Andrea López told us about the business and what are the biggest achievements she has had.
Tell us more about yourself and your work. How did you begin sewing?
I started sewing by hand when I was about 12 years old. At those times I sewed felt brooches and my mother, who knew the baker, brought them to the bakery where they had them on display for anyone to purchase.
As years passed, I began going to manga events and I was awed by the cosplay world, so when I was 16, I was given my first sewing machine and I began making cosplays. Looking back at the first ones, they were awful, but I was so proud of them...
I decided to study fashion design to be involved in theater and film costume design, but truth be told, during my studies I fell in love with the fashion world. I learned about designers, conceptualizing and many more things which made my goal to be less clear. The only thing I was sure of was that I needed to sew, make patterns, to create every day. That was the only requisite for me, what's to come, will come.
What item do you like to sew the most?
It’s curious, I’ve been evolving as the years passed. When I was studying I liked thinking in complicated pattern making, deconstructions and such things. I used to look at designers like Yohji Yamamoto.
But, maybe because of my interest in stage costumer, I love sewing garments with some hand labor, thick fabrics, and interfaces. I enjoy sewing historical garments because they were strongly structured, the use of plain weaves and brocades, non-fusible interfaces, boning… creating the structure from the inside to shape the outer silhouette.
At the same time, these kinds of garments have a tight connection for creating avant-garde style fashion, updating the materials but keeping the knowledge of inner structures.
For my surprise, thanks to PatternCos I’ve had to experiment with many kinds of fabrics and garments. I’ve learned to enjoy ruffled volumes, fabrics such as crêpes (which are the total opposite to a plain weave), and now I also love creating light garments that take advantage of the characteristics of those fabrics.
Really, what I like the most is choosing a personal project, one based on another designer, or in cosplay, it doesn’t really matter, and to materialize the whole process of making the garment.
Describe your three biggest achievements.
It may not have a professional focus, but my first biggest achievement was to discover at such a young age my passion. I may have not known in which way it would develop in the future, but I find it to be a great advantage to have accumulated so many years of practical expertise. I’m now 29 years old, and I’ve been able to have 16 years of expertise because I never stopped sewing, even for a single day in my life.
Another decision I consider to be an achievement is opening my YouTube channel. Thanks to it, I discovered I loved teaching and that I seemed to be in sync with people. Having such direct feedback with people sharing your same interests is priceless. My project was going to be different at first, but thanks to the comments people left about my teaching, I could redefine my project.
And, obviously, the professional achievement I’m most proud of nowadays is creating PatternCos, an e-learning platform focused on learning pattern making and sewing from base level up to advanced and creative techniques.
PatternCos has been a constant challenge that has made me reconsider things, both at personal and professional levels, over and over again. Whenever I think it’s under control, it evolves once more and has me on the ropes again. For me, it’s my pride and constant motivation.
Currently, the lessons are only in Spanish but through 2022 we want to add English subtitles to them for everyone to have the chance to enjoy them and, if things are going well, we’d like to also add English audio to them in the future.
Where do you get ideas and inspiration for new items?
From everywhere! Social media are, obviously, a must. I can see the works of many people, and not just of those related to fashion. There are accounts of any kind that are super inspiring. Photographers, illustrators…
Of course, in relation to the academy, I’m always looking at fashion runways and current and past designers alike.
People are really inspiring too, sometimes I design a dress thinking of a person or artist I admire and I think: «What would they wear in this situation?»
Personally, I like mixing inspirations that are a bit more abstract, such as the feeling you get from a poem. There’s nothing physical there, you have to start building that physicality from a thought, from a feeling.
How did you get familiar with brand Royal Dress forms? Which dress form do you have?
I began seeing some posts of your dress forms on Instagram. They caught my interest from the beginning because they have a really pretty aesthetic to them. When the academy began growing, and the time when we could invest came, I had no doubt I would get one of your dress forms.
I decided on the Monica one because it really fits the industrial sizing system I use for my patterns store. Truth be told, we’ve renamed her in the workshop, everyone calls her Romanesca in there.
We also have the half-scale dress form, which we call miniRomi.
When I received her, I was amazed by how pretty she was in person. The proportions, the touch, and how soft she is awesome, but I have to say that the cover, it’s PERFECT. The fabric is stiff, but there’s no wrinkle or flaw to it. It’s just gorgeous.
How does our dress form help you during work?
As mentioned earlier, Monica’s dress form proportions fit incredibly well with the industrial sizing system we use, so she’s perfect for trying the prototypes and/or making adjustments. At the end of the day, we always test our garments in real people, but this intermediate step really saves us a lot of work.
Also, the proportions and the body shape are just so nice, so I like doing moulage on her.
And last but not least, she’s incredible and in PatternCos we photograph every project for our lessons. They just look incredibly pretty and glorious in the dress form!
What is the most helpful advice for beginners?
I think the first thing is to understand that learning to sew, as in any other living area, is a process. Be patient, mix easy projects that will lift your spirits with others that are a bit more difficult but that motivate you. Just dive in and if anything goes wrong, just remember it’s only a piece of fabric.
If you screwed it, cut another piece of fabric and start over again. Make prototypes! People, when they’re starting, think there will be a time when they’ll have to stop making prototypes, but that won’t happen. The more you learn, the more you’ll realize how important it is to make prototypes, check the volumes, make adjustments… Don’t waste a nice fabric trying to save some time. You’ll waste the fabric, and you’ll have lost the time anyway.
And, once more, don’t be afraid, experiment, play and try new things all the time.