Each week Makerist features one designer in our ‘Meet the Maker’ series, and this week I got to know the woman behind the beautiful stuffed animal patterns, from close to home in Alberta, Canada. I love her attention to detail in the animals, and the really realistic looking animals.
- Describe yourself in 3 sentences – name, age, location, hobbies and interests etc. My name is JoAnn Repchuk and I live in beautiful Alberta, Canada within sight of the Rocky Mountains. I have just recently become a senior citizen and find that I have even more hobby interests than ever. Not only do I enjoy designing my teddy bear and bunny patterns, I also have taken up needle felting and acrylic painting.
- How did you find sewing as a passion and what was it that made you decide to become a pattern designer? I have always been crafting something. I remember making things for my dollhouse and later for my Barbies as I was growing up. I started designing bears and bunnies after I bought a small teddy bear kit and made my first bear. I used to just make different bears and bunnies and sell them, but found I did not have enough time to make as many as I wanted to. I decided to start creating the patterns to sell instead.
- Do you follow news, trends or insights on Crafting, sewing, DIY? Where do you get
your news – is it through magazines, blogs, newsletters?
I am inspired by pictures in Teddy Bear magazines, on Pinterest and online. A lot of my inspiration can come from a perfect piece of fur fabric. Just looking at and touching the fur can bring a picture to my mind of what sort of bear wants to be made from that fur.
- Do you consider sewing and pattern design a hobby or is this your full time job? Are you lucky enough to be able to concentrate fully on sewing? I wish I could design and sew full time but at the moment I still have to work full time and do my designing on the weekends.
- What’s the latest sewing project you’ve completed?
I am currently working on a pattern for a large white snowshoe hare and I am also creating a pattern for some small felt woodland creatures that will be part of my Canadian Wilderness series.
The picture of the Foal is a picture of one of my favorite creations. This little horse won a Brown Bear Award at the Syndey Bear Fair. The picture called Storybook Characters shows some of the miniature animals I was designing and sewing when I was living in New Zealand. They are all under 4 inches tall.