Sewing ModKid Style author Patty Young | Interview
Patty Young, a Bloomington, Illinois-based fabric designer, just released Sewing ModKid Style (John Wiley & Sons, $25), a hip, new clothing-pattern book geared toward parents of active girls. The Costa Rica native, former graphic-designer and self-taught pattern-maker is also working on updating her vibrant Andalucia fabric collection for Michael Miller Fabrics, planning a virtual book tour and cramming in her family’s spring break vacation, too. Nonetheless, the dynamo mom took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to tell us why today’s generation of girls is so different and why ModKid Style matters.
You said you fell into pattern design when you needed clothes to showcase your fabric designs. Why do you think your clothes immediately caught people’s attention?
The style is different from what was out there, more designer-y and bold because of my graphic design background. And I use a lot of knit fabrics, stretchy material, so it moves with the child. The clothes are not stuffy and rufflely. They’re made for modern girls—kids with very active lifestyles. Like my kids: They go to gymnastics, dance, and swimming. The clothes have cute styles but they also have to be something the kids can slip off immediately—their lifestyles demand it. The 20 patterns in my book let moms sew quick little pieces so they can mix and match no matter what the activity.
What was the inspiration for this project?
I wanted to create a full wardrobe. I gave myself the number 20, to create 20 pieces that could all be mixed and matched. I grew up in Costa Rica, where it's always warm, so I wanted to make something that would give me an appreciation for what it's like living in Illinois with the seasons. The idea was to keep the style going throughout, from sweaters to swim suits, scarves, leggings and headbands. But I wanted the collection to be made up of some things that can be made for any time of year if you just switch out the fabrics. So for example, a little dress can be sewn with thin jersey or made sleeveless to become a super light weight dress. But if you use stretch velvet or velour, or wear it with leggings and tights, it'll be great for winter. It's the same pattern but it will look completely different. So everything you need for all year is right there.
What do kids seem to love most about your designs?
Sometime I get a little wacky with colors and styles. I’m inspired by my daughters. The youngest is 7 years old and she refuses to wear matching socks. She’s got dozens of socks, but she insists on wearing ones that are not even the same height. I see her and all her little friends doing the same thing, so I started doing my weird mix-matching. Anything goes, as long as the kids are happy. There are no rules in fashion!
Young's Sewing ModKid Style is available at amazon.com, as well as other outlets.