Creative Folks: Alina Strain

Hello kittens! I am super duper excited to share another Creative Folks with you all today. And it’s of my friend, Alina! I met Alina through a mutual friend, Jackie Cooper (who took her wedding photos). She has an adorable family and her skills of taking something old and creating it into something new amazes me. I love her style so much, that I bought my first couch from her. She is an amazing upholsterist and badass sewing lady. She also had this amazing rocking chair that she reupholstered and I gifted to my sister when she was first pregnant with Liam. So you can say that I am a fan of Alina. :) So let’s get into the questions! As always, you can follow Alina on all the social media at the end of the post. Enjoy!

What is the first significant thing you did this morning?

Coffee. Always coffee.


What inspires you?

Urban art; we currently live in the city of Chicago, and there are murals painted under every “L” bridge (our elevated train line). I find a new one every month and use it as a backdrop for monthly photos of my kids. Another thing that inspires me is lines/shadows created by sunlight. You have to be paying attention at the right time and place to catch some of the sun’s most interesting works of art.



When are you happiest?

I’m happiest when I’m traveling and exploring with my little family—we just strap the kids on our backs and GO!


What are you trying to teach yourself right now?

How to grade sewing patterns in Adobe Illustrator. I’m not classically trained in pattern drafting, but I have a wonderful mix of my dad’s engineer brain and my mom’s creative eye, which lends itself nicely in pattern drafting; it’s simultaneously very technical and very artistic, and I find you need to have a knack for both to create successful sewing patterns. You are fitting a two-dimensional object (fabric) to a three-dimensional (body) shape! Grading those patterns into multiple sizes for multiple body sizes is quite technical and something that needs to be precise.


What is your favorite memory and what does it say about you?

Honestly, that one is pretty easy: we didn’t find out the gender of either of our kids until they were born. I felt very strongly that our first was a boy (and he was), and then I also felt pretty strongly that our second was a boy as well. Nope. It was a girl. That moment when she was born and—before I could see the baby—I heard my husband say, “IT’S A…………GIRL?!?!!!!!” We were shocked and it just goes to show you that even your instincts can surprise you. It taught me to not always be so insistent that I’m right. :)


Describe one accomplishment you’ve achieved. Describe one challenge that you have faced.

One accomplishment: creating two humans. I can make clothing, sure, but have you seen the humans I made?!

One challenge: my husband is in the Navy, and we’ve lived in 5 states in the last few years. We’ve had some truly wonderful opportunities to travel and adventure through much of the country, but there are a lot of logistical challenges that go with it, especially when you have also had two babies during that time. There is also, of course, everything that goes with starting over so many times: unpacking and trying to put a house in order (again, and again, and again), finding new friends, figuring out how to navigate a new city, new grocery store, new coffee shops (that one is IMPORTANT! Haha!)…just finding your “places” and your “people” all over again.


What is the last thing you did for work?

I’m a mom, so…I’m always “on the job.” ;) BUT! The last thing I did for paid work (corporately) was working as a buyer/analyst for an ad agency in Kansas City. I left the corporate world to pursue my own small business, and ran a successful upholstery and sewing shop in Wichita for about a year. We moved several times and had two babies in the following 20 months, and I took a break from all of that. Most recently, I’ve started my blog back up, re-branded and renamed, and will be launching a shop later this year where I will sell downloadable PDF sewing patterns. My professional path is very indicative of my personal journey in the last few years.


And just for fun, what animal would you like to experience being for a day?

Well, I’m not sure what I would like to experience, but I recently realized that I am essentially a koala, as I spent a lot of the last year tandem-wearing both of my kids (they are 16 months apart). Ha! So, I guess I’d like to be a real one and then I could still take my little people with me. Besides, who can resist fuzzy, cute, little koalas?!


Thank you again Alina!

Keep up with her adventures:

instagram // @alinadesignco

facebook //

website //

pinterest //