Ann Martin is the creative force and owner behind successful pattern company One Puddle Lane. She really knows her sewing stuff, is incredibly passionate and was an absolute pleasure to talk to. We spoke via email.
Beth: I believe you have a background as a professional drafter. When and what did you study?
Ann: “Between 1981-83 I studied a Certificate in Dress Design. A certificate was the only thing that was offered then. Now you can get a Diploma and Bachelor in Fashion Design. I studied at the Seven Hills College of Art in Brisbane. It was the best 2.5 years of my life. A time I could learn what I love and to let loose and be totally creative.”
B: What’s an average day for you entail?
A: “My average day starts at 5:30am checking my emails and then off to the gym for an hour and maybe a coffee catch up with gym ladies. Breakfast and shower to start my day by 9:00am. The first half of the day is for social media and creating patterns. The afternoon I’m either sewing samples for my up coming patterns or a variety of sewing projects either for myself, the family or a client I’m sewing for.”
B: How do you balance family, work, 1PL, everything else you have going on?
A: “As my kids are now into their 30’s and have left home I have time to myself. My hubby has retired and works on his computer downstairs and I’m upstairs working on patterns and sewing up a storm. Doing it all can be very time consuming… especially keeping up with social media. But if I organise my day the night before it usually all gets done, eventually. I’m so lucky I do what I’m so passionate about. It makes work not work at all.”
B: How do you deal with the constant tagging and messaging and bothering you? I noticed that you admin the 1PL group on your own!
A: “I don’t mind it at all. I’m here to help and I’m so happy my lovely members want to learn.”
B: So the Miss Ruby Tuesday (MRT) dress is pretty much the most highly recommended ladies dress pattern out there. Any thoughts on that?
A: “I wouldn’t have dreamt that the MRT dress would be as successful as it is. It is a simple dress to make but you can still have challenges making it depending on the stretch of the fabric. I think it’s popular because is such a simple looking dress but it looks so feminine and just so easy and comfortable to wear and depending on the fabric you use it can take on many different looks. I know some ladies have made up to 10 MRT dresses.”
I’d like to jump in and note that Ann is being incredibly modest here. The MRT is popular because it is perfectly graded and fits so well. If you haven’t got a copy yet, seriously think about it! It is very versatile and the add on packs make it the only dress pattern you’ll ever need.
B: What’s next for 1PL?
A: “To continue making patterns… I have so many ideas and I wish I could clone myself so I could get all the patterns made. What next for 1PL… well, I’ve been collaborating with a friend of mine that I used to work with in the Rag Trade quite a few years back. We are designing patterns for the 25 to 45 age group and will be very easy to wear and beautiful pieces of clothing. Each pattern will teach you a certain set of skills and will be a complete sewing class. Plus, we’ll be offering fabric packs of suitable, gorgeous fabrics to go with each pattern. Launch date… to be advised!”
B: Are you planning on extending all the patterns to include plus sizes?
A: “Some of my patterns are now going up to 6XL AU and I’m in the process of updating a lot of my patterns to include bigger sizes.”
B: Are you currently working on anything?
A: “I have a few patterns that I’m working on at the moment ready for testing soon and to be coming out for the Australian summer. So lots of dress patterns coming up.”
B: Do you get to do any fun sewing?
A: “Absolutely, it’s all fun for me. But I’m into crocheting at the moment and I’ve been making blankets and jumpers for my newly born grandson.”
B: What kind of sewing machines do you have?
A: “I bought two industrial sewing machines from my place of work when they were closing down. I got them at a very good price and I wouldn’t be without them. I couldn’t go back to a domestic sewing machine. My overlocker is a Pegasus and my sewing machine is a Juki. They would easily be 40 years old and do not look like slowing down for a long time.”
B: What’s on your wishlist?
A: “My wishlist is always more fabric… but I would like to learn how to use CAD pattern making software to make the process faster which means I can bring out more patterns sooner. But that will be a long work in progress… and an enjoyable one too.”
B: Do you have a favourite sewing tool?
A: “My favourite sewing tools would be my sewing machines. They sew fast and accurate and a perfect stitch every time.”
B: Can you share a tip or trick our readers might find useful?
A: “I could share many tips but I think the most important tip when sewing is to always iron your work as you go. It’s the difference between a professional and homemade finish. I can’t stress that enough.”
And with that, I’m going to print the my MRT dress and make one for myself. I truly hope that when I’ve been sewing as long as Ann, I find the same passion in my work. She is an absolute inspiration.
– Beth W
Disclaimer – I am in no way affiliated with One Puddle Lane and have not been paid to write this blog.
A great interview Beth. Yes Ann is very humble, the MRT is a fabulous dress and has so many options with the ADD on. Look forward to her new patterns. I am making a little MRT tomorrow for grandaughter’s. Look forward to more interviews.
Oh yay I can’t wait to see that one! I need to get going on the MRT asap!