Craftsy pattern designer JMHowell's popularity has been growing for good reasons. Not only are the designs on her Craftsy Pattern Marketplace store, YouMakeItSimple, whimsical and fun, they're focused on getting creative and upcycling existing materials and garments. That means her fresh designs bring new lives to old stuff. And how can you not love that? We had a chance to sit down with JMHowell and find out a little more about her as a designer, and how she approaches her work.
Of course, we were interested to know just how much of a fan of thrift shopping she is, considering her love of upcycling. And we wondered how, when she does go thrifting, how she chooses her materials.
I LOVE thrift shopping! I really enjoy finding unique items that can be used in other ways than it was originally intended, or refinishing it into something better. I look for wool sweaters that have good texture and color. I like to get some sweaters that are more dense and thicker to use for the soles on slippers and projects that need more structure like bags and things. I also buy sweaters that are a little thinner and have more stretch. It just depends on what you are creating. I enjoy finding clothing that has potential and just needs a little EASY altering (hem or embellishing). You can get good stuff at thrift stores that are practically brand new. Thrift shopping allows you to create some unique, stylish stuff not only for your wardrobe, but for your home too. I have saved a ton of money over the years shopping at thrift stores and yard sales. I could go on forever and ever about that subject, but I'll stop now. But before, I did write a post recently on my blog regarding recycling that you and the readers may find interesting.
Maybe it's the time of year, but when we saw her designs, all we could think was: GIFTS! So we wondered, now that the holidays are here, which patterns were most popular for their gift potential.
The most popular items have been the slipper and mitten patterns. I think because it is just something you can't find in the store. They really are fun to sew up and way comfortable, and they do make really fun gifts.
Lastly, we wanted to talk about colors given how spectacular and bold her color combos are.
As far as color combinations are concerned, I like to put things together that you normally wouldn't put together. My advice to others when they are deciding what sweaters or fabrics to put together, don't be afraid to be different! Place pieces together and if it feels good to your eye, than bam, you have it. If it doesn't feel good to you, try a different combination. Be simple, things don't have to be real fancy to look good. Try to collect a variety of colors. Basic colors come in real handy for projects. Browns, grays, reds, greens, and a little black is always good to help tie things together.
Thanks for talking to us, JMHowell! You can learn more about her and see what she's working on over at her blog YouMakeItSimple. And, of course, you must check out her Craftsy Pattern Marketplace store.
So how good are her patterns? Check out a few of these awesome projects made from them!