Saturday, May 07, 2011

20 Minutes with Christine Jonson

The most amazing thing happened to me yesterday afternoon and it started with an email.  Seriously a simple email with a version of a title that I've probably read at least a dozen times...but this time...this time it was special!

Let's start at the beginning so you will understand why I was so excited when I received the email.  About a dozen years ago I began my foray into the internet sewing community.  I started with the mailing lists on Quiltropolis and moved onto the sewing forum, Sewing World (the precursor to Stitchers Guild).  It was there that my eyes were really opened to what kind of sewist I could become because the forum consisted of not only sewists but patternmakers, designers and entrepreneurs...people actively engaged in making their living from their sewing talents.

One of the participants on this board was Christine Jonson.  She sold this awesome cotton/lycra knit fabric and these really kewl patterns.  She had a devoted band of followers and I loved seeing the pictures of the outfits they constructed and reading about their sewing journeys.  However, my interest was really piqued when Kathryn (I Made This!) made a couple of Christine's Swing Jackets.  I think Kathryn has made three in total but it was this one, that caused me to purchase the pattern.

At the time, I  purchased not only the Swing Jacket



but the Swing Shirt too...



Both of these patterns worked for the business casual atmosphere of the job I had at that time.  But as you all are aware, I moved on to a more conservative workplace and sadly neither of these patterns were made.

So now that you have the backstory, here is the part that made my day!  I received an email from Christine where she asked me if I would be interested in reviewing a pattern and her fabric on my blog.  She said a couple of nice things about the blog and that she has read it off and on for the last year.  Now that sentence alone made my heart beat a little faster...*LOL*  She left her email address and her phone number, so I called her.  Seriously, picked up the phone from work and called expecting to leave a message and have her call me back.

But I had forgotten that small business owners are generally in their place of business and ready and willing to speak with their customers!  Silly me!  Christine comes to the phone and spends 20 minutes with me discussing the type of pattern that would work for my needs.  Never once did she try to steer me to one of her popular or new patterns...the emphasis was on what would work for me.  Then we discussed fabric.  OMG!  I was smiling so wide that several of my co-workers later asked me who I was talking to...but seriously people talking to Christine Jonson about what fabric works best with what pattern...heaven!  *LOL*

So decisions were made, a pattern chosen, fabric picked and I'm sure that it's all winging its way to me as you read this.  Here's what I want you to know...not only was Christine gracious and helpful to me, but she will be the same way with you!  If you visit her site, Christine Jonson Patterns, and have a question regarding the fabric or her patterns, she is available to you via email and phone, too.

Don't forget that Christine's patterns are featured in this month's (June/July 2011) Threads.  The article is called, "Sew a Mix & Match Summer Wardrobe" and features several of Christine's patterns and fabrics.  It is a step by step tutorial on how to get 10 great and easy summer garments.  Christine also has a Facebook page and a twitter account, so you can follow her at both.  If you just want to see pictures of her garments made up, Christine has a Flickr account showing her patterns made up and modeled.

Finally, yes I'm promoting her products!  Christine is a designer that I've admired for years who produces a quality product.  I'm glad that she reached out to me to try one of her patterns, because I hadn't really looked at her site, prior to the Threads article, in some time.  There are a few additional patterns I'd like to try, as well as, several pieces of her fabrics that would work well in my corporate wardrobe.  But here's the kicker, most of you don't live in my work-world and the selection is even greater and more far reaching for you. 

If you are a follower of Christine Jonson, and have used her fabrics and patterns, would you kindly leave a comment and tell us why you like her products?  Would you speak to the quality of the fabric?  How the patterns work for you?  And her customer service?  The rest of us would so appreciate any info you can pass along!  Thanks!

I will have several follow-up posts as I go through the construction process for the dress.  I can guarantee you that my opinions will be truthful and not swayed at all by this opportunity...so stay tuned as the journey continues...

...as always, more later!

43 comments:

  1. Smiling!!!

    Very cool!!! No, make that very kewl!!!

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  2. How awesome! I love the power of the internet!

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  3. Fabulous! I'll have to check out Christine's website, sounds like there may a pattern or two that I should add to my collection!

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  4. I'll speak to her knits. They are the best, really good drape and they snap back into shape. I found her knits about twelve years ago when I was making my own nursing tops. All the knits I found were terrible, they didn't retain their shape a nursing mother needs. I was drafting my own nursing tops and was scouring the internet for fabric and found her. I was a little hesitant about the price but once I made, used and washed tops I was sold. The best knits ever and totally worth the price!

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  5. I see a pattern or three that catches my eye! Can't wait to see your results.

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  6. OI'm heading to her site right now!h My Carolyn. How thrilling for you!!!

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  7. I've bought her fabric. The fabric was a wonderful quality. All were rayon jersey in spring colors, have been made up, and washed and worn over and over. They still look fantastic. I highly recommend her fabrics. I have not tried her patterns yet, but I like what I have seen sewn up online.
    Congratulations on being contacted. I think you are an excellent ambassador for home sewers.

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  8. Congratulations - I'm looking forward to seeing this project unfold.

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  9. Oh gosh, i'm giddy with excitement WITH you! How fun! I can't wait to see your project, and I didn't know she had a flickr, so thank you for the heads up!

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  10. I've met Christine several times. We both live in MI, and a sewing group to which I belong has invited her on many occasions to do a trunk show of her patterns and fabrics. She is delightful. Oh, and her husband is a REAL blacksmith! Her Inset Jacket is one of my favorites.

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  11. How exciting! I can't wait to see the final project. I learned of Christine Jonson from City-Wide Couture Group of Atlanta. One of the members made a pair of pants from Travel Trio One-1204 and wore them to the meeting. Those pants are exactly what I need for work. When I got home, I bought the pattern. I haven't made them yet but they are number 2 on my sewing list. I will be ordering fabric from her based on comments here and from members of my sewing group.

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  12. I love CJ patterns because the fit is just right, out of the envelope. I've made the Travel Trio one several times...love the tee shirt...and I'm seriously considering Travel Trio 2, the hoodie/funnel neck shirt is a winning combination. I'm looking forward to your wrap dress, I have been wanting to make one for some time.

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  13. Congrats! What a feeling to have someone you admire recognize your skills and talents! Kudos to you and Christine on some amazingly wonderful "customer service"!

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  14. Carolyn, I've used a couple of CJ patterns, and love the swing jacket in particular. I've used a few of her fabrics--the quality is sublime--the ponte knits I purchased from her are heavenly!

    I think Christine is very wise to ask you to review one of her patterns!

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  15. That's awesome! I'm really interested in seeing your finished dress - the pattern looks pretty and the fabric fabulous.

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  16. Awesome! I can actually feel you smiling through your post!

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  17. What a thrill to be working with such a star! Congrats, you deserve it!

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  18. Very cool, Carolyn! I have also collected a few of her patterns but have yet to sew any up. I love your choices, especially that fabric. Can't wait to see it made up! :)

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  19. How super exciting! That's an honor and an opportunity all wrapped up in one.

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  20. How exciting, can't wait to see your reviews and garments.

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  21. Don't have any comment on the patterns of the fabrics 'cause I've not really sewn with knits, but, I've always looked at her patterns and told myself that when I do start sewing with knits, hers will be the ones I buy. Reason - the sewers on Stitcher's Guild say so.

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  22. What an exciting 20 minutes!

    I've got one of her patterns but haven't made it yet. Also and FB follower but I didn't know about the flicker account. Thanks!

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  23. I live in SE Michigan. Christine Jonson hosted the Detroit Chapter of ASG at her studio for a four-part series during April. She is warm and engaging and provided us with a wealth of knowledge regarding knits and her patterns. All of the knits were amazing...a few followed me home. Check out the tips on her website where she shares lots of great advice on working with knits. She also has published a book "The Little Black Dress" with sewing tips and more.
    I look forward to reading about your adventure with her pattern.
    Tari (no longer a lurker)

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  25. CJ is the best! When you call with a question, she will take time help you understand what the best product is for you. I have a difficult plus figure to fit, and her patterns fir well with minimal alterations.

    I will be interested to see how you like her designs!

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  26. I have not sewn with CJ's patterns or fabrics. But I've seen both. The swatches that the girls in my ASG bring in are rich, vibrant, have great recovery and a wonderful hand. The patterns I've seen made up - stunning.

    Can't wait to see yours. g

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  27. Way cool! I can't wait to see and read all about your dress,
    Congratulations!!

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  28. Hi Carolyn--delurking (in response to your earlier eloquent posts on the subject!) to say that I made a pair of Christine's Wide Leg Pants a really long time ago (say 1996 or so...) and literally wore them around the world. OK, just as far as southern Africa and Amsterdam, but that was exotic for me!

    Her substantial cotton-lycra knit fabric finally started showing its age in the last couple of years, but consider that I abused it in the dryer for more than 10 years! Great fabric, great pattern and all my dealings with Christine were a pleasure.

    Glad to hear about your good experience and I await your new project eagerly!

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  29. How exciting for you to have someone you admire think the same of you. I like the pattern and fabric you chose. Can't wait to see the outcome.

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  30. I'm so happy for you! I can't wait to see your progress. I purchased Travel Trio #3 when it was featured in Threads a while back. The Shirred Top #426 has been on my wish list forever. Once my skills grow, I think I'll feel better about purchasing her fabric. It looks great, but I thought it was very expensive.

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  31. Soooo exciting. I have not used her patterns or fabric - but I will be signing on to her FB page and perusing her offerings. I have a lot of sewing planned for this summer - I need a new wardrobe! I am looking forward to seeing this thread unfold - and the final results!

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  32. What fun. Your choices look fabulous. Can't wait to see the pattern made up.

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  33. Carolyn, thanks for the shout out on the CJ swing jackets that I have made. Enjoy working with Christine! She couldn't have chosen a better person to work with.

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  34. Congratulations! I really look forward to your thoughts because I know they will be honest, smart and useful. CJ picked a great reviewer.

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  35. I can't think of anyone better suited to this task! I will check CJ out. Thanks.

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  36. *LIKE* very cool news Carolyn. I haven't used her fabrics or her patterns - YET.

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  37. Congratulations, Carolyn! I've made up a few of the CJ tops - I generally like a close fitting knit top. I also don't have to fiddle with very many adjustments. So most I've made are made up directly from the pattern size. I don't recall finding any pattern errors. The shirred top (#426)fits quite well and really doesn't take too much time to make up. I do believe on the Princess Wrap (#426 also) I brought the cross-overk up some. I've also made up the V-Neck T several times (#714) it goes together easily, fit wells. I think it would extend well into a tunic/dress. I have several other CJ patterns I haven't made up yet. I've also been inspired by Kathryn's Swing Coat collection, and while I haven't made this up yet (or twice or more!), it is on the moving que vs the holding que.

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  38. Oh you lucky dog! I've been on a CJ kick lately. I have that Princess Dress pattern and the perfect pattern just waiting to be made up. I love her patterns. Even on my larger frame, they look very stylish! I also love that her patterns lend themselves to adaption -- changing sleeve lengths (or removing them entirely!), adjusting skirt lengths, etc.
    And the quality of her fabrics is second to none. Some of the very best knits I have ever bought on the web. I never worry about the quality of the fabric.

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  39. I'm looking forward to following you on this - how exciting! I bought my first CJ Pattern (Princess Dress) Monday at my local fabric store - Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul, MN.They will also be having her trunk show sometime in June.

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  40. Have to say I love Christine Jonson's fabrics, her patterns, and her customer service! I bought some of her Rayon-Lycra knits a few years ago, have worn them almost every week since, washing and machine drying them, and they still look almost as nice as when I got them.
    You'll love her fabrics and the patterns are super well drafted!
    Lynda Santa Rosa, CA

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  41. I agree, Christine, her patterns and fabrics were instrumental in getting me back to sewing for myself after a long hiatus. I love her patterns and have had the pleasure of chatting with her several times. She is always most helpful---a lovely person.

    Deirdre

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  42. Carolyn, I don't know how I missed this post earlier, but I'm glad I found it today. I first fell in love with CJ patterns when I used the Basewear 2 pattern for some turtlenecks and sleeveless shells. I have ordered a couple of patterns since then, but had not tried them. Then, the Threads article came out and I was hooked. I ordered the keyhole top, bellsleeve wrap, and travel trio three. I have already made the keyhole, and when I return from Africa, I plan on making all of the others. I love her patterns and now I need to try her fabrics!

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