JUKI Spotlight: From Bio to Quilting with Jessica Dayon

From her days in biochemistry and biology to becoming an author, quilt creator, and pattern designer, we’re so excited to introduce Jessica Dayon! Author of three pattern books; ‘A Year in Solids’, ‘Season to Taste: Quilts to Warm Your Home All Year Long’, and the upcoming ‘Precut Parade’, releasing August 1st, we’ve asked Jessica to join us and talk about her life in quilting, and journey in becoming a pattern author.

Like so many of our readers, Jessica’s journey starts with a pull towards quilting. Coming from her background as a scientist, with a degree in Biology and Biochemistry, she hadn’t tried quilting before. But, with no connections in the quilting world at the time, she decided after her 4th child to dive in! After being bit by the quilting bug in the summer of 2017, she began teaching herself and fell in love with the craft. Her first project? A table runner for a birthday, one that was never even completed! It did, however, open the door to quilting and hasn’t closed since.

“The first day I started quilting, this little fire was ignited inside of me, and it’s been burning ever since. Quilting is my passion.”

With each day that passed, she continued to work on the aspect of making a quilt and improving her skills. Pushing herself to learn new skills for the sake of learning, she attempted new methods and tricks for quilting her projects.

In 2017, Jessica also decided to open her Instagram account to document her journey and share her work. She still remembers having less than 100 followers and the excitement that came when a new one followed. To this day, she is still in awe when she sees new followers join her page. Currently, Jessica’s following topples over 76 thousand followers, a community focused on inspiring each other in their quilting journeys.

“I work hard and I love sharing and engaging with my followers. I hope they feel valued and inspired by following me. I want to share the joy of creating every day with them. I’m grateful for the community that I’ve built there.”

As her skills grew, she decided it was time to start creating patterns. Working hard to understand pattern creation, she began designing patterns after only one month of quilting.

Sitting at her computer, Jessica would design quilt after quilt, constantly creating. Thinking of the design was the easiest aspect when she began writing patterns. With hundreds of designs currently saved on her computer, it’s no wonder she went on to author and design pattern books. Within a short timeline, she found the most challenging part of becoming a pattern author has been the time constraints from publishing. Teaching her to work quickly it’s now become a strength to begin and finish a quilt quicker than she would have imagined possible when she first started.

Fireworks – Contributed to Red & White II

Inspired by the freedom of creating, Jessica focuses on not pressuring herself to finish one project at a time. Instead, she allows her creativity and curiosity to flourish and wander, moving from project to project, not restricting herself to one at a time.

“When I’m at the sewing machine and I’m working on a project, sometimes my mind wanders to another block and I just have to make it. I don’t stop myself when the urge to do this arises.”

Knowing she’ll go back to her original project with a focused mind, she’s found letting herself have this freedom while creating removes pressure from her work. Even if a design doesn’t come out how she expects, she’ll just design another and another until she’s happy with the result.

Just like she creates, Jessica allows her designs to wander in style too! Not picking a distinctive style, she creates using her TL-2010Q sewing machine and a versatile collection of fabric types and patterns. Easy to take care of and use, Jessica loves recommending the TL-2010Q to quilters out there! While she chose the machine for its features and price point, she’s found the TL-2010Q to be highly reliable, accurate, and speedy.

Depending on her mood, she’ll select patterns and styles that speak to her and fill her up creatively. Instead of boxing her style and creativity, which Jessica believes would lead to burn-out, she focuses on her creative self-guide to create her designs.

Abloom – From ‘Season to Taste

As for her pattern books, Jessica focuses on creating themed designs! Allowing her creativity to flow; her books focus on patterns that inspire her while hopefully inspiring those who use them. For example, in her pattern book, “Season to Taste: Quilts to Warm Your Home All Year Long,” Jessica focuses on quilt designs for all four seasons! Centered on the seasons, with each season having three quilt designs, you can see her creativity flourish with each pattern being different and beautiful.

Her best advice for pattern creators trying to sell their work is this, “I recommend staying true to yourself and your style. There is room for everyone who wants to design patterns. Each person is unique, and you don’t have to do things like anyone else… it’s better if you don’t! Being your own, authentic self will get you far. Hard work will get you even further.”

As a pattern creator and author, she advises creators to be mindful of the work that comes with this venture. From marketing to IT, you will be the one to do it all when you first start your business. While it can seem overwhelming at first, taking each step one at a time has been her motto. Her recommendation is to write your goals down, like a skill you need to learn or a marketing project that needs to get done and work towards each one.

As we eagerly await Jessica’s next pattern book, to be released this upcoming August, we’re excited to share she has even more in the works! Keep an eye on Jessica’s social for future quilt-alongs, new pattern books, and possibly, even classes one day.

“Quilting is a major part of my life now. It is my passion – There are so many wonderful things to do in the quilting world, and I want to do them all!”

Scrappy Sampler

To learn more about Jessica, her pattern books, and her quilting journey click on the links below and join her socials today! We hope this spotlight encourages you to begin writing your own sewing and quilting patterns, and even possibly publishing them one day!

What theme would your pattern book have? Let us know down below!

Jessica Dayon’s Links:

Click here to download the Scrappy Sampler today!

Check out Jessica on Instagram today here!

Learn more about Jessica and her journey here!

How to Self-Publish Your Pattern Book

Do you remember the first time you created a sewing pattern? Have you sold one yet? Pattern creation in sewing and quilting is a skill that many learn to love and participate in. Whether they’re creating quilts or their closet, pattern creation allows you the freedom to truly form an idea straight from your mind. Once others start noticing our designs and appreciating the final project, we may decide it’s time to start selling these patterns. But how do you publish and sell a pattern book?

While there are many ways to go about being published; agents, publishing houses, and book deals, we now have the option to self-publish our books thanks to the internet. Today we’re going to talk about how you can self-publish your pattern book right from home, using the right tools.

Creating Your Pattern Book

Let’s start with your pattern book. If you’re reading this, you most likely already know how to create a pattern, so let’s break down turning this into a pattern book.

  1. Create a Theme and Outline

Before starting this journey, sit down and decide what type of patterns you’ll be focusing on (quilts, child apparel, workout apparel, etc.) From there begin drafting an outline of how you would like your book to flow.

  • Assign Yourself Writing Time

When it comes to creating a book, whether it’s fiction or patterns, it can be time-consuming! Make sure to set aside time in your days so that you can focus on writing your patterns. Our best tip? Set yourself an end goal date for the best results. 

  • Ask For Help

When writing your first pattern book, it’s best to have outside assistance proofreading your work, testing your patterns, and confirming the flow of the book is understandable to the skill level you’re marketing to. For example, if your pattern book is geared towards beginners, we recommend being detailed in the little things.

Finding Your Front Cover and Book Design

Most people will judge a book by its cover, so make sure that your cover is eye-catching and true to your pattern designs. Self-publishing books still compete with other booksellers, and you want your book to garner attention.

Some will be able to create their front covers, but for those who want a more professional design, there are websites that allow you to hire creative designers for affordable prices. If you choose to design your front cover, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Research other pattern books and review the designs that grab your attention. Decide what works best, and what you find eye-catching, and think about how you can create a cover that will draw attention to your work.

2. Remember, your work will be sold online as a self-publisher, so the graphics used to sell your book will be minuscule. Keep this in mind when designing your cover so that you stay away from designs too busy, as that would make the image difficult to see, or using small details that would be overlooked as a thumbnail image.

3. Choose a title font that is legible for viewing and easy reading and a title that is eye-catching and captures your work well.

4. Don’t forget the spine and back cover! While not seen during online shopping, customers will see this after purchasing and we want to make sure the whole design is complete and follows your front cover.

If you choose to design your book, below are a few design programs you can consider using:

–         Adobe InDesign

–         Canva

–         Affinity Publisher

–         Shutterstock Editor

If you choose to hire a designer for your book, below are a few sites we recommend checking out that offer designers for hire.

–         Fiverr

–         Guru

–         Reedsy

–         Upwork

How and Where To Publish

The next step is thinking about how you want to sell your books. Depending on how you choose to publish, this will affect your channels of distribution and the format you sell in.

Print on Demand

A concept used by self-publishers due to its low cost, this publishing idea allows you to print books when purchased and removes the aspect of creating copies and stocking them. For example, ‘Lulu Direct’ is a self-publishing platform for printing and distributing books with a large style selection you can choose from to personalize. For other platforms, you can check out Acutrack and Blurb.

Kindle Direct Publishing – Amazon

Amazon’s self-publishing platform has seen a rise in popularity due to the ease readers enjoy while using its platform. With over 50% of the printed book market being sold by Amazon, your book has a high chance of being viewed thanks to the Amazon algorithm. Using reader’s recommendations, your book will be placed in front of new customers without your assistance.

The way amazons self-publishing works is through print-on-demand fulfillment and the option for e-book sales. E-book sales must be exclusive to Amazon if sold on their platform, but physical books are free to be sold on their site and anywhere else. Amazon will handle printing and shipping, with a percentage of royalty credited to the creator. 

Selling on Your Website

If you have a website for your business, you can link your account with a program like ‘Lulu’ to begin directly selling books to customers. By integrating Lulu and a website platform like Shopify, you can sell print-on-demand books and control your shop sales and marketing with Shopify.

Another option is buying your pattern book in bulk from a print-on-demand publication and selling it from inventory on your site. This option is best for offering faster delivery instead of having a multiple-day wait time for printing.

Formatting Your Book

Once you’ve decided how and where you’re going to sell your new pattern book, let’s cover the formatting aspect. Depending on the platform you use for publishing, this will affect how you will format your book.

For example, if you choose to use Amazon’s platform they require you to create two different format downloads for sales. One is the manuscript, the manuscript must include all the pages inside your book. Next is the cover, this file will include the design covers you’ve completed for the front, back and spine of the book.

Make sure when creating your format for the pattern book you mind the margins and trim of your work. Depending on what book size you choose to publish in, make sure your book measurements transfer correctly before printing.

To start, place an introduction, cover the chapter/section breakdowns, go over the symbols you’ll use in your pattern book, and cover key details the reader should mind.

If you choose to section off your books, for example by designs, seasons, or projects, make sure to create distinct chapter marks for sewists to follow along and easily find the pattern they’re looking for. Creating a pattern book that is easy to read through will allow sewist to enjoy your work best.

Launching Your Pattern Book

Like any other product you’d sell, it’s time to start marketing and planning your selling space! Below are the steps you should take before launching your book.

  1. Make sure your channels of sale work

Confirm that your program is in working order and receiving payments. Run a ‘test purchase’ and go through the site like a buyer, even purchasing a book if you’re working through print on demand. This is a great way to confirm your sale process is in order and will work for future sales.

  • Setup your website

If you don’t already have a website for yourself, make sure to get a basic one up and running! Think of your website as a ‘home’ for all your sales, products, and yourself. Here is where you will lead your social media channels and sales, to create a customer base and audience. This will make it easier for customers to get to know you.

  • Create an email marketing list

Building an audience isn’t easy, but one of the best ways to do this is through email marketing. Through this platform, customers can keep an eye out for future book projects, updates, and patterns. We recommend setting up a sign-up that allows visitors and customers to place their emails for your records.

  • Use an analytics tool

Last, but not least, keep an eye on your analytics! Website and storefront analytics is the best way to understand your audience, customers, sales, marketing goals, and more. Programs like Shopify come with a built-in analytics program, but Google Analytics is free to use and available for all.

Market and Sell Your Book!

Once you’ve created your pattern book, set up and tested your shop, and planned your marketing and website, you can begin getting your book out there! To help you find your customers, we’ve created a list of marketing ideas you can use for your new pattern book.

  1. Share excerpts from your pattern book. Whether it’s one free pattern to bring in interest, or a section where you dive into a technique, showcasing what people can have and learn is an amazing use of attention-grabbing.
  2. Encourage reviews! Reviews will bring attention to your books, and assist in sales since this will assist the algorithm in recommending your product to other customers.
  3. Social media ad campaigns are exciting! Whether you decide to use Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, these campaigns can help you get in front of the right audience. Keep in mind that social media campaigns come at a cost, so we recommend setting aside some money for social media ad work if you choose this route.
  4. Network and get your name out there! Whether you co-host podcasts, jump in on blog and forum spaces, or work with another sewist, bringing attention to yourself and your brand through word of mouth and others is a great way to build your credibility and expand your audience.

Need help creating a marketing plan? Visit us here to learn how to write a marketing plan today.

Keep It Going

You’ve now published your first book! The best plan is to keep promoting yourself and working on your patterns. As you enjoy the journey of creating and publishing pattern books, continue focusing on your marketing strategies, sales analytics, and building your profile and website.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see rocket sales when you first launch, as these types of things take time! As you continue to work on your patterns and skills, you’ll find yourself gaining a deeper understanding of the business aspect of it all. We hope this inspires you to publish your pattern book! If you created a pattern book, what type of patterns would you focus on? Let us know in the comments below!