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AlterEgo Designs

Meet the Author

Hey there, can you introduce yourself?

Medium amy barickman

Tell us a bit about the book?

The Magic Pattern Book is a fashion-forward sewing book that offers readers 36 garment and accessory patterns. The book is broken down into chapters that focus on a type of project: tank tops, skirts, dresses, cardigans, coats and accessories. Each chapter then has 6 different patterns, which are all based on a single master pattern and re-designed to create 6 unique styles. For instance, the accessory chapter offers three hats, a scarf, and two bag patterns, all of which are a made from a triangle shaped pattern piece.

What was the inspiration behind it?

he search for timeless and endearing vintage content led me to discover Mary Brooks Picken and the school she founded, The Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences. I was compelled to share Mary's story once I started collecting the school’s correspondence sewing courses and newsletters, Inspiration and Fashion Service. The material from these publications had a timeless quality that I felt would appeal to the modern DIY audience. This led to the creation of my book Vintage Notions Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion & Fun.

One of Mary’s popular columns’ in the newsletters was The Magic Page, which were instructions for creating patterns from diagrams for garments and accessories. Mary’s philosophy of fashion was to express your individual style, and she encouraged that by offering different options for her patterns. I expanded this idea into the concept of using a single simple pattern design to create multiple unique projects, thus The Magic Pattern Book!

Which is your favourite project?

When I am developing an Indygo Junction pattern, I will look for a way to add an upcycling option to the pattern. I love that our customer can make something new and not have to worry about accessibility to fabric. When we were brainstorming The Magic Pattern Book, I looked for a way to incorporate upcycling, eventually creating one upcycled project per chapter. I love using men’s suiting fabrics and love the way the Freddie hat turned out!

What is your craft space like?

My favorite feature in my studio is the natural light, coming from windows on three sides. I have my vintage collection on display, including an entire wall of vintage sewing and dressmaking content – so I am surrounded by inspiration. Oh, and Chloe, my cat, is a constant fixture as well – she makes a great mascot!

Have you always been creative?

Creativity was instilled in me from an early age by my mother and grandmother. In the 1980’s my mother started a business in our home teaching people how to make teddy bears, which eventually grew into a brick and mortar store that not only catered to crafters and sewers, but also carried clothing, jewelry and gifts. Being around that when I was young sparked my creative and entrepreneurial interest, and led me to develop my business, Indygo Junction.

When did you first start crafting?

The earliest item I remember making was a wrap shirt, which was my first garment project. My mom had invited several of my Girl Scout friends over for a sewing class. As a former Home Economics teacher I think my mom thought teaching her Girl Scouts would be a breeze, I remember otherwise! My daughter is now the age I was at that point and I admire my mom for the patience she had with us.

Who are your crafty heroes?

My biggest crafty hero is Mary Brooks Picken (1886-1981) who spent her life creating content in sewing books and patterns. She also partnered with influential sewing brands such as Coats & Clark. I have shared her writings through my book Vintage Notions and my blog, and hope to continue to introduce her sewing ingenuity to modern seamstresses. Read more about Mary Brooks Picken here.

I also admire Amy Butler. She was instrumental of ushering in the new wave of modern fabric and pattern designs into the industry. Nancy Zieman is a good friend of mine, and I think, an incredibly knowledgeable teacher of the sewing arts. I have been lucky to appear on her show a number of times in support of my books. You can view my most recent visit with Nancy where we discuss The Magic Pattern Book here. The craft world wouldn’t be complete with Martha Stewart. I love the way she looks at the crafting world and am inspired by her entrepreneurialism.

Although not written by a single author, the British magazine Selvedge is a resource that I love. The magazine is gorgeous, well designed and completely inspiring. It also features great articles on the history of sewing and design, as well as new artists and designers making history right now.

Where do you find inspiration?

I look for inspiration everywhere. I am an avid photographer and have built a library of nature images that I love to refer to. Fashion is a major influence on my work and I look to magazines and blogs to keep up with current trends. Vintage Made Modern is my motto and my vast vintage collection has influenced many of my new patterns and projects. For instance, I have many vintage aprons that have inspired new Indygo Junction patterns like the Asymmetrical or One Yard Overlap apron.

What's next for you?

What’s next? Well, I am never at a loss for things to do! Currently The Magic Fashion Show, which features designs from The Magic Pattern Book, is traveling with the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo. I am excited to be traveling to a few of the shows myself; this fall I will be in Fredericksburg, Overland Park and Minneapolis. I’ll be teaching at these shows, as well as emceeing The Magic Fashion Show. Indygo Junction will have a booth at the Overland Park Show and can be found in the Early Times Workshop booth at the other shows. I will continue to travel to Expo stops in the Spring as well. Also, QuiltCon is coming up and Indygo Junction will be there. We can’t wait!

In 2013 I debuted a new fabric line, Crossroads Denim, as well as a coordinating line of Crossroads patterns, which, of course, feature the denim. Continuing to develop new pattern ideas and denim colors is at the forefront of my mind., as this new brand continues to grow. I have also recently re-designed as a resource for vintage images, eBooks, patterns, etc. I am working to pull out the best sewing related content from The Women’s Institute as well as lessons and wisdom from Mary Brooks Picken. Keep in touch by signing up for our newsletters and come visit me at a Sewing & Quilt Expo near you!

Publisher's Description

Home sewing is booming again. Inspired by sites like Etsy, Craftsy, Pinterest, and CreativeBug, by the continuing popularity of Project Runway and other fashion shows, and by the ever-growing DIY movement, there are more than 35 million sewists in America. Now, for this new generation that wants to make their own clothes, express their fashion sense, look great, be creative—and save money, to boot—comes Amy Barickman’s The Magic Pattern Book, an illustrated guide to creating a one-of-a-kind wardrobe from six magic patterns.

What makes a sewing pattern magic? It’s a simple equation: One “magic” pattern can be transformed into six different looks—for example, The Skirt (pattern B) yields an A-line skirt, a maxi skirt, a pleated hem skirt, a pencil wrap skirt, a flared bias skirt, and a ruffled mini. Then comes even more magic—there are six magic patterns in The Magic Pattern Book, resulting in thirty-six different looks. Following each look are suggestions for specific fabrics, many of them repurposed items, for a total of 216 garments and accessories. The skill level is basic, and patterns are bundled onto a CD in an envelope in the back of the book, and also found online (to be downloaded and printed out on 81/2" x 11" paper).

What makes a book magic? Another simple equation: great value, a great promise, a great package, and a great author.


Head over to He Sowed, She Sewed tomorrow to find out more about the book!