Tools of the Trade: Pamela Cupit & The Maker's Journal

by Brianna Read Tools of the Trade visited with Pamela Cupit of The Maker's Journal this month to discover the creative tools in a contemporary pattern studio.  Recent years have seen an increase in the number of boutique cut and sew pattern houses many of which have growing numbers of devotees.

I was fortunate enough to have a mother who passed on her sewing knowledge to me in my youth and I have never been without a sewing machine in my own ever growing tool kit. In my opinion the growth of boutique pattern labels has been in answer to a dramatic gap in the commercial pattern market. Until recently, almost all patterns readily available to the average seamstress were decidedly lacking in, well, style.

It only takes a quick look at The Maker's Journal to get a sense of The Maker's style. There is a wonderful synthesis of youth and classic taste in each of the patterns released so far. The design of the patterns themselves continues this blend of classic and contemporary, the instructions use plain language and the diagrams are so clear. Using one of The Maker’s Journal patterns is a little like having a good teacher just over your shoulder. Everything is outlined, from the techniques you will need to the types of fabric best suited for the style.

If you get a little lost though, there are beautiful technique tutorials on the website which are fantastic for a little skills brush up. The clever how-to tutorials show how simple dressmaking can be, but what I am interested in is all of the blood, sweat and chalk powder that happens in order to create these easy to use patterns.

When I ask Pamela what it was that prompted her to begin The Maker’s Journal she recalls contemplating the designs in a Japanese pattern book and thinking it might be something she would like to try. Now, there is more to this of course. Pamela studied fashion, worked for several fashion designers and then shifted her career path into the realm of buying. Her experience in fashion design combined with a wonderful understanding of online retail experiences made the venture of The Maker’s Journal quite a perfect fit.

This particular interview left me feeling as though I had peeked inside the tool kit of a creative business woman… Pamela made mention of many character attributes which make The Maker’s Journal possible: Fearlessness and her ability to take educated risks; discipline, organisation and her wonderful methodical approach to the tasks at hand and on the list; patience and her ability to wait to see the fruits of her labour.

Then Pamela revealed she often dreams the solution to design problems , intrigued, I asked her to elaborate and she recalled that the final range in her graduate year of study was dreamt in entirety before it was produced. This detail of her creative practice might be one of the most valuable tools any creative can have; it is this sort of connection with the creative subconscious which makes it possible to continue to find inspiration while also spinning all the other plates it takes to keep a small business moving along.

The Maker’s Journal has several new patterns eager to see the light of her website here.

Following the success of the first workshop, Pamela Cupit herself will be running second Freddie Vest Workshop at Tessuti Fabrics in Melbourne on September 1st, for bookings go here.

Current patterns are available from several stockists and through The Maker's Journal on Etsy.

Brianna Read is a designer/maker based in Melbourne. Her knitwear label Jack of Diamonds  employs traditional hand-made techniques in combination with machine knit technologies. Brianna’s multi-faceted creative practice encompasses design, production, works for exhibition and machine knitting workshops.