Designer Spotlight- Toni Coward

 Today we would like to introduce you to Toni Coward from Make it Perfect Patterns

We are pleased to bring you an insight into mum of 4 , and the lady behind Make It Perfect Patterns, Toni Coward's Life.The Oz Materials love Make it Perfect Patterns and have enjoyed working with Toni. So grab a cuppa and have a read and be sure to check out the wonderful patterns Toni has designed, we stock the entire range....Enjoy...
Toni says "Sewing and having a go at a variety of other crafts provides me with a sense of “me time.” I have always enjoyed making and creating things and always have one or two projects on the go at a time. Since becoming a Mother I have found that if I can set myself aside a little time every day to create then I feel satisfied that I have done something for myself during the day.

There is something special about sewing from scratch and creating something new and unique using only the ideas I have floating around in my own head. Although I enjoy following other people’s sewing patterns and find it refreshing not to have to think so hard about what I am doing, the sense of satisfaction is greater when I have designed a pattern myself, especially if the project has been challenging or there have been problems along the way. As I work through those problems I learn so much and feel a greater sense of achievement when I reach the finished product.

The best two things about designing and writing my own sewing patterns are:

1.Being able to create something exactly how I want it, and

2.I LOVE it when other people share their finished creations with me, It always excites me to see someone have success with one of my patterns and I love to see the different mix of fabrics that they have chosen. I especially love it when someone puts their special, creative touch into their finished project and alters or adds to the pattern to make it unique and suit their needs/tastes better.

I am a fabric addict and proud to admit it! I especially love collecting fabrics from designers such as Alexander Henry, Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, just to name a few. I find a great source of inspiration in sorting through my fabric stash and coming up with new ideas or themes to use for different patterns. I am so excited about the turn the quilting market has taken in the last year or so, encouraging more and more designers to produce fresh and funky fabrics which cry out to younger sewers. These modern fabrics also lend themselves perfectly to making clothing and other accessories.

As a Mother, I find it really important to provide my children with opportunities to be creative. I try not to give them too many restrictions and allow them to create things using their own minds and rules. The things they think up never cease to amaze me. Sometimes I wish I could have the open mind of a child, as they don’t see boundaries, rules and restrictions that may stumble us as adults.

Inspiration for my designs comes from everywhere, but I especially like to design for practicality and purpose. An example of this can be seen in my Flipsy skirt and Uptown Girl jacket design – by making them reversible, it only takes the sewer a little bit of extra time and they have sewn up two skirts together!

I do have a sewing room where I store all of my fabric, notions and other bits and pieces, but more often than not I will bring my sewing machine, overlocker and the current project I am working on into the living area so that I can sew where my family is and they can be a part of what I am doing. Most of my sewing does take place during my children’s nap time in the day or when they are asleep at night. I have way too many late nights, but I don’t see them as a burden because I am doing something I love!

When I first started to get serious about sewing around 8 years ago, my main interest and projects included making quilts entirely by hand. The first few quilts I produced I didn’t even touch the sewing machine once! Although I did love this process and would still love to be doing more hand-sewing, my time has become stretched and precious since having children and I have learned to rely on my sewing machine more as well as choosing projects which are going to be quite fast and achievable. I have to confess though, that I still have never quilted by machine – only hand! I do plan to learn the art of machine quilting in the near future though!

Having children has also inspired me to become more interested in sewing clothing as I can be quite picky about the clothing offered in stores and often find it hard to buy something I am completely happy with my children wearing. Recently I have had success in saving money by cutting up a couple of old pairs of pants I no longer wear and making some simple winter pants for my daughter.

Make It Perfect patterns are aimed at sewers of all skill level – from beginners to more advanced sewers. When designing and writing a pattern I always put myself in shoes of the sewer and think “if I were to purchase this pattern, would I be able to have it finished in a short amount of time?” I always endeavour to make them suitable for a busy Mum or full-time worker to be able to start AND finish in a day or a few evenings. I like sewing projects that are achievable and have clear, easy to follow, detailed instructions. There is nothing worse than being excited about starting a new project only to get half way through, find yourself stumped one a step, get discouraged and put the project into the “too hard” basket never to pick it up again because you have lost enthusiasm.

My business is run entirely from home, I love that I can stay at home and be with my children but still do something for myself that has flexible hours. (So if you ever call me to talk about my patterns, please be prepared to hear the noise of my home in the background!)

For a beginner or someone contemplating sewing clothing, my advice is to jump in and have a go! Do a practise run on a “not so precious” piece of fabric first, so that you make sure the sizing is correct and to help you sort out any tricky bits, and then use your special fabric. I have learned more about sewing by just trying things that I wasn’t so sure about and unpicking and learning from my mistakes! If you are really lacking confidence, contact your local quilting or sewing store and see if you can set up a class to have someone guide you through and be there to answer your questions.

I find inspiration for my craft everywhere I go. I am forever noticing little details or having an idea spark in my head and scribbling it down on a notepad or scrap of paper in my bag! I am a big lover of blogs and find the blog world fascinating, I love admiring the craftiness of others and always allow time each day to check on my favourite craft blogs.

You can find many of Toni's great patterns here