Blogwatch: Madalynne

Blog: Madalynne

Girl Behind the Blog: Maddie Flanigan

Occupation: Technical Design for Anthropologie (but soon-to-be blogger for Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie’s parent company. Read more about my career change below).

Where are you from, and where do you currently reside? 
I am from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and currently reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

How did you decide to start blogging? What gave you the courage to go for it?
I stumbled into the blogging world my freshman year of college at the suggestion of my dad, Brain (he calls me Pinki and I call him Brain). It was my first year away from home and my mom had recently died of breast cancer. I think it was his way of checking up on me.

What can people expect when they visit your blog?
My readers can expect to be informed and inspired when visiting my blog. By reading my tutorials, lessons, and how-to’s on all things sewing, pattern makers, sewers, or anyone crafty (both novice and experienced) can learn something new about the hobby. My readers will also learn about anything art-related, because Madalynne is also an all-encompassing art blog, covering fashion, painting, cars, movies, muses, interior design, etc.

Most importantly, my readers will be inspired for two reasons when visiting my blog. First, there is a connotation that sewing and pattern making is a hobby only for grannies. This isn’t true! Sewing and pattern making can be fun and easy! The pattern for one of my favorite dresses, a black and white polka dot dress, was a box. Come on, how hard is it to draw and sew a box (with straps)? By showing my readers that sewing and pattern making is not as hard as it seems, I inspire them to get out their sewing machines, dream up their most wanted creations, and make them!

My readers will also be inspired because I believe that they have an emotional connection to my blog. Over the last year, sales of the company I work for, Anthropologie, were down. The product wasn’t up to par, there were too many sales, we were attracting the wrong customer, and we were losing our customer – the Anthro girl. Despite all the negatives, we found that our customer still had an emotional connection to our store and brand. I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I tell someone I work for Anthropologie, their immediate response is, “OMG! I love that store!” Our customer really loves us, and you can see it when she is in our stores.

I personally know many of my readers. My goal is that my readers have the same response as an Anthropologie customer when visiting my blog. When a reader leaves a comment, I usually respond with a personal email, as opposed to responding in the comment section (the number of comments I receive is less important than establishing a relationship with my readers). I hope that when I say to someone that I am the blogger behind Madalynne, their immediate response is,“OMG! I love that blog!”

What are your favorite blog posts you’ve ever written? 
My favorite blog posts (it was a series) were something I was so close to not writing. The series was a how-to on drafting a sloper, and I thought that only a geek like me would be interested in such a topic. I was stunned to see how many comments the post received. To this day, it is the number one reason people email me. I have even drafted and mailed a few slopers to people who had trouble drafting their own (hi Sohini!).

What kind of camera do you use?
My camera is an Olympus Pen EPL1. The camera is halfway between a Point-and-Shoot and a DSLR. It uses very cool technology called Micro Four Thirds, which means it doesn’t have a mirror or a viewfinder.

What influences and inspires you in your blogging?
Reading emails from readers who have successfully tried my pattern making and sewing tutorials inspires me to blog. I believe that any woman of any size and any height can and should look amazing. It’s all about fit, styling, and organizing a wardrobe that works for you.

You’re currently a technical designer but will soon be a professional blogger (how exciting!). How did you land that position, and can you give some advice to girls who want to get into this line of work?
I currently work in technical design for Anthropologie. I started 2 years ago as an intern, and when my internship was coming to an end, I said, “No! I won’t go!” I told them I wasn’t leaving, even if that meant I had to clean the fish tanks every day (they have a koi pond in the building). Luckily, they hired me full time. Thank God, because finding an outfit for cleaning fish tanks would have been a hard feat (heels or flats?).

Starting in July, I will be the blogger for Urban’s new Intranet blog. Urban took notice of my blog and asked if I would be interested in switching departments. “Hell, yes!” was my immediate answer. I’m excited and nervous about my new adventure.

As for advice to girls who want to get into this line of work, well, the next question answers this.

Any other words of wisdom for Everygirls out there?
Is it cliché for me to say to do what you love? Okay, maybe it is, but it’s true. A lot of people disagree with me on this statement, but I think in this industry love for what you do is more important than a degree (I never graduated. Gasp!) My blog would not be where it is today if I didn’t love sewing, pattern making, and blogging. I wouldn’t wake up at 4:30 in the morning to read emails, I wouldn’t work through weekends, and I wouldn’t sew on a Saturday night if I didn’t have a love for it.

All images via
Styling via

  • Bobbi

    Wow! What an inspiring story.

  • yeah, kudos to this girl. it seems like she had an amazing support system, and really came through in applying herself, and executing for the sake of her future !! 🙂

  • Mary

    I love her advice to her 23 year old self!

  • Kalee

    as a practicing attorney, i can assure you that her experience as an attorney is extremely atypical. further, this article really doesn’t provide any guidance for those interested in law or law school. she did not study for the LSATs, she did not apply for any summer associate positions and she seemed to have gotten her jobs through her mom’s connections. she spent each summer in law school traveling and racking up debt, instead of trying to find internships to ensure she was employed at graduation. how is this an inspiring story?

    • Mary

      Everyone’s story is different. I found this one to be very inspiring, as I’m sure many other women did, too.

    • Kim

      Agreed. Also, as a practicing attorney, one typically graduates from law school around age 25 if they go straight through,but she did a four year program, making her around age 26 at graduation. She’s now 28, according to the article and she’s had three jobs since graduation? Seems odd…

  • Rperks282

    Hey Nicole… much kudos. Can’t tell if I like the photos or text more. Let’s talk some sociology next time we’re together!! many hugs, Bob

  • Jess

    I am with Kalee on this one – props to Nicole for her career path, but this is not the best advice for someone interested in pursuing a job as an attorney, or a very “everygirl” example of the industry.

  • jennifer

    Meanwhile, there are other female (and male) law students trying to actually make a difference in this world…

    Just some of many examples from my school.

  • Lindsay

    This feature was exactly what I needed to read! I’m about to start my second year of law school and just started up the courses for my MBA. It’s so nice to see what great opportunities she created for herself and what a great balance she maintained. 🙂

  • martha

    Thanks, Everygirl, for posting a career profile that is not the typical fashion designer, interior decorator, or marketing associate that you usually profile. I would love to also see a profile of a nurse, school principal, non-profit entrepreneur, or another job that features a successful woman but in an industry outside of what’s normally featured. If this is for the Everygirl, let’s see more diversity in careers!

  • Lan

    I liked that it was an attorney being highlighted, as opposed to the typical designer, famous blogger, and marketing positions that are usually highlighted here. I usually love these career features because I find them inspiring. But, honestly, this one…not so much. I almost stopped reading after seeing how she bombed 3 practice tests, and then chose to travel and wing it…when in a previous answer she stated “the plan was always to go to law school”…it sure didn’t sound like it. She made it seem like a breeze getting her JD/MBA and job. But for (most) students that don’t have those family connections and luck, they actually do have to sacrifice the traveling abroad and instead fight for those summer/fall/spring internships, moot court, law journals, and networking events. I’m sure she worked hard for her degrees and jobs…but it just sounds like it was all due to a whole lot of connections and luck.

  • K.C. Hurst

    Hi Nicole! I think we are both Uni Wildcats (class of 02, haha). Anyhow, what great advice! I love that you’ve highlighted your associate degree in your education background. I wish more people recognized the value of community college education, especially as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree…or an MBA/JD!

  • Stephanie

    As someone who has just graduated from law school, I can tell you that there is no such thing as a “passing” score on the LSAT. You should research the admissions stats at every law school you are interested in and figure out the range of LSAT scores they admit. This will give you a better idea of what should score you should aim for.

  • I love her drive ! And agree 100% that you should only get knee deep if you’re really passionate about something otherwise it’s a waste of your own time that you’ll never be able to get back. Thank you for sharing 🙂