Meet the Maker – Stitch Galore
Tracey Startin from Stitch Galore creates delicately handmade gifts and accessories that combine old and new – vintage objects and fabrics finished with beautiful embroidered details – making each of her pieces unique. Her style is light, natural, pretty and instantly recognisable. Here, she talks to fellow Folksy seller Fallon Rice from Handmade Retro Jewellery about how she started making, her love of vintage fairs and what it’s like running a one-woman business.
Enjoy 15% off Stitch Galore plus free postage within the UK with code STITCH15 (valid until 20 December 2020). Shop Stitch Galore on Folksy at https://folksy.com/shops/stitchgalore
I like my work to be useful and have a purpose, even if that’s just to make you smile and brighten up your day.Tracey Startin, Stitch Galore
Hello Tracey! Can you introduce yourself and tell us what made you start your business and how long have you been making?
Hello everyone I’m so pleased to be a featured maker on Folksy. I’m Tracey Startin and I create embroidered textile gifts and accessories from my home studio based in Burton on Trent in Staffordshire.
I started my small business, Stitch Galore, in 2012. Since I can remember I’ve always sewn and made things and, after a chance meeting, I was invited to take part in a charity craft fair. That’s where it all really began.
I worked for many years in accounts and payroll but couldn’t see myself doing it forever, so I decided to see how things went with my creative business. After taking part in small local events, I was then invited to be part of pop-up shops and larger events. I now mainly sell my work online and at a few selected events, which I now find works best for me.
My most popular piece is my personalised pincushions. I’ve now lost count of how many I’ve made.Tracey Startin, Stitch Galore
Where do you take your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from the everyday things I see, and I love to visit vintage fairs. The vintage objects and fabrics that I find inspire me to mix old with new to create something special. I like my work to be useful and have a purpose, even if that’s just to make you smile and brighten up your day.
The vintage objects and fabrics that I find inspire me to mix old with new to create something special.Tracey Startin, Stitch Galore
What was your first ever make?
To be honest I really can’t remember. I have always made things from a very young age, so it would have probably been something for one of my dolls. One of the first things I ever sold, though, was an embroidered greetings card, which I continue to make today.
What is your favourite colour palette to use – seasonal colours, pastels or brights?
I like to use light natural colours to keep the appearance of my work simple and delicate.
I’ve collected vintage fabrics for many years and have recently started using them in my work. Most are no longer made, so this makes the pieces I create with them special and unique.Tracey Startin, Stitch Galore
Do you try to source sustainable materials where possible? I noticed some of your fabrics are vintage – this must make the pieces even more unique?
I mainly use natural linen and cotton fabrics when creating my work. For many years I’ve collected vintage fabric and I’ve recently started using them in my work. I enjoy visiting vintage fairs and I would find pieces there sometimes as off cuts or as a pair of curtains. Most of the vintage fabrics I use are no longer made, so this makes the pieces I create with them special and unique.
Do you take special requests. If so, have you ever been asked to make something you’d never thought of before?
I don’t usually take special requests as I like to just create my own work, but I personalised quite a few of my items and I’m more than happy to change fabric patterns and colours.
Is there anyone who helps you with your business or is it all just you?
It’s just me. I do everything myself – the designing, making, marketing, selling, admin etc. It can be challenging at times, trying to do it all and keeping up with the latest technology, but I enjoy it and wouldn’t have it any other way.
What tools couldn’t you be without?
Well, I would have to say a needle and thread, a pair of scissors and a sewing machine.
Do you use a particular embroidery machine? Have you tried others?
I don’t use an embroidery machine I just use an ordinary sewing machine and create my work by using freehand machine embroidery. I move the fabric under the machine and use the needle and thread to draw and write on the fabric.
How long does it take you to make one piece?
It all really depends on what I’m making. I tend to make my work in batches, which saves a lot of time. I usually spend a day or two making the same sort of thing, which really speeds up the making time.
I do, however, make personalised items one at a time and they can take anything from 30 minutes or more, depending on what they are.
One of my favourite things to make are my sewn greetings cards – people like them because they are unusual.Tracey Startin, Stitch Galore
What’s your most popular piece with customers and do you have your own favourite piece in your collection?
My most popular piece is my personalised pincushions. I’ve now lost count of how many I’ve made. One of my favourite things to make are my sewn greetings cards, they are reasonably quick to make and people like them because they are unusual.
Enjoy 15% off Stitch Galore plus free postage within the UK with code STITCH15 (valid until 20 December 2020).
Shop Stitch Galore on Folksy at folksy.com/shops/stitchgalore
Meet the interviewer
The maker asking the questions this time is Fallon from Handmade Retro Jewellery.
You can read more about Fallon in our Meet the Maker interview here – https://blog.folksy.com/2020/11/23/handmade-retro-jewellery
Shop Handmade Retro Jewellery on Folksy here > https://folksy.com/shops/Fallon1986