Defining Her Own | Maddie Flanigan

There are so many talented and inspiring women out there who are forging their own paths in life based on individual passions and dreams. It seems I come across a new woman whose life inspires me nearly every day, encouraging me to keep moving forward in my own pursuits as a small business owner. Who are these women? How did they get started? What makes them tick? My mind tends to fill with questions like these, and as such, I've decided to start asking some of them directly in order to gain further insight into their creative lives. Today's post is the first installment in a new series called Defining Her Own, which'll find us talking to designers, bloggers, shop owners and other creatively-minded women about their respective trades. I'm hoping they'll inspire you in your own endeavors as well as open you up to new projects, shops and people. Now let's get started ... 

By day, Maddie Flanigan handles social media for a Fortune 500 company. But by night and on weekends, she pursues her creative passions as a blogger, freelance photographer, pattern maker and seamstress. Her blog, Madalynne, is a testament to her incredible pattern making skills and love of sewing and design. Not only does Madalynne house Maddie's sewing projects and photography portfolio, it's also a go-to site for those in search of sewing inspiration, offering easy-to-follow tutorials and a plethora of resources to boot. What follows is a glimpse into her life and the things that drive her - thanks so much for sharing with us, Maddie!

Defining Her Own | Maddie Flanigan

How did Madalynne come to life?
I’ve always been a writer. I often wish I could communicate solely via text. My thoughts come out much clearer. Madalynne stemmed from this natural ability, but came to life when I started a blog to document my freshman year of college. Okay, I secretly think my dad pushed me so he could keep tabs on his only daughter! At first, I focused on fashion, but soon after, I found myself writing about mostly sewing.

When you started Madalynne, did you have initial intentions of turning it into a career or was that something that came with time?
When I started Madalynne, blogging was so uncool! I denied I had a blog for probably two years!

How has Madalynne evolved since the initial launch in 2006?
Madalynne has become iconic, a symbol for something. At least I think it has. Cher is a symbol for show-stopping entertainment and the Virgin Mary is a symbol for eternal love. Madalynne has become a symbol for sewing, showing that me-made garments can be feminine, well-made and cool.

With a full-time job in addition to Madalynne, how do you strike a balance between the two and simultaneously maintain time for yourself?
I don’t have a balance. Like mother to child, Madalynne is my baby. I dedicate more time than I should caring for it, feeding it, nurturing it and growing it. But I have a passion and I believe in the growth of Madalynne. So while I might not live a balanced life, I live a fulfilling one.

Any suggestions for women trying to find balance between the above?
Find a passion and you won’t need balance.

Defining Her Own | Maddie Flanigan
Defining Her Own | Maddie Flanigan
Defining Her Own | Maddie Flanigan
Defining Her Own | Maddie Flanigan

What makes you feel like you've had a productive day?
If I’ve sewn, I’ve had a productive day.

Do you consider yourself more of a dreamer or a realist, and how do you feel that influences your professional life?
I’m a dreamer. I believe realists miss the potential. Bill Clinton was from Arkansas and grew up in a trailer. He got the idea to become president after visiting JFK in the White House. I’ve always dreamed big so I could succeed big.

What keeps you inspired and moving forward?
The spirit of my late mother.

What does happiness mean to you and how do you channel it into your life?
Happiness comes from imaging your future and then creating it. It is the constant striving towards achieving a goal. It’s not about finishing - once something is complete, it’s not as fun or rewarding as when you were pursuing it. In my own life, I try to not focus on the final garment, but on enjoying the process.

What are your hobbies outside of Madalynne?
Photography. If I don’t have a camera in my hand or in my purse, I feel as if I have lost a limb. I see life through a lens.

Do you have any advice for women who want to take their passions to the next level?
If you have a passion, it will naturally grow to the next level. 

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Visit Madalynne.
Photos courtesy of Maddie Flanigan.

Defining Her Own is an interview series featuring designers, bloggers, shop owners and other creatively-minded women who are forging their own paths based on individual passions and dreams. Is there an inspirational gal you'd like to see featured? Send us an email - we're always looking for women who are following their hearts!