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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Our Over-The-Top Pattern Designer, Dawn Anderson

Last November we brought on an AMAZING new designer to create over-the-top patterns for CKC and I'm sure you've all noticed her work.  Dawn Anderson is beyond fantastic! 

With the release of her Elise's Everyday Princess Dress we are excited to feature Dawn on the blog today! How she got started, what makes her tick, and how in the world she comes up with these ideas. I asked her a few interview questions (okay maybe more than a few) and you'll soon see that she is just as FUN as she is creative! Let's jump right into it:

(Dawn's boutique dress, not a CKC pattern.) 

 Welcome to the blog, Dawn!  Will you please tell us a little about yourself? 

I was born in Fort Knox KY. I am a high school grad and other than taking a semester of sewing my freshman year in high school I hadn't touched a machine until Emilly was born. I am married to my wonderful husband of 18 yrs Tony and we have 3 girls. Jackie lives with her husband in Texas. Chassidy is a Junior in high school and Emilly is in Kindergarten. I started sewing cloth diapers for Emilly when we found out she was allergic to everything but pampers swaddlers and they didn't make them over a size 2 at the time. Needless to say I have been doing it ever since! She potty trained at 2 years and we moved on to clothes. 

I love PDF patterns. I rarely look at a pattern and see just a dress. I see the future potential. Oh wow! That bodice would look great with this skirt or "I wonder if I could make that into a shirt?" There are always options! Ten dollars is never a big deal to spend on a pattern because is SEE several possibilities even though it is just a little peasant dress. ;) I guess I have in a way been designing all along and didn't realize it!

 What did you do before you joined the team and has that changed a lot? 

I am the crazy behind Rainbows Lolipops N Gumdrops and still love it. It has surpassed my dreams. My only complaint is that I won't allow myself something less time consuming. But I do love the things I make. I have never been one to last more than a year in a business. I never found anything I was good at. I wasn't "in the right place". But finding CKC greatly improved my creative expression abilities. I went from being very limited to a single style bodice to being able to just go crazy. I have come so far. 

The CKC ladies noticed my unique creations in my boutique and came to me during my busy season in a group chat. They offered me a designing position, giving me plenty of time to decide while I worked. It planted the seed. I wasn't sure and I did have some concerns but we worked through it and I couldn't be happier. I have decided to slow down a bit on my boutique so that I can focus more on creating for CKC.  I love making outfits for Emilly and CKC enables me to do that for her.

 And I'm so glad you joined us!  Now I have to ask - You have created so many unique outfits and new ideas for your boutique. Where do you get your inspiration? 

To be honest with you, I have no idea. Sometimes I just look at a character and get an idea and I just see it. Sometimes I have to draw it first but I have to get it out or I will obsess over it. I have scrap paper everywhere. Then I get started. Once I am finished creating the design, I can take a step back and breath. I try not to look at the rest of the house though because it usually looks like a bomb went off!   

(Dawn's boutique dress, not a CKC pattern) 
 How do you feel about putting your original, over-the-top ideas into patterns and seeing what other ladies create with them?

 I will be honest. I was nervous at first. I have always been upset by people making the same thing as I do because I have always tried to be unique. But I am finding that it is actually really amazing to see the beautiful outfits people are creating with instructions I have written. To see that people understand and are bringing to life their version of my vision. To be able to easily identify, "Hey! That's Francesca or Raelyn's or Pixie's!" And to know they are excited about their new work of art that I had a tiny hand in helping them bring to life. I love it. 

What is the most rewarding part of designing for you?  

 Seeing the results in testing and knowing it is right...and then again seeing them begin to start coming through in the groups with all of the excited little faces and smiles!

I know what you mean! I shriek every time I see someone post a picture of "my" pattern on their child! I love it!  So now I have to ask, who is your favorite staff member?  Just kidding, but what is your favorite thing about working with the ladies on staff at CKC?   

 That would honestly be like asking me my favorite color. My answer would be the same. ALL of THEM! I love being part of such an amazing, talented, smart and FUN group of ladies! 

Now let's talk about your new Elise's Dress. I want to know all about the design process and I'm sure our fans do too.  Spill!  

Of course. The name Elise is what I chose because it is very similar to Elsa but wanted to avoid using Elsa so that we don't upset Disney.  My inspiration for the dress design was all Emilly. It was her dress long before it was thought of as a pattern. We saw Frozen in theaters. Twice. And for a month after she pleaded for me to make her a dress like Elsa. I was swamped with orders but she persisted. I'll tell you a secret. (Feel free to share.) Em doesn't like glitter or tutus or fancy things. In fact she rarely likes anything I make. (Who's child is this anyway!?) Her request was a design on it's own. Long soft stretchy sleeves with a big neck just like Elsa. Shiny but no glitter. Blueish-greenish and long with a dress all the way to the floor with a heart on top and a long cape dragging behind just like Elsa. She also requested that she be able to take it off so she could swing. "Remember mommy NO tutu ok?" Sure. You got it! Well she wears it often, at least 3 times a week, and the cape is covered in dirt from running outside. (Usually I don't allow this but for this dress she designed, it is hers and it makes her happy.) Emilly has since requested I make her a shorts and top version with a little cape because it's hot and she wants to wear it to school. This will be fun. 

Wow. I think I love the pattern and your daughter even more now! I have to ask now, and there's no dodging the question - What are your upcoming goals and do you have any sneak peeks you can tell us about? 

As far as goals, I would like to become a little more consistent with being able to release one or two patterns a month. I don't have any peeks yet but I do have a pretty awesome dress pattern in the works for a certain sister of an ice queen in my near future who may or may not just love to build snowmen. 

That sounds perfect!  Thank you so much, Dawn, for taking the time to share yourself with us today!  And just for fun, I have to share this last picture of you from our staff page.  

You're welcome. Alright, that wraps up our highlight on Dawn Anderson today! If you want to see more of her amazing creations, please show her some love on her boutique page, Rainbows, Lolipops, and Gumdrops! Or of course you can tag her anytime in the patterns group! We love having Dawn as a part of our team at CKC and there's never a dull moment when she's around. Keep an eye out for her fabulous new designs in the future - I see a lot more great things coming. 

Let's Create! ~ Kristen 

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