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From Where I Sew: Victory Patterns


This month for our regular 'From Where I Sew' feature, I've been talking to Kris of Victory Patterns.  I have really enjoyed learning about her sewing space and they way in which she likes to sew.  I hope you do too!collage01



When I was ten or so I would complain to my mom that I couldn’t find anything fun to do. She’d say to me, “There’s no such thing as being bored” So, I’d find something to make. I was fascinated with the idea of ‘gluing’ stuff together with thread.

I became fascinated with old, vintage and handmade things.  To me, they were beautiful and it felt like they had more meaning or love in them.  I began to see that making your own clothes meant creating your own style and expressing yourself. I wanted to take part in the creative process of inventing what I wore. So I asked my friend to teach me how to sew. I loved that I could dream up anything and make it real.

I sew in my studio, which is in an old garment factory in Chinatown here in Toronto. It’s the tallest building in the area and has the most incredible view of the city. We used to sneak up to the roof and have movie nights under the light of the CN tower.

Built in 1912 our building originally housed a manufacturer of fur cloaks.  Also, on the very same floor as my studio, over 100 years ago, there was a sewing pattern company called Chatelaine. It’s amazing to think that someone could have been sitting right in my spot, doing this very same thing as I am now.  Now, the building is home to an amazing community of artists.

I share my space with my best friend, Emma, who is a fashion designer. There’s a station for sewing machines, an area for drafting, an office area, a kitchen, and storage. It’s a big bright space with a beautiful view of the city. Tall trees come right up to our windows on the 5th floor, so it feels like a treehouse. During sunsets the studio fills with pink light.

It’s nice to be a geek about something and have someone to be your geek partner.  When Emma and I sew together and talk through a tricky operation, we find ourselves speaking another language. It’s a moment where we’re like “What just came out of our mouths?!”

Sadly, our community here is breaking.  We’ve all just been notified of eviction due to renovations and will have to find a new home. This is the price we pay for living in an expensive city that is growing rapidly. We all feel so lucky though to have had this space, as it’s been an incredibly fostering place to create and grow. It’s been a dream.

When I get to sew, it’s a bit of a treat.  You would think that someone who makes sewing patterns for a living would spend a lot of time sewing, but I actually spend a lot of time on my computer. I’ve started developing my patterns in batches, so I’ll draft a few styles together, then sew and test together, then develop the patterns.

I’m methodical and precise when sewing for work.  I have to think about how to communicate the project to others.  My head is in a very different mode and it’s a slower process as I’m documenting everything as I work through the garment.

When I sew for myself, I feel freer to enjoy the process as it’s just for me. I’m not as much of a stickler for if it looks a bit shabby on the inside (shhh!)

I have make days with friends where we get together at my studio. It feels like Christmas morning when you know you’re going to treat yourself to a full day of selfish sewing. There’s usually lots of food and wine and so much chatting that not a lot of sewing gets done, but it’s the best to sew with friends.

I formed a very bad all-nighter habit during design school and I haven’t shaken it completely. When I’m working on something I’m excited about, I lose myself and have a weird determination to finish before I close my eyes for the night. It can lead to me biking home from my studio the next morning to put myself to bed, deliriously tired but excited about my new dress!

When sewing, I have a bad habit of not eating or drinking. I’ll boil a kettle three times, and still, no tea. I’ll realize that I’m hungry, and then two hours later, remember that I’m still hungry. I’m pretty bad at looking after myself when I’m with my machine.

Right now, I’m designing some pieces that are really easy and comfortable to wear. They aren’t fussy, just easy to throw on, bike around and work in. I find myself rifling through my closet just wanting to wear a sack, so I’m trying to get cozy.

I’ve just inherited my grannie’s collection of fabrics and beautiful trims. I’ve made one dress and one skirt so far and it felt great to be working with her fabric. I’m sure she’s looking down on me and smiling. It’s crazy to think that she had every intention of creating things with it all, but never got around to it. It leads me to think that I really need to get cracking through my own fabric collection. But, perhaps, if there’s some left over when I’m gone, my own granddaughter will appreciate it!


Thank you Kris for taking part in our feature.  Backstitch stocks Victory Patterns both in paper and pdf format, including the brand new Hannah which is only available in pdf.

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