This summer we are going to be adding some exciting new brands of digital sewing patterns to the Oliver + S shop and introducing you to a number of talented independent designers and pattern makers.
We kick that off today by welcoming Kennis Wong of Itch to Stitch Designs to the blog. The complete collection of Itch to Stitch styles is available now in the Oliver + S shop. After you read Kennis’s introduction, you can jump over there to see her work. Here’s Kennis.
Hi! I am Kennis Wong, the owner and designer of Itch to Stitch Designs. I am so honored that my sewing patterns are now part of the lineup in the Oliver + S shop. Let me introduce myself and share with you my sewing and design journey.
I learned dressmaking when I was 13 years ago at school in Hong Kong. I remember the first items I made were a pair of shorts and a baby dress. I was so proud of them. I am not sure why my school only had treadle machines, but that’s what I used to make them. (I am not that old; electric sewing machines were certainly invented by then and were more popular than treadle machines.) We learned sewing the “proper” and labor-intensive way; everything was tailor-tacked and basted by hand before the fabric touched any sewing machine. I found that sewing was relaxing and intuitive to me, and I was good at it. Since then sewing has been my lifelong passion.
Until a few years ago, sewing had always been just a hobby for me. My career had nothing to do with sewing and apparel design. I was in technology, marketing, analytics as well as product and project management. As you might guess from my professional background, I am a very detailed and disciplined person. These qualities help me tremendously when making sewing patterns and writing instructions.
In 2014, my husband and I decided to make a big change in our lives. It had always been our dream to move to Costa Rica. After years of fantasizing, we abandoned the corporate ladder, packed our bags, and moved to the jungle on the first day of the year. Back then, I didn’t know what I would do for a living. But we had a little runway, and I was confident that we would be able to figure out something in time. What could possibly go wrong? The worst that could happen was just going back to the US to find a new job.
In time, I did figure out what to do. My criteria of a job is something I want and love to do. I want to get up every day and look forward to doing it. What if I combined my decades of sewing experience and love, and put myself through intensive learning of design and drafting? Before moving, I had taken apparel design and draping classes at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, and I loved every minute of it.
Yes, that became the plan, and that’s how Itch to Stitch was born.
It’s funny and surprising how life works. In my dressmaking class, my 13-year-old self wouldn’t have thought she was preparing for a career that she would eventually love!
My sewing experience does come into play. Itch to Stitch’s sewing patterns are known for having thorough and ingenious instructions for high-quality finishes. That’s because I understand steps that could be confusing for budding at-home seamstresses, because I have been through them myself. I have also gone through great and less-than-ideal sewing instructions in countless patterns, so I was in your shoes and have felt the pain before. Sometimes I found that the traditional techniques are not up to par when compared to the ready-to-wear techniques. In that case, I tirelessly reverse-engineer store-bought clothing to make the techniques accessible to at-home seamstresses.
Itch to Stitch’s style is actually my personal style. It is modern and elegant, yet suitable for everyday wear. I also combine comfort and beauty. After all, who wants to be stuck in clothing that irritates you all day long? I hope that everyone who makes a garment out of an Itch to Stitch pattern will enjoy wearing it all the time.
Fit is also an important part of Itch to Stitch patterns. Every pattern is thoroughly tested and worn by ladies of different size and shape. Many Itch to Stitch patterns also come in various cup sizes, so you will get a good bust fit regardless with minimal effort.
Let me show you a few of my Itch to Stitch favorites.
The Marbella Dress was Itch to Stitch’s first pattern, and it has remained my most popular pattern. It is an elegant boat neck (“Mar” = ocean and “bella” = beauty; you have to have a boat on top of this beautiful ocean!) and is sleeveless. Originally the dress comes in a tulip skirt on top of a fitted bodice. Later, I added a half-circle skirt as an option. The pattern comes in A, B, C, and D cups with instructions to line or not line the dress. And let’s not forget about pockets! Dresses with pockets are amazing. The Marbella Dress has in-seam pockets too.
The Lisbon Cardigan is additive. Once you make one, you will have to make at least four more. The pattern comes in long and three-quarter sleeves, as well as a long and cropped bodice. The versatility of the style earned the Lisbon Cardigan the “Best Debut Pattern of 2016” award from PatternReview.
Bonn Shirt and Dress
The Bonn Shirt and Dress pattern is another extremely popular pattern from Itch to Stitch. It comes in A, B, C, D, and DD cups; shirt and dress lengths; as well as long, three-quarter, short, and flare sleeves. My favorite feature of the garment is the V neck with modified mandarin collar.
I actually have more favorites, but I can’t go on and on here. I invite you to check out my corner of the Oliver + S shop to find several favorites of your own!