Nel Whatmore is a fine artist who also designs fantastic fabric ranges for Coats. As we are all still getting used to the various names within the world of Coats fabric, we thought it would be nice to find out what life’s like as a designer. We sent Nel a selection of questions which she has kindly answered, with the addition of lots of bright and colourful photos of fabric too. Nel’s current collection is ‘Merry Go Round‘. The quilt and cushion show below are both made from this new range. You can find the free patterns for both of these on the Make It Coats website.
Have you made anything with the Nel Whatmore fabric range? We would love to showcase your sewing skills here on the blog. Please email photos to email@example.com.
Without further ado let’s discover more about Nel and have a nosey into her life………..
Where do you find inspiration?
My fabric designs evolve out of elements of my fine art paintings. I find inspiration for my paintings from so many places, as I’m motivated by colour which of course is all around us! It can be a garden, flowers,tiles, colours of clothes on a rack allsorts of things. Having said that I do get lots of inspiration from Chelsea Flower Show where I exhibit my paintings each year.
Who taught you to sew? How old were you?
I learnt to sew from my grandparents, my Mum and at school. I remember doing those little samplers at school when I was about 6 I think. My Grandad taught me to knit, as he used to knit when he was a merchant seaman and spent long night shifts in the boiler room.
What was the first project you ever made? Was it a success?
I think the first skirt I attempted was a disaster it was when I was in my early teens and I was very impatient and wouldn’t let my Mum show me how to use a pattern as I wanted to do it all by myself. It was rather a car crash! The next time I used a pattern it turned out fine and I started making clothes but also spent a lot of time trying many different things, from batik to marbling, crochet etc etc.
What is your favourite fabric in the Coats range?
I suppose I’m meant to say my latest range Merry Go Round! Within the range I particularly like the Blue Colourway. From other designers I like Anna Marie Horner’s Echinacea and I love Amy’s latest range too.
Are you always drawn to a particular colour palette?
I think every designer actually finds they gravitate towards certain colour palettes. I love teal and red together. But also like to mix it up a bit and have collections that steer away from that too. To me it’s always about creating a whole like visual segments that must create a pleasing circle.
If you could spend the whole day sewing what fabulous item would you have completed by the end of the day?
I’d love to have more time to produce a really fabulous dress that mixed and matched patterns within one dress as I love that eclectic look.
Do you enjoy listening to music or the radio when sewing? If so what?
Music is absolutely essential to my creative process it seems to block out everything that is maybe whizzing around in my head and allows me to focus on being creative. I like loads of different types of music from Paloma Faith to Eminem and Soul! I of course also loovvveeee Radio 4 too like of lot of people who are self employed.
Which other designers do you admire?
I admire most designers actually as I know that it’s not an easy job and it involves spending many dedicated hours trying to make a collection work. I think Tula is amazing and very generous with her advise and she makes truly beautiful quilts. Kaffe and Brandon have the energy of ten and are an inspiration to everyone I think.
When you get chance to make something for yourself what do you enjoy making?
Actually I rarely do but recently I made a large hand sewn paperpieced quilt out of my Secret Garden fabric which I am very proud of as it was a labour of love!
Nel’s cat cushion pattern is available to purchase from her website.
Nel has various designs in the Anchor cross stitch and tapestry range too. Here is her Merry Go Round cushion tapestry kit.