Contributor Spotlight / SIMPLE / Meghann Halfmoon
Lastly, in our series on the Halfmoon Strand Dress/Top, we're excited to share this Contributor Spotlight post and introduce the pattern maker to you! Meghann Halfmoon of Halfmoon Atelier designed the stunning Dress/Tank sewing pattern featured in Making No. 9 / SIMPLE. Meghann is a pattern designer, creator of extraordinary sewing retreats, and is passionate about sustainable sewing. She lives with her family on the small island of Saba in the Caribbean.
What is your craft, and how did you get started?
My main craft for my business is sewing. My mom had made all my clothes when I was a toddler, which, of course, fascinated me. She taught me how to cross-stitch as a small child and then how to use a sewing machine when I was around 10. She attempted to teach me how to read patterns, but I never really cared for following other people's directions. I also had so many ideas of my own designs and fabric combinations. Those things never really worked out much when I was younger, but sewing is a craft that I've always come back to, even after long pauses, and I still like to do it my own way. Which I guess is how I came to designing sewing patterns.
How would you describe your aesthetic and style?
My designs tend toward minimalist but exude a feeling of warmth and understated uniqueness. I focus on the form and lines and on creating comfortable, functional, and versatile designs that can be worn anywhere, from the beach to the office, from lunch to evening cocktails.
What made you want to design patterns?
A few different things happened that led me to creating sewing patterns. I had started my business selling finished products – items that I designed and made – and was running my business both through Etsy and in a brick-and-mortar shop here on Saba. Things were actually going really well, but I got tired of making the same thing over and over, and I also found it very stressful to make items, not knowing if they would sell. The location and climate of Saba also make sourcing and keeping inventory difficult. I was coming up to a point where I was going to have to make a big order of fabric and leather and realized I didn't want to do that and that I'd rather focus on the design. So I sold off the products I still had and closed my brick-and-mortar shop, and started the process of transitioning my business to target makers. It ended up being good timing as well because I did this right around the time of the hurricanes of 2017, after which our postal system has never fully recovered.
What's currently inspiring you?
Leaves, vegetables, and jeans. My garden is bordered by tropical jungle, and I love seeing all the different sizes and shapes and shades of the leaves. I love vegetables, so I think they might always inspire me. And also jeans. I adore jeans. Everything I make or design – probably ever – will go well with or next to jeans.
How do you refill your creative tank?
I try to put my phone down in a different room and sit with a paper and pencil and just draw. Sometimes I draw little sketches, sometimes it's words and plans for projects. I've recently purchased some very basic supplies for block printing and screen printing. I find it difficult to do anything crafty without thinking about how to integrate it into my business. I wish I was better at separating craft for work and craft for fun, but it's something I'm still working on.
Do you have other passions and hobbies?
Pottery. I sold off my kiln and pottery supplies when I shut my shop, but I quite miss it! While I love sewing and am happy to be practicing a craft that does not require as much space, I may be even more passionate about making pottery. I love the feeling of my hands in the clay and the process of molding and throwing. I miss it dearly, in fact, and hope to find a way to start again in the next year.
What's your favorite material to work with, and why?
In sewing? Probably linen. Oddly enough, I had never done anything with linen until a year or two ago. But I adore it! I love how easily it presses, cuts, and sews. But it also drapes so nicely, without being clingy.
But in life, clay. I love that you can create so much out of dirt. And the beauty that comes from getting your hands dirty.
Making anything is quite magical, though, isn't it?
Tell us about a challenge in your making that you've overcome.
I can't really think of anything specific – it's all been a huge challenge! The challenge now is to find a way to create time for simply making (rather than making for business).
If you could tell yourself something back when you first started creating, what would it be?
"You're doing a good job. Be patient with yourself. Take your time, and just enjoy the process." I keep telling myself these things. I have a hard time waiting patiently for results and not putting too much pressure on myself.
Has your craft changed any of your perspectives on life?
Yes. I think I have a far greater appreciation simply for how things are made – whether that's clothing or shoes or houses, anything. It's amazing to think of the process that any random item has gone through to make its way to you.
Why do you create & what do you hope to express with the things you make?
So many reasons!
I create to show my kids that they can make something from "nothing" and that everything goes through a process of idea to gather supplies to trial and error before it reaches a final result.
I create for sustainability – using mainly ethically produced and sourced materials or re-using second-hand clothes to create my handmade wardrobe.
I create to express all the ideas that bubble up inside of me.
I create for beauty and for mental health. I'm a better person when I create.
What is one of your favorite things about the Halfmoon Strand Dress/Top you designed in SIMPLE?
The clean line of the straps from the back yoke, rounding under the arm, and back into the top of the back yoke is definitely one of my favorite elements. It's that line that I started with, and I knew that whatever the final design was would have to have that line. And the French seams, of course.
Thanks for sharing a little more about your creative journey, Meghann, and for contributing such a beautiful pattern to Making No. 9 / SIMPLE. You can find Meghann's Halfmoon Strand Dress/Top on pages 60-75. To keep up with Meghann and her work, follow her on Instagram, halfmoonatelier.