Mainsail studio Wendy SloanWho are you and what do you do?  I’m Wendy Sloan.  I design fabric, costume accessories, and plush creatures to inspire imaginary play.  Recently I’ve begun transforming dragon, fairy, and butterfly wings into commercial sewing patterns so that others might have the joy of making their own.

Why do you do what you do?  Children often have one special object – something that inspires their imagination, cheers them up when they are down or provides a playful escape from everyday life.  I like to think I might be creating that one special thing for a child.

What’s your background?  I have a 16 year career in marketing for the tourism industry and shopping centers.  I’ve also been an animal groomer and an art teacher.  I do not have formal training in fashion design or sewing, however I’ve been self drafting patterns and sewing since I was a teenager.  I was informally taught everything I’ve ever needed to know by my mother, one of the most incredible (yet humble) costume designers.

What work do you most enjoying doing?  Pattern drafting is my favorite thing to do.  However I’ve spent most of my sewing career voraciously protecting my patterns.  It was only after teaching art to children that I realized sharing and teaching is much more rewarding.

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A messy studio is a busy studio.

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Big cutting tables are a must when making adult-sized butterfly wings.

Describe where you work.   My studio is the basement level of my house – which isn’t really a basement.  I have a big window that over looks my wooded backyard where I can watch my children play and spot the occasional fox or deer as I work.  It’s a large space with areas for serging, cutting, sewing, ironing, designing and even has a little library room tucked under the stairs and built in desks and cabinets.  Somehow I lucked into a finding a home with all of this in place!  (thank you previous owner!)  I think the best part of my studio is a storage closet for my fabric hoard.

During the day I have my five year old helping or playing nearby while I work.  At night I’m usually up until the wee hours of the morning working on projects to meet tight deadlines.  I’m a full-time WAHM which isn’t easy, going to bed at 3AM is a common occurance.   To stay awake and focused I listen to my favorite bands:   Coldplay helps me relax for sketching and scheming new ideas.  Dave Matthews Band motivates me for joyful sewing.   Zac Brown Band inspires me to push through when I’m tired or feel like giving up.

What superpower would you have and why?  I would fly.  I’d love to see if my wings could really work!

What is your dream project?  My dream project is a full body life sized Pegasus installation.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?  To be kind, always.

Professionally, what’s your goal?  To teach at sewing and fabric events.  I’d love to share my techniques with others face to face.

What wouldn’t you do without?  I can’t do without my children.  Their joyful ideas keep me inspired and sane in these crazy times.mycrazykids