Having discovered a love of all things fabric, Cathy Emmott’s experience with traditional appliqué inspired her to try a new technique –free-motion machine embroidery. The result? Beautiful homewares featuring nostalgic countryside designs, from feathery wildlife to cottage-garden blooms. She tells us more about her happy business, Dear Emma Designs…
What made you want to become a designer?
I’ve always loved drawing, painting and making things but after the expense of university I needed to recoup some funds, so I found myself taking a job in finance. By snatching small amounts of time between naps and feeding two young children, I taught myself to sew. My designs have evolved over a number of years. Each piece is cut by hand and stitched using free-motion machine embroidery, so each piece turns out very different from the next!
How do you make your pieces?
The initial stages of design involve taking lots of photos and painting using water-colours. I then play around with lots of textured and coloured fabrics, working out which of them suit the final design. Once I’m happy, I use the sewing machine as a pen to draw in the detail. I often have to unpick or start from fresh – you can’t rub out stitches!
Describe your workspace.
My workshop is in a small stone outbuilding situated in my back garden. I’ve put up lots of shelving units to hold my stacks of fabric and use vintage suitcases to store haberdashery. The main distraction is my workshop window, which overlooks my bird feeders and the beautiful fields beyond. I really notice the change in seasons and have to remind myself constantly to sew not stare!
What inspires your designs?
My surroundings, which is why most of my designs involve garden birds, wild flowers and the countryside! I’m also drawn to the small towns that are nestled within the Yorkshire Dales. I love the way each house was built identically to the next but made individual by its occupants. When stitching my street scene pictures I love to immerse myself in the detail.
Describe your creative style in 3 words.
English, country-inspired and natural.Tweet