Pellon: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Erin Erickson: Most of my projects are functional, like purses, dog beds, and gadget cases. They usually fill some kind of need.
P: What does your creative process entail?
EE: Prototypes and a lot of math. I don’t usually make throwaway mockups or muslins. I get a lot of the measurements and design elements down on paper (as best I can, since I can’t really draw) and then I make a real sample. I keep a notebook with very detailed
measurements and design choices so that I can refer to it later and make changes. Then I create digital pattern pieces which I use to make a series of prototypes that I use to revise everything from zipper and pocket placement to interfacing choices. Once I have a prototype I’m completely happy with, I make one or two more samples as I take all of the step-by-step photos while writing the instructions.
P: Why do you enjoy sewing/crafting/quilting?
EE: Sewing allows me to be creative without actually being artistic. I don’t paint or draw or scrapbook. I’m an extremely amateur photograph and that’s about it. Sewing is geometry and math and spatial skills, and it constantly gives me a new problem to solve. We also have an amazing sewing community that’s fun and supportive and a bit geeky in the best possible way.
P: Do you create mainly for satisfaction, gifts, art or another reason?
EE: For function, mostly. I need a tote bag, so I make a tote bag. I actually use all of the bags I’ve made patterns for on a rotating basis.
P: What tips or tricks learned through experience can you share?
EE: Zippers are not scary. Always trim batting and interfacing from your seam allowance. Cut your fusible interfacing smaller than your fabric. Use a longer stitch length when you topstitch. Pull threads to the back and tie off. Use bigger needles. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
P: When and why did you start sewing/quilting/crafting?
EE: I was an overachiever in middle school Home Ec. Most people made a locker caddy, I made three duffle bags. I suppose I never learned to fear zippers? My mom and aunts sewed things like halloween costumes and pillow cases, so I was always surrounded by
it. I got my first sewing machine of my own several years ago with the intention of making fabric harnesses for my Yorkies. I started making bags soon after that, and never really looked back. I was frustrated by zippered bag patterns that didn’t have the most professional looking installations. I had a closet full of zippered fabric purses with fully finished linings. I knew there had to be a way to do it, so I literally sat on the floor of my closet in a pile of bags until I could wrap my head around it. Teaching others would be the tricky part, and my super detailed, overly-photographed PDF patterns were the answer.
P: What inspires you to start a project?
EE: Sometimes a friend or a customer will specifically ask for something and it will spark an idea. Sometimes the dogs need new beds. Most of the time I just go down the never ending list. And I love every minute of it.