On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about running an indie sewing pattern business with my guest Taylor McVay of Blueprints for Sewing.
Taylor McVay is a designer, artist, and educator. She creates sewing patterns for unique, architecture-inspired garments. Along with running Blueprints, Taylor teaches fashion design, pattern making, and sewing in the Boston area. Taylor creates one of a kind garments, experiments with techniques like weaving and embroidery, and loves to repurpose and recycle textiles. She spends a lot of her time thinking, writing, and talking about ‘slow fashion’.
You can find a selection of Blueprints for Sewing patterns at Fancy Tiger Crafts, among other retailers.
Taylor lives not too far from me and she was able to come to Wellesley and spend some time with me in my studio to record this episode which was such a treat.
We begin the conversation by talking about a dress Taylor made when she was a young teenager from thrifted scarves. She wore it to a New Year’s party and that experience planted the seed for her of wanting to make and wear her own clothing. After getting a BFA Taylor worked at a high end vintage boutique where she had the opportunity to tailor and alter clothes for clients and, in the process, study how the garments were made. She also had a custom clothing business during this period.
Taylor shows the inside of her Moderne Coat.
Next, she began teaching at a sewing and knitting shop in the Boston area which sparked a love of teaching and helped her launch her sewing pattern business. Taylor’s first patterns were in the form of zines and we talk about what a zine is and why she enjoys that format for patterns. Taylor explains her mission and vision for Blueprints for Sewing. She also talks about overcoming social anxiety as a teacher and as the face of her business on social media, especially Instagram.
Taylor poses with the models at the slow fashion event she organized last year.
This past year she put on a slow fashion event here in the Boston area, collaborating with other artists and makers. We talk about what that entailed and how she might grow it in the future.
Today, Taylor teaches sewing and fashion design courses at the university level and runs her pattern business full-time. I think her story is so inspiring. I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.
And, of course, I ask Taylor to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Taylor recommends:
- the Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts
- Nomadic Furniture by Victor Papanek and James Hennessey
- color wheels
Keep up with Taylor McVay and Blueprints for Sewing on Instagram and on the Blueprints for Sewing website.
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I really enjoyed your interview with Taylor. Thank you for the time and effort that you put into each podcast. Fame was my absolute favorite television show of the 80’s. Taylor mentioned that her mother played one of the main characters on the show and now I just have to know which one! Care to share?
My mom played the character Doris Schwartz! I think the show was really inspiring for many people and glad to hear you enjoyed it. 🙂
What a great episode, Abby! I loved learning about Taylor’s patterns, work, background, etc. She is inspirational and encouraging.
I think Taylor is super encouraging, too! I really enjoyed meeting her. A new friend!
Is it possible to get a transcript of your interview with Taylor McVay? I am particularly interested in the section where she discusses what she learned by doing alterations and her opinion of the role of clothing alterations in the future.
I am working to develop an Alterations Network (.com); I am petitioning Threads Magazine to begin to include articles on true alterations techniques (not just upcycling) and I greatly enjoyed your interview of Taylor and was thrilled to hear her references to clothing alterations.
Hi Jean, Good for you! That sounds like a great project. I’m afraid I don’t have a transcript of this interview available. I know there are services that offer transcription for a reasonable fee. Temi is one I’ve used for transcribing interviews for articles I’m working on.