Hello its me Sam!
Well what a journey the Birgitta Helmersson label has taken us on this last year and a bit. If you are new to us you would be forgiven for thinking sewing patterns are all we have ever done but if you have been with us from the start you will know that sewing patterns are a new addition that came about somewhat accidentally.
How did you accidentally fall into this, you ask? Let's make a really long story short.
Firstly and importantly this “WE” I talk about is Birgitta Helmersson and myself, Sam Grose, partners in life, love and business. Thats right the BH label is a SMALL family business, but let's now focus on our history; The Birgitta Helmersson label was started in Melbourne in 2012 just after the birth of our first daughter. In those days it was B doing a lot of design development and manufacturing for other businesses as well as selling BH label garments, mostly constructed using ZW cutting. We had a small store and studio in Melbourne's inner northern suburbs. Cash flow was tight but life was fun and creativity was high.
Many years later, after moving to Malmö Sweden we were running more or less the same business. Although still working a few shifts a week as a chef, I had well and truly joined the business on a part time basis. We had just had our second daughter and were about to release a new ZW collection of garments's when a little miracle happened. A few of our wonderful followers at the time asked if we would consider sharing how we make our ZW garments with a sewing pattern. We thought “what an awesome idea” and obliged by releasing our very first pattern instruction booklet, the ZWCroppedShirt. The first edition of this booklet had almost entirely hand drawn cutting diagrams and instructions....and it turned out you guys really loved it, and quickly we started growing. The rest is kinda history.
Our growth has meant that finally both B and I can work full time in the business, which after nearly 10 years feels pretty good. Cash flow is still tight, but I guess thats the nature of it! As an owner operated business, we really do do everything ourselves, from developing new designs, making clothes, developing patterns, copywriting, bookkeeping (brain explosion) and everything in between. This has meant we have been chasing our tail to try and keep up lately. Slowly, slowly we are getting there though, and along the way we are learning ways to manage our time better and outsource the bits that we simply cant manage ourselves anymore (when the cash flow allows) - yes the bookkeeping is the first to go!
A large project which has been in our sights for some time now are pattern updates, if i'm being honest this has been really stressing Birgitta out as we know there are improvements that could be made that will make them soooo much easier to use! As we work exclusively with Zero Waste Pattern Cutting there are often a lot of variables involved that you wouldn't normally need to allow for when using more traditional paper patterns. Our patterns are 'paperless', yes part of this is because of the zero waste ethos, BUT a big reason for choosing this is that we have found it to work better for our zero waste designs, as it allows for variables such as changing fabric widths, plus its easier for you guys to make simple fit and design changes before cutting.
This week we took to the computer and read all the online pattern reviews we could find. We have catalogued what all you guys have suggested and have certainly taken it on board. We want to thank you for taking the time to review our work and offer such kind words and constructive criticism. The online sewing community is a beautiful thing.
We have compiled a brief list of the main changes we plan to make, if you want to put forth further suggestions for improvements we would love to hear from you! Just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org , with the title 'Pattern Updates' in the header.
Changes we are making so far....
- We will include ALL sizes in each pattern, so that you have more options when working with different fabric widths.
-We will make the sewing instructions clearer, less words, with more illustrations.
-Far more comprehensive size charts and finished garment measurement charts, including for different fabric widths, making it easier to make adjustment to your pattern pieces before cutting.
-Further resources and tips on taking your ideas further and self drafting your own patterns using ZW Pattern Cutting as a methodology.
So that said, We will begin updating all our PDF patterns very soon, we hope this will be the last time we need to do a large update like this for our existing patterns, so we can finally move forward with new designs instead! This will be a big undertaking which we will do in order of popularity, first will be the Gather Dress then the Cropped shirt, and so on. Keep in mind the main layout of the pattern will not change so if you already have one the design is the same BUT if you have already purchased patterns from us you will be entitled to an update free of charge. These updates will be sent out automatically to your email. (*anyone who purchased pre Apr 2021, or through one of our stockists, we can send you a link on request. So keep your eye out for mail out’s announcing the updates!).
Anyway... I think thats about it, thank you for all your support, we are listening to you guys, we appreciate you so much and we look forward to growing with you.
If you want to keep scrolling here are some photos I took recently.....
Deep love, Sam