Imagine the biggest, coolest, most affordable craft fair of your dreams—one you can check out in your pajamas, of course—and that’s Etsy.com in a nutshell. It’s pure pleasure for savvy shoppers and a smart way for independent crafters and collectors to build and reach an audience. Maple Grove resident Kelly Rust’s Etsy online sewing shop, Pitter Pattern, is a PDF patterner’s dream. If you think the name is cute, her boutique patterns are even cuter, and contagiously so. Scan her shop’s feedback page—certain words pop up repeatedly, including “easy, adorable, sweet”—and then there is this: “Oh my God. I made this [dress] using no curse words!” The liberating new world of PDF patterns is here. DIY’ers, recyclers and style aficionados, it’s time to get busy with your Singer.
“It has to be adorable,” Rust says of her dress designs. “These are the clothes you want them to be photographed in.” Rust’s mother, an expert seamstress (who made her own wedding dress) taught her how to sew when she was 7. Rust later brought her interior design and psychology studies into the picture. “I am much more a designer than a sewer,” she says. “I have a basic skill set that allows me to create the things I design. The ability to sew is what gives me a voice in design—sewing at this stage in my life is very much about creating a particular look.”
“The Apron Knot Dress was my first pattern,” Rust says, “one that swirled around in my head for years before actually writing it…my heart and soul are in that pattern.” It is local pattern tester Jenny MacCourt’s hands-down favorite. “At the time her patterns launched, I did not have an apron knot dress,” MacCourt says. She wanted to recreate the popular “apron” style in contemporary little-girl boutiques like Matilda Jane and Persnickety. Here is a sneaky feature of the apron knot: if your child outgrows the dress length, it becomes a top. Rust cares about the longevity of an item. “No one wants to spend time making an outfit that only fits for a few months,” she says.
MacCourt is a self proclaimed “PDF pattern junkie.” She praises the timeless style of Rust’s designs and simplicity of the patterns. Pitter Pattern is both “easy enough for a beginner and a ‘quick sew’ for more advanced sewers.” The beginner sewer reigns supreme at Pitter Pattern; any newbie will heave a sigh of relief to see Rust’s careful, step-by-step photos and instructions. Addy Hawkins, Maple Grove resident and pattern tester, is a pee-wee sewer who was frustrated by how most patterns used complicated sewing jargon. She discovered that Pitter Pattern did not do that; the instructions were clear. “For the first time, I felt like my finished garment actually looked as cute as the picture,” she says.
Rust is inspired by great fabrics and often flips through catalogs of children’s clothing to stay current with trends. She has two children, son Thomas is 5 and dauughter Lydia, 3, is also her helper in the sewing room. “I always want to create the next style, do something new. Lydia…gets very excited when I have something new for her to try on,” Rust says.
You definitely want to keep up with Rust, online and off. She has several new patterns in the works, while she attends to the no-small-task of remodeling her house. She may publish a companion blog to the Etsy shop with free tutorials and project updates. At this moment, Rust is obsessed with cookie and cake decorating. Perhaps there is another local sweet shop on the Etsy horizon.