Craft Britannia Shop of The Week #68, Pipistrelles
Our latest CraftBritannia Shop of the Week interview is with Catherine from Pipistrelles, a treasure trove of handmade and vintage goods.
Describe your “typical” working day or week
I’m currently studying for a Masters and so I only have time to craft in my spare time. In the evenings, I’m often found sitting surrounded by piles of fabric on my sewing room floor searching for new and exciting combinations to use. My mother and grandmothers have collected a lot of beautiful fabrics over the years and so there’s a lot to look through!
Once I’ve decided upon a design, and the perfect fabrics to go with it, then I get to work cutting, ironing and sewing to create my pieces. I also enjoy creating paper goods, particularly cards, and I follow a similar process with my equally vast paper collection!
When you are not doing Etsy related things, what are you doing?
Recently in my spare time I have started going to a lot of car boot sales. They’re a great place to pick up fabrics and other bits for my sewing stash as well as for getting inspiration, as there is always a huge range of home wares of different styles for sale.
What was the first piece you ever sold?
The first handmade piece that I ever sold was a custom order of decorative patches, for another seller on Etsy who makes fabric carriers for rabbits. We met in the Etsy community through our mutual love of animals, in particular rabbits, and have supported each other since.
What advice would you give someone taking up your craft for the first time?
Have fun with it! You don’t need complex designs to make stunning pieces. Some of my favourite designs are simple but made with eye-catching colour and fabric combinations.
What material do you most enjoy working with?
I love working with Japanese kimono style cottons because they are always beautifully patterned. I think the distinct Japanese style with rich colours and metallic highlights creates stunning pieces.
If you could try a new craft, what would it be?
I would try screen printing as I love the bold designs it produces.
Which piece of equipment would you be helpless without?
There are so many pieces of equipment that I couldn’t complete my work without! A less obvious choice would be my lightbox as I do a lot of appliqued designs. It makes it much easier to convert my designs in to individual pattern pieces, which I use to cut out the fabric shapes.
Tell us about what inspires and motivates you
I am really inspired by the natural world. Most of my designs are either based on animals or flowers and if not I usually sneak a bit of floral fabric in!
Tell us about one handmade item that you own and love
I have a gorgeous quilt that my mother made for me while I was at university. It is quite a modern design in a mixture of floral fabrics, ditsy prints and Japanese kimono style fabrics – everything I love! She also included some pieces of clothes that I wore when I was younger and so it has lots of memories attached too.
What plans do you have for your shop in the future?
I’ve been making a lot of big shopper style bags recently for friends and family and I think they could be a great addition to the shop. I make them with heavy weight furnishing fabrics and so they’re both practical and stylish.
Thank you Catherine! You can find Catherine on Twitter: @EtsyPipistrelle