Finally, I have my own website and blog for Pattern By Malena!! Let’s start with a presentation about me and my company!
My name is Malena and I started my own company in the fall of 2018. My company’s official name in Swedish is “Umeå Formgivning och Mönster AB” (in English: Umeå Design and Pattern Ltd, and Umeå is the city I live in here in Sweden). I work mainly as a freelance pattern maker, sometimes I have sewing or draping classes and I’m currently working my own sewing patterns in PDF format for sale under the name Pattern by Malena. And then there are some other projects and jobs besides that as well, the fun of being “your own” is that the jobs can vary quite a lot.
As a pattern maker, I am responsible for the fit of the garments. I draw pattern parts for how e.g. the front piece, back piece, sleeve and collar should be cut out, making sure everything goes together and gets the right silhouette and fit when all parts are sewn together. You draw the pattern in a base size and then you grade the pattern in more sizes. I do this in a CAD program called Modaris Lectra. Then I can email the files to suppliers who can print it out as paper patterns.
How did I end up here in Umeå? Me and my husband have lived in a few cities before we decided to move here. I was born and raised in Korsholm outside of Vaasa, Finland. During high school and secondary school, sewing was my absolute favorite subject (or it’s perhaps called home economic?) and I sewed a lot of clothes for myself. I started studying Design and Fashion in Turku at the Novia University of Applied Sciences. My travel interest got started and I was on an internship in Benin, West Africa and in Stockholm, Sweden at Filippa K. And if you study in the textile industry in Finland or Sweden, the probability is that you will end up in Borås too, that is the textile mecca of Sweden.
After studying I started working at H&M and moved to Stockholm. I worked within the H&M Group for almost 10 years, but with a few different tasks. I started as a pattern assistant at H&M +, then pattern maker on knitwear and jersey at the Ladies Modern Classic. After that, we lived in Shanghai for two years where I worked with children’s clothes. Then I went back to the Modern Classic for a quick turn to finally ended up at Arket working on their children and baby collection. So, I have gone from working with plus sizes to baby clothes, a very fun trip! And it was about that time that we got our own little baby and the thoughts of Umeå were born. We wanted to move closer to our families, have a house, garden and car and be closer to nature. Umeå became a perfect location between our families and a quite okay big city (depends what you compare it to of course). The tough question for me was, what will I do for a living? Umeå is not really known for being a large textile town, so getting a job at a clothing company was quite unlikely. But I still wanted to work with this, so then I had to start my own company.
Running my own business have never been something I wanted, so it was incredibly tough to quit my job at Arket. But now after a year, I’m starting to feel a little bit more secure with my choice. There are still lots of things I must learn, especially when it comes to the bureaucratic part like taxes, VAT and financial statements. Fortunately, there are others who know this better that helps me … My concern about not having enough jobs and customers is starting to settle, but it will probably never go away. So far, I have had the opportunity to work with a few different companies and customers, for example Sigr, Better Bodies and my old employer H&M. I have mainly worked on designing patterns in basic size and for some customers have graded their as well. And some costumers only need help with the grading. It has been great assignments and you learn so much when working with others and with different companies.
In the future I plan to do more posts and dive into all of this. And if you have any questions or want to read more about, just email or write a comment! You can find me on Instagram at @patternbymalena and @formgivingsochmonster