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Design Diary

The costs of doing business.

Design Diary

If you follow my social media pages, you’ve probably already see this, but it brought up an interesting (albeit frustrating) conversation that I thought I’d address here in a little more depth.

A couple weeks ago, a photographer friend of mine made me aware that Buzzfeed had kindly featured one of my items (and a photo she had taken years ago) in an article. However, the article linked to a cheap knock-off that was being sold on Amazon. The seller had stolen several of my photos to deceptively market their knock off.

Several people commented to tell me that the same set was being sold not only on Amazon, but also on  Zaful. I actually had been previously aware of it, as it had popped up through a facebook ad on my personal account one day!

Here’s the thing: unfortunately nothing can be done about a similar facsimile. It’s unfortunate for me, the designer, but really, how would anyone police who came up with what style first? Cora, from The Lingerie Addict wrote a really great piece about this last year.  We all draw inspiration from many other sources, and if you follow trends in your design, you’re sure to run into similarities with other designers along the way. In this instance, I think there was very little doubt they were selling a knock off, though they offered it an additional colourway. But, it is a hard thing to police, and as a designer, I have little recourse. More than anything, it’s a a frustration.  However, I’m confident in my skills as a designer. I know that I can and will continuously come up with new and unique garments. Being knocked-off comes with the territory.

Theft of photos, on the other hand, really makes me angry. With the exception of a few collaborations that I do with photographers, all of my photos are taken by myself and are my intellectual property. Using someones photo without consent is a major no-no,  and using  a photo of a garment to sell a similar item is totally wrong.

Luckily for me, the photos were removed fairly quickly. However, Buzzfeed is still directing it’s readers to the knock off garments. I find this to be pretty hypocritical considering in April of 2016 they published a lengthy article about ultra-cheap knock-off shops that are popping up everywhere online. These shops steal photos and sell their own version of the garment. Often, the garment is made with sub-par materials, shoddy workmanship, and many of the details of the original garment missing (these can sometimes have some pretty hilarious results). This really really makes me angry.

These ultra-cheap knock-offs devalue everyone’s work. I was shocked when I saw that this Amazon seller was selling a velvet lingerie set for $9-$13. My Wintergreen Lingerie Set retails for $90.

There are several telling differences between my garments and the knock-off. Mine has a back closure, proper band and strap elastics, bow, lined cups, organic cotton gusset lining, adjustable straps, and customizable sizing… However, even if I omitted all of those features, I still could not produce a garment that cheaply. I wouldn’t even begin to cover the costs! Funny enough, the product description, wording which was partially lifted directly from my Etsy listing, says that the “straps are fully adjustable, and the back closes with a traditional hook and eye closure.” However, if you look at their actual garment, neither of those things are there.

So, how are they able to sell these items so cheaply? I’m not sure I have the answers. They use cheap materials and cut corners. As a maker I can see that in the changes they have made to my design. They likely are able to purchase those materials in much larger quantities than I can, making their cheap fabrics cost even less to them. I am also assuming that whoever is making these is being paid very little to do so. One of the things I have committed to with my brand is to keep production local, and ethical. However, one of the obstacles I face, as I look towards the future and outsourcing some of my production to a North American based workroom is that my current pricing structure does not afford it!

That’s capitalism right?

Well, here’s the problem: As a designer, and a maker, I need to price my garments to cover materials and labour costs (also taking into account the behind-the-scenes time and costs involved with pattern making, marketing, design work, sourcing, etc), but I also need to price competitively. If consumers have it in their mind that they can get a comparable garment for $9 (they can’t but they think they can’t!), that puts me in a pretty tricky situation.

Photo by G L Reid

Honestly, I’m surprised when I see those memes on social media where a shopper buys a ridiculously cheap dress online and then is utterly shocked  to see it looks like absolute garbage in real life. I feel like critical thinking must have gotten lost in the process somewhere! At the same time, these sites use extremely deceptive marketing tactics to sell their knock offs, like not using actual photos of the garments they are selling.

I don’t have the answers, I mostly just wanted to raise awareness. The only way to stop this type of theft and deception is to stop buying from them.

I know it’s not a possibility for everyone, as people’s financial situations vary widely, but money talks. Instead of dropping $100 at H&M on a pile garments you’ll forget about in 3 months, spend $100 on something an Indie designer made. I promise, you’ll love it longer, wear it more and they will love you for it.

So, what can designers do? Indie designers are in a tricky position, but we can do a few things. Practice integrity with your own work. Give credit where credit is due. Treat each other with kindess and respect. And when another indie gets ripped off, let them know you’ve got their back!


The Delphine Thong

Design Diary, Lingerie, New Items, Sewing Patterns

Warning: butt cheeks ahead!

In my younger days, I wore thongs a lot more. It was the style of the times.  As I’ve “matured” I’ve replaced most of my skimpy thongs for more comfortable (still pretty) styles. That’s not to say that thongs aren’t comfortable – they definitely can be! And they serve a practical purpose…

A High Waist Thong may not be super practical for every day wear, but hot damn… it looks great on. I was skeptical when I first started getting requests for a high waist thong, but I thought I’d try it out. I was very pleasantly surprised!

The Delphine Thong

As I was developing this pattern I wanted to come up with a way to use scalloped stretch lace on a high waist thong – that’s View C of the pattern. It’s a little bit Ultimate Lace Panties mixed with a little Ava Panties and I’m really happy with how it turned out. The style lines allow you to mix and match colours and fabrics, one of my favourite things to do with a design!

I made a few different sets as I was sewing up samples, pairing the basic high waist version with my Natalie Crop Top, then I made some bottoms for a Romy Bra and Jasmine Bra (from my Valentine’s Day Sew Along) from my own lingerie drawer.

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Floral and Lace

Design Diary, Lingerie, Uncategorized

I received this fabric from Spoonflower as part of a creative collaboration for Wedding Month. 

I’ve had my eye on this large scale peony print by Gabby Malpas for a while now. It’s so fresh and feels both classic and modern at the same time.

For this bridal-inspired lingerie set I used my Ava High Waist Panties  and Romy Bra  sewing patterns. For the bra, I added a high neckline detail using scalloped stretch lace that closes at the neckline with a small silver hook – a little detail that gives the neckline jewelry-esque look.

I wanted to give this set a really special feel, so I lined the cups in the same soft lace I used for the neckline. Now the inside looks just as beautiful as the outside.

This Romy-adaptation took me four attempts to get it just the way I wanted! I did lots of experimenting with the width of the neckline as well as the overall construction. In a little while, I’ll release this adaptation as an add-on to my Romy pattern.

To bring the top and bottom together, I added small pieces of lace along the curved cutout along the hips.

I took a lot of time plotting out my pattern placement. I used a full yard and carefully placed my pattern pieces so to achieve the effect of the flowers gracefully climbing up the sides of the garment.  Since the front and back of the Ava pattern are the largest pattern pieces in this set, I made sure to feature a large flower, asymmetrically placed, to really highlight the beauty of this print.

Spoonflower’s cotton lycra jersey has is a great weight for lingerie – it’s sturdy and has lots of give making this set as comfortable as it is pretty!


Jasmine PRISM Add-On

Design Diary, Lingerie, New Items, Sewing Patterns

A few weeks ago I added a new style to my Lingerie Shop. I talked a bit about why I designed this Jasmine adaptation earlier, but I’ll recap. I had been experimenting with sewing the Jasmine Bra with a cut-out at the front but was experiencing some unsightly gaping and pulling no matter what I did. So I had the idea of adding  a sheer mesh insert to fake it and it worked out amazingly.

So, from there I experimented with adding a scalloped lace insert, which also was a nice detail, and a little different, design-wise. So I decided to release this as an Add-On to the Jasmine Pattern.

Let’s take a peek inside…

With the Jasmine PRISM Add-On, you get two additional pattern pieces which you use instead of using the original Front Cup Piece. I’ve written up a 29 page instructional manual that will show you how to sew the bra with the alternate pattern pieces, as well walk you through how to add a lace longline band, how to use hook and eye tape, and how to add some lace detail to the straps.  Some of these are techniques I have already gone over in my Valentine’s Day Sew Along, but here you will have them all in one place.

The PRISM Add-On is only $2, but it only works in conjunction with the Original Jasmine Pattern – so you need to have both. I hope this helps you get even more wear out of my Jasmine Pattern!

Floral Love

Design Diary, Lingerie

Did you guys know I love florals?

hehe… sorry, I had to!

Girl Charlee sent me some samples of their new cotton spandex floral fabrics a few weeks ago and I am so excited to show you what I made! I had to laugh when they contacted me to let me know about their new prints, because I had already purchased several meters of the black colourway! However, after seeing the white, I actually think I might like it even more than the black, and I love a dark floral.

The prints I used are their new exclusive Bonny Floral (the white) and Orleans Rose (Black).

Cotton Spandex Jersey is my favourite fabric for day-to-day lingerie. It’s nice and stretchy and forgiving, allows the body to breathe yet the resiliency of the spandex provides enough support to be comfortable. I do like to line my cotton spandex bras in a solid stretch mesh as it gives a bit more support.  The only downside I occasionally find is that it can be on the thicker side, which can cause panty lines, so I tend to pair it with sheer or lace fabrics over the hips and derrière.

For the white colourway, I paired it with peach stretch lace. I used my Celeste Pattern with the lace back variation, and added a longline band to the Jasmine “Prism” bra (I’ll explain more in my next post!).

I kept it simple for the dark floral, using my Claudia Panties with sheer peach mesh across the hips and contrasting black fold over elastic around the waist and legs. I did a sheer mesh insert at the front of my Jasmine Bra.

I’m really happy with how these worked out and was excited to get a sneak preview of them. I love fabric, so I’ll jump on any chance I get to see something new!

I’ve been finishing up a lot of odds and ends over the last few days. We had a really busy weekend and I’m looking forward to having a day off with Isabel tomorrow. We’ve been doing lots around the house and the gardens are keeping me busy (despite all of the rain we’ve been having!). I’ve found my anxiety has been slipping over the last few weeks again. I’ve been trying to maintain my self-care routines, such as exercise and eating well, but I’ve been waking up at night obsessing over things. My doctor and I decided to up my medication, so I am hoping that this is just a little blip! In the mean time, I’m trying to just practice some self-compassion, keep my chin up and know that this too shall pass!  Making pretty things helps though, and so does sharing these things with all of you.

A year in the making, the Kate Camisole Sewing Pattern is Here!

Design Diary, Lingerie, New Items, Sewing Patterns, Videos

I think it was a year ago or so that I first posted a photo on Instagram of this camisole… As I mentioned in my video post a couple of weeks ago, I went back and forth on a bunch of things (darts, fullness, etc.) and toyed with various ways to write up these rather complicated instructions. The pattern itself is very simple – just two pattern pieces! But there are just so many ways you can sew it – dressed up or dressed down!

Anyway… without further adieu, here is the Kate Camisole!

So far, of all of the variations I’ve sewn, I think this one in Cotton + Steel Rifle Paper Co. challis is my favourite. Even Isabel has asked for one in her size! I absolutely love this print and fabric.

The pattern comes with instructions on how to add a ruffle – I give suggestions as to how long to cut your ruffle, but you could even experiment with cutting an extra long ruffle band to turn the top into a flowy, bohemian summer dress.

I experimented sewing these tops out of linen, chiffon, double gauze, gauze, challis and silk charmeuse. I think my favourite fabric to work with for this style is rayon challis. It is just so light and drapey. Silk charmeuse is a close second.

The Kate pattern is an excellent pair for with any of my woven bottoms, like the Jane or Miyu panties. But remember, you can also use a woven fabric for the front of my Claudia Panties too! It works great in silk.

You can purchase the Kate Camisole pattern directly from my website HERE or on Etsy!

To view a video-tutorial outlining the basic construction methods, hop on over to my Youtube Channel!


New! The Anouk Bodysuit

Design Diary, Lingerie, New Items, Sewing Patterns, swimwear

You’ll see a few short, but picture-heavy posts coming through today! I’ve been working hard finishing up a couple of patterns that I have been pouring over for months… But, I think my effort was well worth it!

The first new pattern I’ll show you today is my Anouk Bodysuit. The pattern will walk you through how to sew it with snaps at the crotch so you can wear it as lounge/lingerie/casual wear, but you can easily make this into a swimsuit. In fact, I’m going to do a tutorial in the coming weeks to show you how to make that very simple alteration.

This pattern comes with two neckline variations: a simple v-neck and a ballet-inspired faux wrap front. The v-neckline on this bodysuit is a little different form my Abigail Swimsuit, which has a true triangle cut cup. I find the Anouk is more comfortable and flattering on my body type, which has a fuller bust.

The instructions will show you how to line the cups and add supportive underbust elastic.

I really love the shape of the back – it was a spin off from my Romy Bra.

Also with this pattern I will show you how to do a lace overlay. I wanted to show you how to place the lace so that you can change things up and experiment with your own lace overlays. Adding an overlay is so easy once you know how to do it.

I’m really excited to see how you guys interpret this pattern! I am totally loving it, and can’t wait to make a swimsuit out of it.

You can purchase my new Bodysuit Pattern directly from my website HERE or on Etsy!

New Pattern Preview! A Cami and a Bodysuit

Design Diary, Sewing Patterns, Videos

I’ve been working really hard on two new patterns… one of them (my camisole pattern) is a year in the making! I’m currently just finishing up writing the instructions and am still waffling back and forth on some aspects of the design and construction. I always like to design patterns that can be sewn in multiple ways – I find it to be a fun creative exercise seeing how much variety I can get out of a simple pattern. This can create some difficulty when putting a pattern together.  The patterns I sell are much different than the patterns I would make for my own use, or even for production. I put a lot of time and effort into explaining things so that a sewists of a variety of backgrounds and experience levels can sew my patterns. As with all of my patterns, I try to teach techniques instead of spoon-feeding how to recreate a garment. I love seeing the unique ways all of you interpret my designs!

I made a short video discussing my new patterns that are so close to being ready for release.

I’m super excited to start prepping for my swimsuit sew along! My fabric should be arriving this week, so once I clear a few projects off my table I’ll set a date.

It’s gonna be May

Design Diary, Lingerie, New Items, Personal

What the heck happened to April? And where is May going to so quickly?!

I have so many fun things on my to do list right now, but I’m currently procrastinating. It’s tax season and I’m already a little late (as usual). I don’t do my own taxes, but I do need to prepare my expenses and income, etc, which is always far more complicated than it needs to be… and I really just hate doing paper work like that. It’s not my forte.

Today I’ve managed to make a vet appointment for Oliver, grocery shop, run 5k, have a nice coffee with my cousin, put away my groceries (that is a feat!), clean some old food out of the fridge… and now I’m blogging instead of working on my taxes. Because procrastination, that’s why.

Last week I released a few new items. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve given up on seasonal collections… while my pieces may still have a seasonal feel, I’m concentrating on just creating things I like, when the inspiration hits! I am finding this to be so therapeutic for me. Constant creation keeps my mood up, keeps me inspired, and excited about what I do.

I’ve been playing a lot with my Celeste, Jasmine, Claudia, Ultimate Lace and Ava patterns. They seem to be my “go-to” patterns. They are such a great base for experimentation, and in my opinion, extremely comfortable. Note to self: I should make a pattern bundle for these!

One of the (many) things on my to do list is to create some add-ons for my Jasmine Bra Pattern.  I’ve really loved the look of those bralettes with a cutout at the centre front, but I found with a larger bust it created some awkward gaping and pulling. So, I altered my jasmine pattern so that it has a mesh-insert at the front to mimics that look while still achieving stability between the bust. I’m so, so, so happy with how it turned out. I’ve got some thinking to do as to how I will adapt it as an add-on, but it is on my to do list!



Look who crashed my photoshoot!

My obsession with lace, especially two-tone lace continues. The black and silver lace I used for my Effie set was actually a bit of an accident. I bought 20yards online thinking it was a solid black. I was surprised when I opened the package… but not upset!



The last thing I want to mention is that I am planning a SWIMSUIT SEW ALONG! I just purchased my fabric this morning (pink flamingo print!). It will take me a couple weeks to get everything in order, but I plan on using either my Cindy Pattern or Jasmine and Ava… I haven’t quite decided yet, but I’m leaning towards Cindy. I made myself a Cindy bikini last year that I wore SO MUCH, and it’s a relatively easy and forgiving sew for an underwire garment. So, if you want to start scouting out some swimwear fabric, now is a great time. Spoonflower‘s Sport Lycra is my current go-to for swim fabric.

On a personal note, life has been so busy lately. My best friend Abbey’s wedding was two weeks ago and it was absolutely beautiful and perfect. Where I live has been experiencing some flooding due to non-stop rain so we’ve been diligently monitoring our basement (we flooded last year). I have a bunch of projects planned around the house (painting the exterior, new soffit and fascia…), gardening to get to, mom-duties, and I’ve got a goal of running 10k by the end of the summer (I’m already up to 9k!).  But I’ve got lots of Ohhh Lulu stuff I want to fit in there too… I’m honestly picking up my Camisole Pattern again that I shared on Instagram MONTHS ago. It will be ready soon… and I have a really wonderful bodysuit pattern that is also almost ready to drop (and actually would also make a great swimsuit now that I think of it…).

But for now… I’ve just gotta focus on my damn taxes!!!

A silk kimono & my mental health

Anxiety, Design Diary, Personal

My bff is getting married at the end of the month! I can hardly believe how quickly the time has gone. I’m really looking forward to it. It will be Dan and my first night away together without Isabel! I can’t believe we haven’t had a night out in over two years, besides a dinner here or there. We’ve put Isabel to bed every… single… night.

I had fun sewing a little bridal lingerie for my Abbey. She requested the grey lace set (garterbelt not shown), but I wanted to make something pretty for over top. I fell in love with this silk cotton voile when I  came across it at my local fabric store. I just love the print and colour.

I actually used a pattern for this robe! It was Vogue 9218. Not much to say about it really. It was a very simple robe. I added a cotton lace tassel trim to the hem and sleeve.

I am excited but also nervous about our first night away. I’ve found that my anxiety/depression has really been creeping back in over the last month or so, and my mind goes to all of these terrible “what if” scenarios about leaving Isabel in the care of someone else.  Coming to the realization that I’m going to constantly be taking steps to prevent my brain from going to “that dark place” is rough… It took so much work to get out of that paralyzing anxiety I was feeling last spring. I’ve felt myself slipping into that spinning, out of control feeling, which really sucks. But I don’t feel paralyzed the way I did last time. My nightmares have been sneaking back in, but for the most part, I find I can get back to sleep again. Over the winter I wasn’t able to get out running, but I’ve picked it up again over the last couple of weeks. It helps. Talking helps. Writing helps.

I’ve had a couple of things happen recently that brought me back to earlier times in my life when things were not nearly so good or stable or safe. That definitely has shaken the mental stability I’ve built over the last year. I’m so proud of the life I have built and my beautiful brand and my amazing daughter, but it wasn’t always this way. I’ve had situations happen in my past where my safety was seriously threatened and I’m just coming to terms now with the impact that has had on my life. On one hand, these experiences have left me with the ability to feel deep empathy for others, which I think is a strength. But on the other hand, it can weigh you down with a lot of fear and sadness.

This is life! Not always good, not always bad. Sometimes it just chugs along. The good news is that when I feel myself slipping and spiralling downwards now I can notice it and start doing all of those things that I did before to help myself get out of the spiral.  I felt so silly in therapy sometimes. It feels like our thoughts and emotions should be something that comes naturally, but it’s not! Managing them takes practice… and for some of us it takes more work than others.

I wish we could talk about mental health the way we talk about other physical illnesses.  I feel so silly when I say “I have anxiety”. It doesn’t’ sound like a big deal, and until it started actually impacting my life, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I didn’t get why people couldn’t just deal with it. And then it happened to me… all of those experiences in my life combined with an over anxious mind paralyzed me. And now I feel on a constant cycle of checking my stability and taking active measures (along with daily medication) to maintain a sense of stability. I wish I could explain to people who have passed in and out of my life why I have been the way I have been at times…

Just a friendly reminder, if you are feeling overwhelmed by thoughts of anxiety or depression, please reach out for help. Your family doctor is a good place to start, but even talking to someone you can trust like a friend or family member helps!