Interview with Shelly of Patterns by Figgy's


Shelly Figueroa is one of the most awesome people I know. I spent most of the summer with her as we powered through the kids summer camps down at Modern Domestic. Mornings as I would be taking the garbage out, I would find her in her car blasting 80's gems and we would have a dance party on the sidewalk. She's kind and supportive of the kids and in return they just adore her. She typically brought baked goods which is always a thumbs up in my book. Her entire family is delightful, especially her mother and aunt whom I've had the great pleasure of meeting several times as they come and take classes at MD.

When she isn't teaching the next generation of sewists, she's busy developing, creating, and designing children's clothing patterns as Patterns by Figgy's. Bolt has been a long time supporter of her talent and are lucky to stock her diverse, beautiful collection. That's why we're thrilled she's written her first book, Sewing For Boys! As we gear up for its release, I thought everyone should get to know the Shelly I know and love.

Author & Pattern Designer, Shelly Figueroa

How did you get started designing patterns? 

4 years ago I had designed a little bubble skirt and took it into a local fabric shop to show the proprieter.  She said "You should make a pattern for that." and so I did. At first I was teaching the pattern at the fabric shop but then I thought about my Etsy shop where I was creating children's clothing and I found that most of the patterns I was purchasing didn't allow a home sewer to create garments and sell them. When I decided to make patterns for sale I knew that "sharing" the pattern with home sewers that have little shops was a must. I then began to focus on designing instead of making.

Tell me about the new fall collection of patterns? Inspirations, goals, etc?  

Currently I can't say too much about what's coming because it's in the "tweaking" stage but I can tell you that what is to come is definitely fashion forward.  After taking a small break this Summer I had a lot of choices to make and I had to really focus on what I love about having my own business and what I want for it's future.  Simply making the decision to do what naturally is to come, my goal was met. Now I'm setting new goals and my inspiration has been stemming from the amazing people here in Portland that have shown me so much support and love.

Figgy's Trunk Show

How did the book come about? Be much work is it to write a book, as opposed to stand alone patterns?  

A little over a year ago I had hired Karen LePage to work on graphic designs for Patterns by Figgy's and one day we started talking about how there were hardly any cool patterns for boys out in the world and we wished there were more. I said "Let's write a book that is just for boys" and she said "Sure". I had no idea what to expect. I honestly didn't think anyone would pick us up because we were basically no names. We put together a proposal and I sent it out to some agencys and shortly thereafter Stefanie von Borstel, co-founder of Full Circle Literary, picked us up. She sent it out to different publishers and within a month we had two offers. I was floored that it happened so fast. So fast that we weren't quite prepared for what was coming...deadlines. How much work is it? TONS and some more TONS. A stand alone pattern would normally take about a month or two but once we had signed the papers we had 25% of the book due in one month which was about 6 patterns. On top of designing patterns, we also graded, illustrated, styled, and instructed.  I'm still a little tired.

Shelly with Mustache

How rewarding is it to final hold a copy in your hands though?  

So worth it. My parents are amazing people that have given me so much love and support and writing this book was more for them than myself. I felt like I had accomplished something that they could be proud of. Amazing that I'm 37 years old and still want them to be proud of Plus, seeing my family in the book (sons, mom and husband) is such a blessing and special keepsake.  

Sewing for Boys!

What does the future hold for Patterns by Figgys? 

Oh so much! "Patterns by Figgy's" is about to journey into "Figgy's" with some exciting changes that I hope people will fall in love with. It's been an exciting ride watching the business evolve and grow and I feel like I'm about to enter into the company I've been imagining for a long time. 

Thanks Shelly!!

Modern Domestic will be hosting a book signing for Shelly and Sewing For Boys Friday September 16th in conjunction with the Friday Night Sewcial at 6:00 pm--what a great time to pick up a copy of the book and bring along some fabric to get started sewing for the boys in your life right away.

And follow the blog tour. September 17th it stops here with a giveaway!

September 5    Wiley Craft & Made by Rae 
September 6   Sew, Mama, Sew
September 7   The Southern Institute & Film in the Fridge
September 8   Elsie Marley
September 9   Noodlehead & Oh, Fransson!
September 10  I Heart Linen
September 11  Anna Maria Horner
September 12  Craft Buds, Pink Chalk Fabric Prudent Baby , Sew Much Ado 
September 13  Very Purple Person & Sew Sara
September 14  The Long Thread
September 15  Susan Beal
September 16  True Up
September 17  All Buttoned Up & Bolt Fabric Boutique
September 18  MADE