Welcome to Week 45 of Motherhood by Design – the series where mothers who also run creative businesses share their inspirations and their experiences juggling the demands of raising children while growing a creative career.
"I think seeing me run my business helps them see that they can make their own way and do not have to be defined by others opinion and requirements."
Addie Martindale is not only a mom, a designer and pattern maker - she's also a college professor who has taught hundreds of students how to sew. Inspired by her fashion design students, she challenged herself to make all of her clothes, which ultimately led her to start her own pattern design company. She focuses on designs that are quick to sew but still look great and her instructions are clear, uncomplicated, and attainable. And really, how adorable is this dress?!?
Welcome to Motherhood by Design, Addie – can you please describe your family?
My family consists of me, Rylee age 8, Finn age 5, and My husband Jeremy.
What is your business?
My business is Addiek sewing patterns.
When you were a child yourself, how did you spend your free time?
When I was young my creative outlet was cooking. My family were foodies and I was pretty much given free reign to try things in the kitchen.
Did crafting or handwork play a significant role in your childhood? If yes, in what way?
I did not explore art and apparel related crafts until college. I did lots of creative based things with my father growing up. We would build things and he would let me help him do what ever project he was doing. He always had creative ways of fixing and making things. He taught me how to work with what you have and find ways to make it work.
When you were a child, did you have ideas about your own future as a mother? Was motherhood something you’d always imagined for yourself, or is it an idea you grew into later in life?
I was definitely not one of those people that dreamed about motherhood. I guess, I just grew into the idea as I got older.
In your early years of motherhood, did you have/make time for your creative pursuits, or was your creative work put aside for a while? If the latter, when did you pick it back up?
I suffered a lot of loss while my children were small that affected my ability to be creative. I made a lot of things out of necessity but was unable and uninterested in coming up with original work. My kidos are still pretty young and it is a struggle to fit it all in but I definitely find time for it. I think it is very important for them to see me working.
Did you start your creative business prior to becoming a mother, or after?
It was after when I really started. I was focused on my corporate job before they came along. I guess I had always wanted to do something on my own but I had not found an outlet in which I could keep balance and maintain like I can with pattern design.
What prompted you to start your creative business? Is it something you saw yourself doing when you were a child?
My apparel design students and my mentor were actually the people who really pushed or prompted me to start my business. As a child or even when studying apparel design in college, I never saw sewing pattern design as an option, I always thought it would be commercial apparel that I would be designing.
How do you balance your creative work with your role as a mother and how has that changed over time?
I do not think that there really is a real balance that I have been able to find. Most of the time my house is messy. I stay up late and wake up early, in order to give them the time that they need.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work processes?
I am going to be honest and tell you that motherhood has a way of getting in the way of my work processes. I think I have time to work and then someone gets sick or needs extra love. It just part of it.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work products?
My creative products are clothing that we wear that that fit our lives. The Rylee dress I designed years before selling. My daughter hated the way seams, especially shoulder and back seams, rubbed against her skin and it was the solution I came up with to solve our problem. The quad tee was design for Finn to have a more functional shirt pocket for his treasures. The Canny and Amenity were designed for me to have tops that were comfortable enough to keep up with my kids and still look nice. The are also quick to sew and fit into the time constraints I have when sewing.
What is the biggest impact that your children have had on your business?
They give me something to keep working for. They provide inspiration for me to grow my business and keep designing. They provide motivation to put myself out there.
How do you think your creative pursuits, including your business, affect your children? Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
I know that my success is their success. They are very creative children and are constantly making, designing, and creating. I think seeing me run my business helps them see that they can make their own way and do not have to be defined by others opinion and requirements.
Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
I want them to believe that they can design their own future. I want them to know that they are only limited by themselves. I want them to know that if you work smart you can define your own future.
What advice would you offer the mom who feels drained by the demands of motherhood and wants more hands-on creativity in her life?
Make the time!!! Set appointments with yourself to be creative. It is o.k. for your children to spend time with other people. Quality time spent together is more important than constant time with them. You will be a better person and mother, if you make the time to nourish your creative side.
Thank you so much, Addie, for sharing your thoughts with us today! You can find Addie in the following places: