If you’ve ever sewn your own clothes, chances are you’ve used a Simplicity pattern sometime in the past few years. And if you’ve been using Simplicity patterns, there’s a good chance that Deborah Kreiling played a role in the selection, design, and instructions on that pattern. Deborah is a — are we allowed to say “freaking expert”? — fountain of sewing knowledge. We had the pleasure of keeping her cooped up in our studios during the past week, so of course we sat down with her a did a little behind-the-scenes interview with her.
It’s the rules. If you film with us, I will hijack one of your lunch hours.
But it’s cool. I don’t mind if you talk with food in your mouth. So, sewists: here’s why you should be really, really excited to take Creativebug’s sewing classes with Deborah (or Debbie, if you’re feeling friendly).
Behind the Scenes with Deborah Kreiling
Where do you live?
Do you have any adorable pets/kids/life partners we should know about?
I do have an adorable partner! In fact, he’s here in SF with me now. Only he’s out mountain biking and I’m in the studio with you guys. He has a daughter, and because of her we have two grandchildren. I also have two grown nieces, one of whom has two adorable kids. (ed. note: It’s true. We saw pictures.)
How and when did you get into sewing?
I’ve been sewing my whole life. I started with doll clothes.
First step: I lived in Janesville, WI where I worked in a fabric store. Then I moved back to New York where I got a job at Simplicity writing pattern directions. It wasn’t my dream job, but I needed a job and I found out that I really enjoyed it. It was a match made in heaven.
…and it’s been 35 years with Simplcity as of last April! I’ve moved on from writing pattern directions, but if I could still do that for my job I would. I absolutely love figuring out the best way to put a pattern together.
What’s the toughest part of sewing?
Making the decision of what to sew. There are “sew” (haha) many options, deciding what to tackle next is really hard. The leap you take is committing to a project.
I’ve got drawers and closets full of fabric.
What advice would you give beginning sewists?
You’re going to invest time and energy and want to be successful in these projects. But I want everyone’s first project to be making something they already have. Your first project shouldn’t be an experiment. For example: If you know you love long, flowy skirts, start out by making a long flowy skirt. That way, there’s a 50% chance that you’ll end up with something you actually like and will wear. You won’t want to continue sewing if your first experience is colored by failure.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I work in the mecca of pattern design! I get to help pick which patterns Simplicity carries based on street fashion, runways, and trends, so I’ve always got plenty of sewing inspiration around me.
I love clothes and I love to sew, and when I find something I like I tend to make it 3-4 times. And I make what I feel like making.
How do you make time to sew (outside of work)?
It’s hard. In the summer, I do a lot of mountain biking and I work full time, but once I’ve decided I want to make something, I’ll make the time.
At home, my sewing machine is always set up. In fact, we just rearranged our bedroom so that I can use one corner of it as my sewing station. And I go piece by piece. I’ll cut the pattern out one day, stitch darts the next day, finish hems another day. I’ll do thirty minutes here and there. I’ll even work on a project in the mornings before heading to work, if I’ve woken up early and don’t have anything else to do.
A project doesn’t have to be done all at once.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
What is your most favorite thing you’ve ever made?
A couple of summers ago I was in really good shape and I was on a sewing craze. I made 20 dresses that summer, all of them different. But that summer I sewed — using a Simplicity pattern — a dress that had a pencil skirt and a knit top with a cowl neck. I made it with a cropped jacket. I used a gorgeous dark team cotton sateen, made my own trim with bias pleating, and even made a belt with a great buckle I found.
I. Loved. That. Dress.
Be honest: How much fun is it to film these Creativebug classes…or at least to get to hang out in SF for a while?
You know, the first day was hard because it was all so new. I felt a little unprepared…but once we started the second garment it all got much better.
What is the best part of filming a class?
Sharing my knowledge. It’s nice being able to say all the stuff that’s in my head, the things you might not think to tell someone in the moment.
Okay, last question. Where can we stalk you online?
Don’t stalk me! Follow Simplicity: