Pattern making on the Hembrug terrain
What exactly are you doing?
We make patterns, samples and toiles for everything that has to be made with the sewing machine. From the wedding dress of Katja Schuurman to a work of art by Conny Groenewegen. And we produce clothing collections. We make small collections here, and have larger numbers produced in Poland and Macedonia.
Pattern makers! Are there still many of them in the Netherlands?
No, just like most crafts, it is a dying profession. Most fashion brands have shifted their production to low-wage countries and have patterns made in the factory. We are therefore one of the few people in the Netherlands who do this.
Which on the one hand is very cool, because customers come to us. On the other hand, it makes it difficult to find good people. So with this: if someone still knows a good tailor or pattern maker, let us know!
You graduated cum laude from the Arnhem School of Arts. How is that reflected in your work?
I studied fashion design there. So creativity and technology come together with me. I can switch very fast in every aspect of the proces. Sometimes clients only come to me with a sketch on a paper. I can think along about materials, about shapes styles and fit. Because a beautiful sketch on paper is not yet a guarantee for an equally beautiful end result.
Which product are you most proud of?
Oops, I find that difficult! There are so many things that I am very proud of. I have had some customers from the very beginning. And we also work with big names. Ronald van der Kemp, Viktor & Rolf, NS, Heineken, Vlisco. But whether I'm working on a collection for a well-known fashion brand or on a cushion cover for a furniture designer, I find it all just as challenging and fun. Everything must be perfect.
So let me put it this way: I am especially proud of what we have achieved. Sixteen years ago I started on my own at six square meters. And now we have five tailors, two administrative assistants and two pattern makers at 644 square meters. Also at the Hembrug site!
Yes, the Hembrug site. How did you end up there?
I've been searching a good spot for years. In 2002, when I just graduated, I came in contact with people who advised on how to breathe new life into Hembrug. They asked if I wanted to think along. I was there then and thought, "Wow, you want to be here!" I always kept it in mind, and when the lease expired at the previous location, it was time.
Do you feel at home at the Hembrug site?
Yes! I find it an inspiring place. A very welcome change from our previous building, which was actually a dull box on an industrial site. At Hembrug you will find a nice mix of artists and other companies. All creative entrepreneurs. I love that.
The site has of course a glorious past.
What happened in your space in the past?
The building is called het schaftlokaal. So it was a canteen. But later it became a technical drawing office. So I always say: through us, the pattern ( in dutch a pattern is the same name as a bullet collet) production is back on the Hembrug!
By: Marijn Heemskerk