Sewing Indie Month and an interview with Kati from Kate & Rose

Did you know that September is National Sewing Month over in the United States? (Isn't that a wonderful idea? An entire month to celebrate sewing!) September is also when Sewing Indie Month is being held - a month-long celebration of indie patterns. There are lots of events happening as part of Sewing Indie Month - interviews with designers, tutorials and pattern "hacks", and a trio of contests. You can find out all the details over on the Sew Independant website.

Along with 20 other designers, Muse is taking part in Sewing Indie Month. Kat has been interviewed by the lovely team over at Sew Over It on their blog (which you can read about here, and get a hint about what the next Muse pattern may be!). And now it's our turn to interview another designer - Kati from Kate & Rose!

Hi Kati! Welcome! First up, introductions. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you for having me over at Muse Patterns! About me - I was born in Hungary but now live in New York City, in the Flower District. My little pattern design company is the start of my second career that I began when I had two little children at home. What I love about it is that it lets me unite my passion for sewing (I learned from my grandmother when I was 14) with learning new things, old with new, tradition with contemporary, daily life.

You produce a line of patterns called Kate & Rose - how would you describe your designs and aesthetic?
I'm very inspired by folk art and folk wear, from everywhere in the world. I love the way folk artists have always found ways to create complicated embellishments with simple materials and tools, like embroidering just with needle and thread on homespun linen. These were things every household in Central Europe would have had for hundreds of years. I love the way you can make the most mundane garment, like a simple top, personal by hand-stitching on it. To me, hand-stitching is a reminder that everything we wear daily was made by living hands. I want to recall some of this sense with my designs. I encourage - and love - hand-embroidery also because when I look at a finished piece it recalls to me my life, my family, and the things going on while I was working on it.

I see you've just released a new pattern this month, the Kinga skirt. What's the story behind this pattern? Where did you get the inspiration from?
The Northern part of Hungary is home to a group of villages that have some of my favorite Hungarian embroidery, with stylized flowers that are also shaped a bit life peacock feathers, and wildly colorful designs. I have two embroidery pattern sets based on these styles: the Faraway Garden and the Cabbage Rose Fancy sets. The outfits traditionally worn by women in this region have a long narrowish skirt with ribbon embellishments and a ruffle at the bottom. The Kinga skirt pattern was inspired by this skirt. I also talk about this in my tutorial for Lolita Patterns, where I show you how to make Lolita's Olive blouse in a way that completes the outfit.

A lot of your patterns are based on Eastern European folk costumes. What do you love the most about these garments and styles?
I love how exuberant and hopeful the colors and shapes are. While I don't believe most of the styles could actually be worn today, I'm fascinated by the idea of translating basic design features into contemporary garments.

Which is your favourite pattern that you've created so far? And why is it your favourite?
I have two favorite sewing patterns so far: the Giselle dress and the Zsálya top & dress pattern. I've seen so many different people, with different body types and personal styles make them and look beautiful wearing them, which is just so wonderful. I've also found a several different ways to make them, for a couple years now, and I find I keep wearing them over and over. 

What's your favourite part of creating a new pattern?
When it's done! I wish I could make that happen more often... But in all seriousness: when the pattern finally gets into a groove, and not just my samples but testers' samples come back working out and looking good.
What plans do you have for Kate & Rose over the next year?
The past year was more work family-wise than I'd anticipated and I've had to postpone several things I planned. Right now I'm a bit gun-shy committing to plans but, well, more patterns! I am also rebranding my embroidery patterns, with new packaging that includes color guides and an updated and improved stitch guide. I want to focus more on how embroidery can be incorporated into clothing, which is something that I'm keeping in mind with all plans for new sewing patterns.

You've just been on holiday over to Hungary - what's your favourite place to visit over there?
I love Budapest. It's a beautiful city and probably the easiest place to be in Hungary for foreigners these days. Right now, my family is completely taken with the Budapest Zoo and the area around the zoo, with the recreation castles, the art museums and the Hero's Plaza.

If we went to Hungary, what's one must-try food we should have?
Definitely have some palacsinta! These are the Hungarian version of crepes. The most elaborate kind is perhaps the Gundel palacsinta, which is made with a cream and walnut filling and chocolate sauce.

And finally, what's on your sewing table at the moment?
Oh dear, too many things. A Kinga skirt using Alison Glass Handcrafted fabric in a border print. A peasant blouse I plan to use a polka dot fabric for. Another peasant blouse with Anna Maria Horner's Loominous fabrics. All sewing I should have done weeks ago!

Thanks so much, Kati! It's always great to hear from designers about their businesses and their inspiration. Love the new skirt pattern! I think I'll be adding one of those to my sewing queue for this summer. ;-)
If you'd like to find out more about Kati and Kate & Rose patterns, here's where you can find her blog, and her online shop.

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