A couple of weeks back we had a visit from Vicky, who is Head of Design at The Craft Cotton Company. She had brought along some very exciting new fabric kits and swatches for us to take a peek at. We currently stock cute fat quarter bundles from the Craft Cotton Company, that are ideal for patchwork projects. Each bundle contains 6 fat quarters in assorted designs, often based around a colour theme or contrasting prints. A lovely finishing touch to the stack of fabrics is a pretty ribbon to bring them all together. In the next few months we will be adding more Craft Cotton fabrics to the website.
In the mean time we thought it might be nice to find out more about Craft Cotton Company designer Vicky Cowley. With so many beautiful designs under her belt we wanted to know – how does she come up with so many fab designs? Read all of her answers below along with some extra photos.
How did you get into designing fabrics?
I was approached by the Craft Cotton Company through a friend who had told them about me and my passion for design and crafting, the rest was history! I already had a background in fashion design and textiles so it was an easy and fun transition to make.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get inspiration from everywhere really, I see it in everyday life. However, if I am actively looking for inspiration I will go to Pinterest as I think this is a fantastic library full of brilliant ideas and images which often escalate into something else! I also love looking at homeware and interiors for fabric, trend and colour inspiration.
Out of all the designs you have done, do you have a favourite?
It is really hard to pick a favourite as I love them all for different reasons, but if I had to pick one I would say one of my newest creations ‘A vintage tea party’ is my favourite so far.
How long have you been designing?
I have been designing officially for 6 years within fashion and textiles but unofficially since I was a child. When I was younger I used to love designing clothes, gardens, houses I was always drawing and designing something!
Do you sew? If so, what do you enjoy making?
I don’t get time to sew as much as I would like these days but my favourite things to make are cushion covers as they can add a new look to your room and freshen it up very quickly. I cannot count the amount of cushions I have in my house!
What was the first ever sewing project you made? Was it a success?
I remember sewing a patchwork cushion cover in textiles when I was about 14, this is the first thing I remember sewing and was very pleased with it when I had finished! When I was studying clothing design and pattern cutting at University I did made a few horrors but it all clicked into place towards the end! I love making clothes but prefer to make items for my home.
What other crafts do you enjoy doing?
I love anything that involves being creative! I am a huge fan of scrap booking and mood boards, I can literally create a mood board for any occasion! I am currently planning my wedding so I have experimented with making invites and also tried my hand at a bit of floristry and I can honestly say I love it all!
Of all the Craft Cotton /Visage fabrics which is your a favourite?
My favourite fabric would have to be the Patchwork Dove which was the first Fat Quarter set I ever designed and it originated from a cushion I had made previously when I used to run my craft business so it has a personal story behind it.
Are you always drawn to a particular colour / colour palette?
I tend to get drawn towards more muted shades and pastel colours. However when you are designing for a wide range of customers you have to be open to colours you wouldn’t normally consider, I often look for different colour palettes on Pinterest.
Do you read any craft magazines? If so which ones?
We are lucky to get Quilt Now and Simply Homemade in our office and I will often have a flick through these as I love the contemporary look they have and all of the brilliant ideas they come up with that I would never have thought of.
If you could give us one patchwork / sewing tip what would it be?
From my own experience I have 3 sewing tips all of which save time and frustration, the 1st would be to ALWAYS keep a quick-unpick nearby I hate having to route around for one when I’m in the middle of a project and make a mistake. The second would be always leave enough thread through your sewing machine needle, there is nothing worse than sewing the straightest neatest seam in the world and then realising that it hasn’t even stitched! The third would be, always check you have enough of your colour thread before you start a project, I have been known to start a project Sunday afternoon, run out of thread and have to wait until Monday evening after work to finish something I couldn’t wait to complete because all the shops are shut and I couldn’t buy anymore thread!
Which designers do you admire?
I really admire Cath Kidston, I love how she started her business from a small store in London making tea towels and has grown it to the size it is today, I think it has a brilliant story behind it, I adore the cute/novelty prints too. I am also a huge fan of the Laura Ashley brand as the style is more grown up and colours are easier to work with when decorating your home. I also love watching Kirstie Allsopp on TV as she isn’t afraid to try her hand at anything, which is very similar to myself! Not many people know that Cath Kidston and Kirstie are cousins and that Cath’s family used to be neighbours with the Ashley family. I admire them all and find it interesting that all my favourite people are connected in a certain way.