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Hi! My name is Maddie Flanigan and I am a twenty five year old who turned her dream of sewing and blogging – two professions which usually mean you don’t don’t have a profession – into a reality. I am the internal blogger for this Fortune 500 company and I founded, own, and operate a for-profit pattern making and sewing blog/company, Madalynne.

I am a professional blogger, a used-to-be technical designer, and a will-always-be pattern maker and seamstress. I am always constructing, drafting, and altering my next creation, which is usually a dress with lots of ruffles and lace and a set of lingerie to wear underneath.

I wish I could say that my day job and my side hobby end, but they don’t. Both my profession and my hobby are an all-consuming, at all-hours, and every day job. Like a mother to their child, I love it.

This is who I am but this is what Madalynne is…

Madalynne is an educational, informational, and inspirational blog. First and foremost, Madalynne provides lessons and tutorials on fashion pattern making, construction, and all things sewing in simple words and with visually pleasing images that are fun to look at and easy to remember. Madalynne also provides history lessons on everything and anything design related (photography, fashion, cars, paintings, music, movies, etc.) in common language and with images that make the subject at hand stand out long after reading. Lastly, Madalynne documents glimpses of my life, including my most recent projects, fashion wants, etc.

Together, this is who we are, me and Madalynne.

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I was born in the sunniest and the warmest of all places, which is surprising considering my pallid skin color – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Growing up, I was not the artsiest of children. Although I stayed on top of fashion trends, I was a science nerd. I took Organic Chemistry and Calculus in high school and I received 100% in both classes. Seriously. One hundred percent was the grade that appeared on my report card.

At the age of twelve, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Seeking treatment, which included a mastectomy, a hysterectomy, and chemotherapy, she thought she beat cancer. That was until my junior year of high school when I came home from school one day and my parents were gone. Protecting me and my brothers from a harsh reality, they had left to get the best cancer treatment available at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Unfortunately, cancer won the battle. Two weeks before my senior prom, she died. The last time I saw her, she was singing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” She said that was where she was going – The Land of Oz. This explains my fascination with the movie The Wizard of Oz.

I don’t mean to cause tears. I feel extremely lucky in that I was able to say goodbye to my mother (as opposed to her dying suddenly in a car crash). I share these two important aspects of my life with you– my geeky side and the death of my mother – because I believe they are THE two things that have made me into who I am today.

I started sewing and blogging my freshman year of college. Sewing came first. I was a student at The University of Miami, it was Christmas break, and I was looking for a hobby to occupy my time. On one of my first days home after school was dismissed, I found my mother’s old sewing machine in a linen closet. Not knowing a thing about sewing – I couldn’t even sew a button or thread a machine – I took it to the local tailor shop. Mishka was the name of the tailor and to be quite honest, she is the craziest, funniest, and most caring person I know. I still call her once a week to check up on her.

“You really want to learn how to sew?” she asked me when I brought my machine into her shop.

“Absolutely,” I said.

“Okay, let’s get started,” she responded, handing me a pair of pants to hem. She always got down to business.

As you can tell, my sewing career lasted more than Christmas break. Since home was close to school, I began working at her shop, learn everything there is to know about tailoring clothes. After two or three months, I started thinking about a career in the field. How and what profession exactly was still up in the air. Wanting to get my feet wet in the professional side of the hobby, I enrolled at The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, which meant during my sophomore year of college I attended two schools and worked full-time. After a year of commuting, I decided fashion design was the career I wanted to pursue and I transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design. A year after moving to Savannah, I was offered a full scholarship in Fashion Merchandising at Johnson And Wales in North Miami, Florida and transferred again.

Called an externship, one of the requirements for graduating Johnson and Wales is to spend an entire trimester interning for a business or a company. Thinking big, I applied for a position in Production/Technical Design at Urban Outfitters (Urban Outfitters is a part of the URBN brand which includes Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, BHLDN). Somehow (I think my mom had something to do with it), I got the gig. During the summer of 2010, I moved to Philadelphia, where their home offices are located, and never left. Yes, that’s right, I never graduated college. For 2 and ½ years, I worked in technical design, learning everything about pattern making, fitting, wash care, label placement, packaging, etc.

During my stint in technical design, I maintained my blog and in the spring of 2012, Urban Outfitters took notice of it and asked if I wanted to switch departments and blog for the company on their Intranet site. I took a risk and said yes and I haven’t regretted it since.

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{Q} How much time do you spend sewing?

{A} During the week, I normally spend an hour or two after work pattern making or sewing and on weekends, I almost always spend Sunday working sewing and pattern making. Saturday is my “day off” unless I have a big project to complete. Also, I divvy up my sewing time with a strategy. During the week, I complete short tasks that prep me for longer tasks that require more time and my full concentration on weekends (Sunday).

{Q} What kind of sewing machine do you own?

{A} I own a Juki DDL 5500 (an industrial machine), a Singer Brilliance (a home sewing machine), a Babylock Overlock machine (a home sewing machine), and two Sally Singer manual pleating machines (antiques). I have never experienced success with home overlock machines and therefore, I finish most of my garments on the industrial machines at work.

{Q} Do you own a form/mannequin?

{A} Yes. I purchased it from Superior Model Form in New York City five years ago. I mostly use it at the beginning stages of a project – I’ll play around with different silhouettes to get a visual of what I want. Once I have decided on a look, I will use that information to manipulate my block/sloper into a working pattern.

{Q} What is your biggest goal both professionally and personally?

{A} I eventually want to be a combination of Megan from Megan Nielsen Patterns, Mandi from the blog Making Nice In The Midwest, and Claire Schaeffer. Oh and I forgot someone, my dad. I want to be the coolest blogger, owner of an independent pattern making line, parent and pattern making/sewing guru.

{Q} What time do you wake up?

{A} Call me crazy but I wake up between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. during the week and barely 6:00 a.m. on weekends. My friends, my family, and even doctors have told me to sleep in but I can’t. I like waking up early! There is a stillness in the morning that puts me into the right place, mentally, for the day. I value this time and try not to let anything get in the way of it. I wake up, drink a heaping cup of coffee while I check emails, and head to the gym. By 8:00 a.m., I hyped up and ready to start the day.

{Q} What would you be if you weren’t a blogger?

{A} A philanthropist because I like helping others. The number one reason why people email me is because they have questions about my post how to draft a sloper. I never get frustrated because this is what I like to do. I believe every girl, lady, and woman can look fantastic and it all starts with a good fit. By guiding them through the draft, I am getting them closer to a perfect sloper and that perfect fit. So if I wasn’t involved in sewing, pattern making, or fashion, I would somehow or in some way be involved with helping someone else achieve their goal.

{Q} What is your most popular post?

{A} My most popular post is how to draft a sloper and I almost didn’t even post it! It was a draft for a long time because I thought nobody would be interested in the topic. It seemed to geeky for the blogging world. This was when I first shifted the focus of my blog from fashion to sewing and all the sewing blogs I followed posted about completed garments and not pattern making. On a whim, I decided to publish the post and to my surprise, readers loved it! This made me realize that my readers want to know about pattern making, which made me write a lot more about the subject. This also is a testament that bloggers should blog about what they’re interested in and not what other bloggers are writing about.

{Q} What is your favorite quote?

{A}Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?

Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!

{Q} Do you own a television?

{A} No and I don’t know how to work a remote.