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Featured Shop: Jilly Atlanta

Apr 24, 2017

by Katie Hawley handmade and vintage goods

For some kids, an approaching birthday provides a convenient excuse to request the most extravagant of gifts: a pony. A puppy. A playhouse in the sky. But for her twelfth birthday, Jill Coppock—the now-adult designer behind Atlanta-based children’s clothing line Jilly Atlanta—had a different kind of dream-present in mind. Her one wish? To sew an entire outfit from start to finish, all by herself. “My favorite thing was to sew,” recalls Jill, who, with her parents’ blessing, stitched a pair of shorts and a matching shirt to celebrate. “It was this little simple outfit, but it was so much fun.”

Jill’s passion for sewing stuck with her, and at 17, she sewed an ensemble for her first date with Patrick, the man would would go on to become her husband. “It was a double date with my sister and his brother, and I made a denim skirt and a white blouse with a collar on it,” says Jill, laughing. “I remember him pointing it out and saying, ‘Oh my god, you did not make that!’”

Years later, when the couple’s first son was born, Jill seamlessly transitioned into sewing children’s clothes for their growing family. Four boys later, their first daughter, Naomi, arrived. The summer Naomi turned two, Jill set out to design and sew her an entire fall wardrobe. “My second daughter, Olive, was going to be born in November,” explains Jill. “I wanted to have a whole closet of clothing for Naomi in place so I didn’t have to worry about what she was going to wear during the first few months of Olive’s life.” When Jill’s mother-in-law saw the finished wardrobe, she couldn’t bite her tongue. “She just went crazy,” says Jill. “She was like, ‘You’ve got to sell this stuff!’ And the more I thought about it, I was like: Why not?”

Read on to discover Jill’s old-school source of inspiration and the motto that steers her designs—then shop the Jilly Atlanta collection.

It sounds like you’ve been sewing your whole life! How did you first learn?

It all started with wanting to see what my mom was doing. When I was growing up, she sewed all my clothes—I never had store-bought clothing. We didn’t have a lot of money, so anything that could be made with fabric, she sewed.

I’d sit in back of her sewing machine and take out pins as she worked. She said she really never ever taught me; I learned from osmosis. But she taught me, and I loved sitting with her and sewing alongside her.

Today you sell a mix of ready-to-wear items and digital download patterns. When did patterns enter the mix?

The ready-to-wear items were first. But my garments are pretty expensive, and so I started thinking to myself: Okay, what about someone who really wants the same style, but doesn’t want to spend $50 to $80 dollars on a single piece? I wanted to show them how to make that same piece themselves. I’ll even show them where I got the fabric. They can totally recreate what I’m selling—I want that for them.

Was there a big learning curve when it came to drafting patterns?

Because of all my experience reading paper patterns and following the steps, and just knowing how to construct a garment, drafting patterns was an easy flow. I’d gotten to the point where I wouldn’t even read a pattern any longer; I would just cut out the pattern pieces and then construct it. I didn’t need to read the instructions.

So writing up my own patterns came naturally to me. And my husband helped with all the graphic work. We’re a team—I could not do it without his help.

What role does your husband play in the business today?

I imagine and draw, my husband does the graphic design. I’ll sketch something out on paper, and he will transform it into a pattern in Adobe Illustrator and run with it. What’s really neat about working with my husband is that we truly dream, think, and plan together.

His ideas are amazing! He also has a PhD in computational chemistry, so he knows math—with patterns, you really need to know grading. So, I can say: Okay, this needs to be graded according to the length from a child’s waist to their knees, and he knows exactly how to do that. It’s fun working together.

Where do you look for inspiration?

So much of my inspiration comes from old movies. The style they used to have is just incredible. Audrey Hepburn—who can say she’s not an inspiration? I love her clothing. And Grace Kelly. I also love all the Cary Grant movies.

In general, I’m really drawn to ‘60s style—I like to add little touches of it to my pieces. Like a collar, or maybe a deep hem, which is very vintage.

You say your clothes are designed with “the past in heart, the present in hand, and the future in mind.” What do you mean by that?

I say “past in heart” because the inspiration behind my aesthetic is definitely older—I want my pieces to be timeless. But I want the “present in hand,” because I want kids to be able to wear my clothing today and play in it in the modern world. And then the “future in mind” because I want kids wearing my clothes to look ahead and say, “This is what I want to wear, and this is who I want to be.” I think we tell our children who they are by what they wear.

Tell me about your studio.

My workspace is really, really small—it’s in my dining room. There’s a bar in the dining room, and I’ll store my sewing machine underneath there when I’m not working, but I sew a lot. It’s pretty much out all the time, but when guests come over, I hide it.

What’s it like working from home?

Working from home would be my first choice. I love it. I homeschool, and I feel like working from home makes it possible. I love sewing, I breathe sewing, but I really love my children. I don’t want these years to pass without me seeing them.

And I love it that I sew in the dining room, because it’s the central room in our house. My children are walking to and from and through the dining room countless times a day. And I’m right there with them.

What does the future hold for Jilly Atlanta?

I hope to continue to do what I’m doing. I love it so much. In fact, my husband and I were going to Starbucks this morning, and we were just in the car by ourselves and I said, “Patrick, I can’t wait to start another pattern.” The patterns really spur my creativity. You give me a paper and pen, and I’m gone.

Follow Jilly Atlanta on Instagram and Facebook.

Photographs by Jilly Atlanta.

Shop Jilly Atlanta


  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 3 years ago

    Beautiful shop! Love the capes! Congratulations on the feature!

  • PrimCountryCurtains

    Francine from HomespunHeartofMine said 3 years ago

    What a great story, Jill! I LOVE the timeless look of your cape designs!!! Congratulations on the feature and many blessings for your continued success! :D

  • Seraph25

    Vadim Moroz from IconPainter said 3 years ago

    Congratulations on the feature! All the Best!

  • JewelMeShop

    Georgia from JewelMeShop said 3 years ago

    Jill you're so talented! Congrats on the feature!

  • cardhugs

    Rosemary Lambert from cardhugs said 3 years ago

    Great that you care about your children, working from home on beautiful garments. Congrats!

  • dhstp

    Emily Hebert from JoyfulCreationsEmily said 3 years ago

    Congratulations on the feature! Love your shop, children need nice looking clothes these days. I learned to sew from sitting in my mom's lap and it quickly became my passion as well.

  • DecoUno

    DeUno from DeUno said 3 years ago

    Beautiful shop! Congratulations on the feature!

  • GTDesigns

    renee and gerardo from GTDesigns said 3 years ago

    What a darling line of children's wear! That constance cape is so kid couture : ) Beautiful work and a beautiful way to share with other seamtresses! Congrats on this lovely feature!

  • Kashuen

    Kashuen Collectibles from Kashuen said 3 years ago

    So great to learn sewing from mom and then partner with husband to run a business. Congratulations on the feature!

  • rellyh

    Relly from RelsFindsNapaValley said 3 years ago

    Inspiring story. Beautiful design of children's clothing... Congratulations Jill of shop Jilly Atlanta!!!

  • kgarrett1966

    R.M Garrett from ArtisticAcrylics said 3 years ago

    Making clothes is a talent. I tried making my own clothes when I was younger, and wound up taking several months just to make one shirt!! It wasn't a natural fit for me, and something I struggled with quite a bit before I quit. But you are very talented, and the ease that you have making these beautiful unique clothes blows my mind. You talking about your love for what you do, inspires me to create with the love of what I do, first and foremost, and let all I do flow from that. Then, just let it go. Thank you for sharing your story, and through that, gaining that much needed perspective. Congratulations on your deserved feature, and I wish you continued success!!

  • ButterflyFeetShop

    Sherri from ButterflyFeetDigital said 3 years ago

    Cute shop, congrats on the feature!

  • ekohaus

    FeltWoolSlippers S from FeltWoolSlippers said 3 years ago

    Beautiful shop! Congratulations! Great patterns for kids <3

  • bonesbags

    viena bone from bonesreusablebags said 3 years ago

    Wow! Your story is so inspiring! All of the kids, all of the work, AND you home school?! My mind is seriously blown... Your pieces are so simple and classic, too. Plus, they look super sturdy. Congrats on the feature and success!

  • gardenmis

    Priscilla from Gardenmis said 3 years ago

    Love your motto and your sweet designs! Congrats on the feature and best wishes for achieving all your goals and dreams :)

  • jacobswoodentoys

    Tim and Brigita Cornwell from jacobswoodentoys said 3 years ago

    Such sweet, timeless designs. Congratulations on the feature and all the best of success to you!

  • tlpjenpierce1

    Jennifer and Gary Pierce from LoftAtticEarth said 3 years ago

    What a great story! Best wishes as your business and your family grow!

  • ClassicMemories

    ClassicMemories from ClassicMemories said 3 years ago

    Lovely shop. Congrats on the feature.

  • LadyInPurple

    Jennifer Tyson from LadyInPurpleBoutique said 3 years ago

    Oh Jill I wish I was gifted with the ability to sew, but it's not a craft that I've been able to accomplish! :( Your shop is so lovely and the models are adorable! Congrats on the feature and wishing you and your husband much success!

  • msbijouxbeads

    Cathy from msbijouxbeads said 3 years ago

    Love your story! Beautiful designs. I love taking the pins out too!

  • monabergin

    M B from BeachStudio7 said 3 years ago

    I love your story. You are a master at what you do.

  • shirleyfree2014

    Shirley Freeman from Sewingthrutheyears said 3 years ago

    feature is great... shop is also

  • JewelrybyDorothy

    Dorothy from JewelrybyDorothy said 3 years ago

    Jilly! I am so excited for you! You deserve this feature. BIG Congrats!!!

  • naylawriters

    Jeanita Jinnah from NaylaBookPublishers said 3 years ago

    I've never learned to sew. But I got so fed up with going to the store and not finding the kind of skirts I like (I'm a skirt girl; and I love long skirts). So one day I got the idea in my head to make my own. I went to a fabric store, picked out a couple cute, and simple, fabrics, some thread, and pulled my never-used sewing machine out of storage, and went to work making my very own skirts. I had a hard time reading the patterns, but I was able to piece together a couple really cute ... long ... skirts. The hems are a little crooked. And the waistbands are made up because I couldn't understand the pattern. But you know what? I'm proud of those skirts. I ended up making about five or six total. So I really admire those who can sew ... and sew well. Congratulations, Jilly, to you on your business, and your shop's feature. And I love your brand message: the past, the present, and the future. Keep up the good work.

  • RandMhandmade

    Renee from RandMhandmade said 3 years ago

    Beautiful shop...Congratulations!!

  • sskulls

    Cat Encio Dolls from CatEncioDolls said 3 years ago

    WOW! Super write up! Lovely Studio

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 3 years ago

    Great designs! Congrats!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from KarmaCodeOne said 3 years ago

    Adorable unique clothing ! Lovely story

  • rhondastubbs2

    Rhonda Stubbs from RhondaCorner said 3 years ago

    Great story and I love your clothes. Thank you for sharing and I wish you the very best on your future endeavors.

  • solomia7

    Monika Moroz from NickoArts said 3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your interesting story. Congratulations on the feature of your beautiful shop. I wish you much success :)

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink said 3 years ago

    Very cozy environment around your work space! Congrats.

  • beachdaisy7

    Kim Cole from BeachDaisyJewelry said 3 years ago

    SO cute! Love the design and sweet materials you have used, especially the blue blouse with the birds and blue blouse with butterflies and flowers! Congrats and continued success!

  • TreasuredMemoryLane

    Sujata from TreasuredMemoryLane said 3 years ago

    Beautiful creations! Congratulations on the feature!

  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts said 3 years ago

    Adorable patterns! Not everyone who sews can also design patterns. You have a great talent with both! Congrats on the feature and best wishes!

  • TropicalGarden

    TropicalGarden from TropicalGarden said 3 years ago

    Beautiful shop and designs! Congratulations on the feature!

  • marisam4

    Marisa M. from FeltInMyHeart said 3 years ago

    Such sweet designs. My mother made many wonderful outfits for me when I was younger so I can appreciate the work and creativity that goes into it! Congrats on the feature!


    JOANNA from BUSTANI said 3 years ago

    Congratulations on the feature! All the Best!

  • foofoogal54

    foofoogal54 from GracefulVtgClothing said 3 years ago

    Ah, so fabulous. I sewed many of my childrens clothing when they were small. So happy to see this here. Can really be used to craft that childs personality in this idea. Congratulations. Love it.

  • BelkaUA

    Olesya Bagriy from BelkaUA said 3 years ago

    Beautiful shop! Amazing work! Congratulations on the feature!

  • gilstrapdesigns

    Debra Gilstrap from gilstrapdesigns said 3 years ago

    Congratulations on your feature. I love your children's designs you have such a natural knack for this and you can tell.

  • InAbsoluteBliss

    Ellie from EverbluePress said 3 years ago

    such sweet items <3

  • rachbing

    Rachel Bingaman from BingArt said 3 years ago

    What a lovely shop! Love those sequin skirts! Adorable :)

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna said 3 years ago

    A-do-ra-ble !

  • emaxtees

    emaxtees from EmaxTees said 3 years ago

    Keep walking, you are doing such a great job, love your works ;)

  • evolvewithmary

    evolvewithmary from evolvewithmarycrafts said 3 years ago

    Simply adorable! Congrats on the feature!

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