Jun 11, 2012

Rugrat Design - Customer Feature


We recently had the opportunity to "sit down" with Lesley, the owner and designer of Rugrat Design. Allow me to introduce you to one very talented seamstress!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My favorite "job" titles are: wife (married to my college sweetheart for 9 years) , and mom (of 2 girls, ages 5 and 18 months.)   I used to work full time "professionally" (aka out of the home) but am now a stay at home mom with my girls and love it. I watch a few others kids during the day as well to make keep things interesting :)  And while the stay at home vs. professional mom debate is a heated one I know (and I surely won't weigh in on), I can say that this is the best, yet hardest, job I've ever had. But I wouldn't trade it for the world (but would trade in an hour for a massage and a margarita here and there!)  

Is there a story behind your shop name?
When I decided I wanted to start selling my items I realized I needed a name. My husband actually gets credit for the name Rugrat Design.  I had a long list that I just added ideas to and figured something would hit me. I had things listed like raspberry kids or kid delight.  Nothing worked.  My husband pointed out that I was making mostly kid related items and that I often call our own kids "Rugrats" (though they are quite sweet!)  So, Rugrat Design was born.  The little umlot and long e symbol are my poke of fun at the super high end boutique shops that feel having that designer name with special characters and spellings somehow permits higher prices.  Not here- I'm a down to earth mom who realizes we all want our kids to look cute but also want them to have fun.  No one wants their kid to sit in their little precious outfit perfectly clean because it cost too much to have fun it. NO WAY!  Rugrat Design is made to provide style- yet in a comfortable, fashionable and fun way that is also friendly on the budget.    
What is your sewing story?
I guess it all started with my mom. She had a sewing machine as long as I remember.  Still does.  She made dresses, dolls, quilts and crafty things for my sister and me growing up.  She helped us to make things as we wanted to learn too.  I remember trips to the fabric store to look at patterns, buy fabric then going home to make our new finds.  She never limited what we could try to make.  I'm pretty sure if I dug in her basement I could still find the swim suit pattern and related material I bought as a teen with the plan to make my own swimsuit. (This never happened. A few cuts in I realized it was going to be December before Id get that suit done and be able to actually wear it to the pool. And, in hindsight, if I had gotten it done, I'm pretty sure it wasn't going to fit quite like that McCall pattern promised!)  Sewing as a child with my mom turned into sewing as a teen more on my own, making my then fiance a giant quit in college, making costumes for the college play, then when I graduated college my mom got me my own sewing machine.  I was about to get married and move 5 states away.  I agreed, ever new wife and graduate needed their own sewing machine.  After graduation my machine didn't get a ton of use. It sat nicely in it's case in my closet- it came out periodically to make a shower curtain or hem curtains but didn't get much use UNTIL our first daughter was born. The inability to find bedding I liked for her room had me at the fabric stores selecting fabrics to make her bedding. And my sweet mom made matching quilt & pillows for the room!  Then, bedding turned into curtains and dresses, and tops and diaper covers.  Then as she aged she started to like the fabric store trips too and selected fabrics for "mommy make my friend a dress" too.  Then the gifts I made for her friends and for some of my own as baby gifts, shower gifts, etc. brought recommendations that I "should sell this stuff."  One thing led to another and BAM- Rugrat Design was born.   
 
Who is your sewing inspiration?
This has 3 answers - 1: my own kids. I love to dress them in cute styles- and sometimes matching (and thankfully they enjoy that too!)  And it's so fun to make items together having the kids select fabrics they like, help with the cutting, pinning & even some stitching for the older one.  (The younger one enjoys sitting on my lap watching me feed fabric through the machine. She loves the serger too!)   And, when my oldest has an idea like "I wish I could make ___________" I love to help her fulfill that dream and we craft, design and make what she's thinking of.

2 - Life.  I find myself saying "what would make this easier?" Then I want to make it.

Answer 3: I do get inspired by the high end, cute, stylish boutiques. I see something that has too many dollar signs and get inspired and say "How could we make that affordable & usable for the rest of the world?"   And fabrics- oh fabrics- how I have an obsession! (My Master's degree is in clinical counseling- I'm pretty sure I could create a new diagnosis for Excessive Fabric Love!)   Seeing the beautiful colors and designs of fabrics gets me giddy inside and I MUST CREATE! 
   
 Aside from sewing, what do you enjoy doing?


Creativity of all types is fun for me- crafts, games, trip adventures. It's all fun!  We enjoy traveling and doing so in a way that you can SEE a lot of the trip (we took a family RV trip a couple years ago. 10 days, 3000 miles, tons of fun!) I am not a cook, but my husband is great in the kitchen so I enjoy what he creates! And, I love to plan a party/event/celebration.  For down time....well...what I think I'd like to do in down time- I have a stack of magazines from the past 12 months I have goals of reading.  I like a good movie. A nice glass or two of wine & quiet evening on the porch talking with my husband is always a treat too!  
What advice would you like to share with new sewists?
Don't over think it. Don't give up. And don't feel you have to follow the pattern exactly. You have ideas- go with them. I often edit a pattern to make it more of what I want - or what I think it should be.  And, it's Ok to end up with an item you hate.  That's what seam rippers are for.  And save your scraps (at least those 6x6".) never know what you may create next with them. [Note- see above- self diagnosed fabric hoarder.]

I've also found that working from a pattern by an individual (such as Little Lizard King and some of the other great Etsy sellers) is so much more enjoyable than a store bought pattern.  There are some great ones in the stores- but they don't flow as easily as the ones you buy from someone you know actually put them together with time, attention, research, love & patience.

Get the right tools. You don't need the $3500 machine to start (or really ever!) but get a decent machine, a good set of scissors (nothing is worse than cutting fabric with dull scissors), a rotary cutter & board will be your new BFF, a magnetic pin holder (believe me, you will spill them all over at least once & that magnet will be your second BFF!)  And if you have space in your house- create a sewing area for you. Even if it's a card table and a Rubbermaid box of your supplies.Make it your space to create!    
  Where can we find you online?

  My facebook page is: www.facebook.com/rugratdesign   become a fan and stay on top of new styles, fabrics, and coupon codes!!  I also post when/where I will be at local craft shows (in the Ohio area.)

My etsy store is: www.etsy.com/shop/rugratdesign

My website is: http://www.rugratdesign.com/ (Please note- it's not completely finished. I'm adding photos from the latest shoot & completely some of the product pages to be compete BUT it's coming along and folks are welcome to stop by!) 

 Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Rugrat Design is a one woman shop- me.  I create everything personally in my home studio. I give each item the love & attention I'd want something  I bought to be made with.  I love to create ready to buy pieces but also welcome custom orders and working with someone to create exactly what they want for their little one/themselves/etc.  And, if fans ever see or think of something they think "Rugrat Design should make that"- I welcome those suggestions! Many of my products are results of people suggestions!   

Thanks so much for sharing a bit of you and your talent with us!! Now, go check out some of the little pretties Lesley has created!!

Until next time....


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