one I did. Oh, and my adorable nieces who agreed to model them for $2 each! Warning: cute little "ear gimmick"!
The idea is to sell them wherever we can, hopefully even zoo gift-shops and the like, and donate a percentage or a dollar amount to the cause. Here's a link for more info on the African Wild Dog Project: www.save-the-african-wild-dog.com
Oh yeah, and I am currently working on doggy shoes! They present interesting patternmaking challenges. So far we've come up with an interesting moccasin style boot!