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Q&A with Rhiannon

In case you didn’t know, Drawn by Rhiannon is run by me, Rhiannon.

The business isn’t named ironically – my name is Rhiannon and I draw stuff. I’ve had a few questions sent through social media recently so I thought I’d round them all up and do a blog post Q&A! Let’s dive straight in.

How did you start?

I studied fashion design then fashion graphics at university. After the first year of university I knew that I wanted to focus on print design so I moved from fashion design to fashion graphics. My final major project was a collection of homeware items made with my printed fabric – sound familiar? At the end of year show I had several people ask me if I would be selling any of the things I’d made so I was like hey, people want to buy this stuff! Using my FMP as a starting point, I opened Drawn by Rhiannon and it’s just grown from there. The puffins were the most popular design from my first collection so I decided to use the puffin as my logo.

My final major project at university was the starting point for Drawn by Rhiannon

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! I love travelling and many of my favourite designs have been inspired by things I’ve seen on holiday. I’m also super inspired by the beautiful North East where I live, as well as animals, random objects and food.

Do you do this full time?

I work pretty much full time hours at Drawn by Rhiannon but I also work part time in a craft shop. This just makes sure I know all my bills will be paid. Plus it’s great to use some of my skills at the day job too. I would really love to just work on Drawn by Rhiannon all the time as my main income so hopefully one day I will be completely full time here!

How long does it take to design a print?

I get asked this question all the time and it’s such a difficult one to answer! Every print design is completely different so each one takes a different amount of time to create. There’s the drawing and colouring stage, the digital cleaning and then arranging stages. Some things are quick to draw but then take forever at the computer stage. Others take such a long time to draw but are relatively easy to digitalise. The pineapple took over 5 hours to draw! One thing that I can say about all my designs is that they are all a labour of love.

The pineapple design took so long to draw I couldn’t look at pineapples for months afterwards!

What are your future goals?

Like I mentioned earlier, my aim is to run Drawn by Rhiannon full time. I’d love to have my own shop filled with things I’ve made plus other local artists’ work. And I’d have a little tearoom in there too because I love baking!

One day I hope to have a shop where I can sell my items and bake cakes too

Did you always want to be a designer?

Not at all! I was always changing what I wanted to do when I was older. For a long time I wanted to be a pilot but then I found out how much it cost to train and that you had to do physics so that kind of went out the window…

When I first went in to the fashion world, I thought I wanted to be a stylist. Then I wanted to be a fashion journalist – until someone who worked at a fashion magazine came in to give us a talk and told us that it was exactly like what you see on the devil wears prada. I basically fell in to fabric design because I never knew the job existed! It was only after a print design project in my first year that I fell in love with pattern design and knew that was what I wanted to do.

What do you do in your spare time?

What’s spare time again? Running Drawn by Rhiannon whilst working part time in the craft shop too doesn’t leave much room for spare time. But when I do get the chance to take some time off I love to travel. If I could get paid to travel I would drop everything and do that instead! Other than that I love baking and cooking, music (my ukulele featured in one of my print designs), and going to the beach.

Which is your favourite print?

Oh that’s so tough! There are some prints that I honestly can’t stand to look at because I spent so long designing them that I kind of never want to see them again… but I think my favourite prints might be either the bananas or the pandas. The bananas were really fun to design actually and I was so chuffed with how they came out! The pandas remind me of the amazing trip to Edinburgh zoo that inspired the design so I love that print.

Drawn by Rhiannon banana dress
I would love to make a dress with my banana design fabric!

What is your favourite item to make?

This changes all the time. I used to get so sick of sewing zips because everything I made needed a zip. Since then I’ve expanded my product range to all sorts of things that don’t need zips. At the moment I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for sewing coin purses and pencil cases.

If you have any more questions for me just comment below and I’ll answer them!

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Share your photos for a chance to win!

It’s lovely to see Drawn by Rhiannon items in their new homes!

I spend so much time designing and making all these items that it’s brilliant to see them in their new homes. When your order arrives, simply take a snap of your new item and upload to Instagram or Facebook. Don’t forget to tag @drawnbyrhiannon so I can see them!

It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a quick snap of your new item in use, or just out of the packaging!

It’s great to know that your order has arrived safely and that you love it!

It’s been especially fun seeing the beeswax wraps in use. So pleased so many of you are embracing a more eco-friendly lifestyle!

Every time you upload a photo of your purchase to social media and tag @drawnbyrhiannon, you’ll be entered in to a prize draw to win a £10 Drawn by Rhiannon gift voucher to spend on anything you want!

So what are you waiting for? Grab your phone and get snapping and sharing!

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The highs and lows of running a small business

Spoiler alert: it’s a real roller coaster.

I love my job. I have always wanted to work for myself but I can tell you for free that running a small business is not easy. I’ve been running Drawn by Rhiannon for three years now and pretty much every day is a struggle. However, for me nothing beats being your own boss. Today is a beautifully sunny summer’s day so I’m writing this blog post with an old fashioned pen and paper outside in the garden. Of course I will have to type this up later but that’s a job for this evening when the sun goes down. And that’s one of the first things I love about running my own business – the flexibility.

It’s great to be flexible.

I have never particularly been a morning person so starting work at 8am every day isn’t an ideal situation for me. I find I’m much more productive later on and in to the evening so I love that I’m able to start work at 10am and work until after tea instead. Sometimes I can be working until two in the morning if that’s when inspiration has struck and that works great for me.

Drawn by Rhiannon studio
I’m lucky to have a great studio at the bottom of my garden

On the flip side, the negative aspect of working from home is that you’re never able to switch off. I’m lucky to have a fabulous studio at the bottom of my garden where I do all my sewing and most my designing. Unfortunately my internet doesn’t stretch to the studio so all the website designing, marketing and general computer work has to be done inside the house. There’s always a never ending to do list so the temptation to just quickly finish off a few things soon turns in to several hours of work when I’m supposed to be taking some time off. The work life balance is something I’m constantly battling with to prevent me from spiralling in to a full blown burnout.

Freedom is liberating

The main thing I love about running a small business is being able to design what I want. You wouldn’t believe the amount of junior designer jobs that mainly consist of making coffee and doing dry cleaning runs. I didn’t go to university for four years to do that! This is part of the reason that I wanted to work for myself because I didn’t want to lose my creativity or all the skills I worked so hard to learn. I love taking inspiration trips and deciding what prints to design next. And I love not having to work to a trend brief or having to stick to a restricted colour palette.

Drawn by Rhiannon watercolour painting
I love being able to be super creative in my job

On the other hand, not having anyone to bounce ideas off can be difficult too. When you’ve spent several hours working on a new print design, staring at the screen and nudging layouts a millimetre here and there, it becomes impossible to know what looks good any more. As the business grows I plan to take on a couple of staff to help with the workload which would be a huge bonus (and would hopefully stop me going stir crazy and asking my pet rabbit which colour background she thinks works the best). Until then I rely on all you lovely lot to keep me sane so I really appreciate you replying to my questions and commenting on my social media posts.

Money talks

Now for some serious talk – money. As much as I love what I do, at the end of the day I can’t keep doing it if it doesn’t make money. I’m fortunate to have a part time job in a craft shop which ensures my house and bills are paid for each month so I don’t have to worry about becoming homeless. However, if you’re working 30-40 hours a week running a small business, you kind of want to see some profit return on that right? This is something I still find very tricky to manage, especially as the gift-orientated things I make are really quite seasonal.

I was on such a high at the end of 2018 as I’d had my best Christmas ever and was actually taking a full time wage. Obviously this was due to a huge amount of work and I spent most of the Christmas break in complete brain dead zombie mode but that’s how it is. I even earned enough to book a holiday in February to Belgium (check out the blog posts about that trip here) which I was absolutely over the moon with.

The Christmas markets were a huge success and it was brilliant seeing people wanting to buy my items for special gifts for loved ones.

However after all the buzz of Christmas, the start of 2019 hit me like a tonne of bricks. I barely made any sales and at Easter time I almost packed the whole thing in. Which brings me to my final point.

Confidence and motivation

Without a doubt the hardest thing about running a business is having the confidence and motivation to keep it going. There are times when I’m consistently working 12-14 hour days and only seeing pocket money in return. When you put your heart and soul in to something and people don’t really seem that interested it can destroy you. Sometimes I just have to keep ploughing on because I know if I stop and really take a look at things I might not be able to carry on (sometimes doing the books at the end of the month can be really devastating).

The words ‘I can’t do this any more’ have gone through my head more in the past three years than in the rest of my life combined, but so have the words ‘I love my job’. The minute I receive a message from a customer saying how much they love their order, or see someone smile at a print I’ve designed on my market stall, it makes it all seem worthwhile.

Running a small business is hard. By supporting a small business you are supporting a dream
Every purchase you make really does make a huge difference

I would love to say that Drawn by Rhiannon has been an overnight success and every day is better than the last but that wouldn’t be true. It would mean the world to me if you could all support me to help me achieve my dream by shopping small and interacting with the brand on social media. One day I hope that I can do this full time and employ some wonderful people to work alongside me but I’m not there yet. After all, nothing good in life comes easy does it?

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Product spotlight: makeup and wash bags

Makeup bags are super versatile.

“That makeup bag is so pretty but I don’t wear makeup”. I often hear this from customers I meet at markets. If this is you, there’s no need to worry! Yes, the makeup bags are brilliant for storing your cosmetics. However they’re also great as project bags, toiletry bags, or giant pencil cases.

Makeup bags - Drawn by Rhiannon
There are many different makeup bag designs to choose from

As for the wash bags, those are made with water resistant fabric so they have all sorts of uses! You could use them as pretty bathroom storage, or as a wipe clean bag to hold your favourite art supplies.

Rubber duck wash bag
The rubber duck wash bag would be fab as bathroom storage

The difference is in the fabric

Inside, the makeup bags and the wash bags look different too. The makeup bags are made with a tough and durable cotton drill fabric and are lined with a complementary cotton lining. The wash bags are made with a water resistant fabric so aren’t lined. This is because a cotton lining would get damp when exposed to water.

A makeup bag and wash bag handmade with fabric designed with the inspiration of traditional Polish houses
The makeup bag (top) is made with cotton fabric and the wash bag (bottom) is made with water resistant fabric.

As you can see, all the makeup and wash bags feature a zip along the top so whatever you choose to store inside will be safe. Each bag measures approximately 28cm wide x 20cm tall x 9cm deep meaning you can fit loads in. There’s enough space for an expansive makeup collection, or for all your toiletry essentials on holiday.

Butterfly wash bag
All the toiletries in the photo fitted in the toiletry bag with lots of room to spare

So many designs to choose from

What’s more, there are loads of designs to choose from! Here’s just a few of the latest prints available right now.

If you’re looking for something fun and fruity, the banana wash bag is the one for you! I love the contrast of the yellow bananas against the aqua blue background – very tropical.

Banana wash bag
Banana wash bag

If you’re more interested in insects (a big trend for this year by the way) then check out the fab ladybird wash bag. The classic combination of black, white and red will fit in well with any colour scheme.

Ladybird wash bag
Ladybird wash bag

Or if you’re looking for something super glam and girly to hold your favourite makeup essentials, look no further than the fabulous flamingo makeup bag.

Flamingo makeup bag
Flamingo makeup bag

Whatever your taste is I have a design suitable for you! Take a look at the full range here.

If there’s a particular design you would like to see on a makeup bag or wash bag, just let me know! Or if you have any suggestions of what you’d like to see next, such as mini wash bags, jumbo makeup bags… comment below to tell me.

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Meet the maker 2019 week 4

Drawn by Rhiannon pineapple insulated lunch bag

It’s the last instalment of meet the maker with week 4! Hopefully you’ve been following along and have seen the other weeks. If not, here’s a link to week 1, 2 and 3. Now let’s get on with meet the maker week 4.

Day 23: Top tip or advice

Top tip or advice - meet the maker week 4
All sorts of scissors are so important in my job

I’ve just written a new blog post with my top 10 sewing tools and tips ✂️ check it out here.

Day 24: Customers/feedback

Customers and feedback - meet the maker week 4

I love hearing what you guys think of my work so if you’ve ever bought something from me, please leave a review on Google! Just click here and leave a quick comment?

Day 25: How it’s made

Sewing on the industrial sewing machine
Work in progress on my industrial sewing machine

Everything is handmade by me in my north east studio on my industrial sewing machine ✂️

Day 26: Self care

Self care isn't selfish pin
Self care is very important

This pin is by the fabulous Pom Pom Paints and I really need to take this advice! I am absolutely dreadful at giving myself time off but I’m trying really hard to be better at this as a few weeks ago I completely burnt out and it felt awful. Self care isn’t selfish guys!

Day 27: Anything goes

Anything goes - meet the maker week 4
I love being outside in the garden

Following on from yesterday’s self care post, I thought I’d post this to show you that I have actually been taking some time off in the past week (turns out working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week is a bit much…)
I love being outside and I find gardening really relaxing ? a week ago this was a big patch of weeds so I think it’s quite an improvement ?

Day 29: Most difficult make

Drawn by Rhiannon pineapple insulated lunch bag
The insulated lunch bags are really quite tricky to make

For me the hardest thing to make is the insulated lunch bags – they’re quite tricky! They’re made up of a layer of water resistant fabric, a layer of insulating fabric and a layer of wipe clean lining so it’s quite tough to sew through. I’ve got just three left – pineapples ? unicorns ? and flamingos ? once those are sold I won’t be making them again so grab yours while you can! Find them here.

Day 30: Support

Drawn by Rhiannon Instagram page
Thank you to all my supporters!

I’m very lucky to have a super supportive family who help me at markets, advertise to their friends and just keep me going ❤️ also the support that I get from all you lovely customers and followers is fantastic so a big thank you to everyone!

Day 31: Product in use/wild

Drawn by Rhiannon reusable beeswax food wraps
The reusable beeswax food wraps in use

I love seeing photos of my items in use so if you’ve ever bought anything from me, please take a quick snap of it and share! 

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the March Meet the Maker challenge and found out all sorts of new things about Drawn by Rhiannon. If there is anything you’d like to know more about, please comment below with blog topic suggestions.

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Meet the maker 2019 week 3

Drawn by Rhiannon banana dress

Meet the maker week 3 was all about future plans and dreams. My head is always full of ideas of where I want to see the business in the future so this was a great week for me.
Have you seen the first two weeks of the meet the maker challenge yet? Click here to them.
So without further ado, it’s time for meet the maker week 3!

Day 15: Motivation/goals

Motivation/goals - meet the maker week 3
I’ve always loved baking so combining this with my designing would be a dream come true

Feeling motivated can be really hard some days when running your own business, especially if you’re working every hour God sends and still not really getting anywhere. My end goal is to have my own place which is half shop, half cafe so that people can come and relax with a slice of cake and buy some lovely handmade goodies all in the same place.

Day 16: Workspace

Workspace - meet the maker week 3
I have a very short commute to the studio at the bottom of my garden

I’m very lucky to have a fabulous studio at the bottom of my garden where I do all my drawing, designing, making and photographing. I’ve just written a blog post with a behind the scenes tour of the studio which you can read here.

Day 17: What I’m working on

Drawn by Rhiannon printed greetings cards
A whole range of non-fabric items featuring my designs are now available to buy!

I’m currently brainstorming a whole new range of items that aren’t fabric based. I’m thinking greetings cards, mugs, stickers… that kind of thing! These are now available to purchase in my Redbubble shop.

Day 18: Mistake or lesson

I have made so many mistakes with my business I can’t even count them all… but as long as I learn from it then it’s all OK.

Day 19: Dream collaboration

Drawn by Rhiannon banana print dress
I would love to make clothes with my printed fabrics

I would absolutely love love love to see my designs used on clothes! Originally I trained in fashion design so I’ve always got that in the back of my mind. Seriously tempted to make a banana dress to wear at markets…

Day 20: Design process

Drawn by Rhiannon design process
Everything I produce is hand drawn, designed and handmade by me.

If you didn’t know that I design all my fabrics from my hand drawings, where have you been?? So just in case you weren’t sure, here’s what happens…

1. I see something that inspires me which I photograph for later.
2. I draw it – pens, pencil, paints.. whatever takes my fancy!
3. I scan the drawing into the computer and design a digital print.
4. The designs are sent to the fabric printing company in London.
5. When the fabric returns, I cut it up and sew it in to lovely things!

From start to finish it’s all done by me! (Except the physical fabric printing, I don’t quite have enough money for a fabric printer yet…)

Day 21: Throwback

Throwback - meet the maker week 3
My final major project at university was the start of Drawn by Rhiannon

I decided to choose this photo of my FMP show at Southampton Solent University as this is basically where Drawn by Rhiannon began! I made a homeware collection of cushions, notebooks, towels and buttons and several people asked me if I would be selling any of it, so I did ? The puffins were by far the most popular design so when I officially started Drawn by Rhiannon I chose the puffin to be my logo.

Day 22: Proud of

Drawn by Rhiannon craft market
I love doing markets and getting to meet and chat to you all!

To be honest, the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that I’m still going! Running a small business is really challenging so I’m just really chuffed that I haven’t given up. Other than that, I’m proud of all the markets that I do every month. There’s so much prep work that goes in to a market and it’s an early start and a long day, so it would be easy to decide not to do them. But I love seeing all you lovely people in real life and getting to chat to you!

(I realised half way through doing these blog posts that there were more than four weeks in March so meet the maker week 3 and 4 will have extra days in them to fit all the days in.)

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Meet the maker 2019 week 2

Drawn by Rhiannon photography setup

Welcome to meet the maker week 2! Have you read the first week of the meet the maker posts yet? If not, click here to catch up.
Read on to find out more in the meet the maker week 2.

Day 8: Product range

Flamingo makeup bags and reusable makeup pads
Flamingo makeup bags and reusable makeup pads

I love making matching products, especially if they’ll be used together like the flamingo makeup pads and makeup bag ? would you guys be interested in a special offer if you buy a makeup bag and matching makeup pads together? Let me know!
The flamingo makeup bag is available here, and the flamingo reusable makeup remover pads are available here.

Day 9: Story behind the name

Behind the name - meet the maker
My name is Rhiannon and I love to draw

Mine is super simple – my name is Rhiannon and I draw. I wanted a name that wouldn’t restrict me in the further if I wanted to branch out from fabric homeware items so I decided to go with Drawn by Rhiannon as no matter what products I would be making, it would always start with one of my hand drawings.

Day 10: You

Meet the maker
Meet me in real life at a market in the North East.

In case we haven’t met before – Hello, my name is Rhiannon! I design all the fabrics from my hand drawings and hand make all the items myself . I’m one of those people that doesn’t particularly like having their picture taken so I chose one of me behind my market stall from last week at the make and mend market ? I love meeting all you lovely people in real life at the markets so if you’re ever in the north east when I’m at a market, please do come and say hello.

Day 11: Reducing waste

Squirrel reusable makeup remover pads
Reusable makeup remover pads are a great way to reduce waste

This is something I’m really passionate about so I’m working on a whole new line of products to help you reduce waste. This includes the reusable makeup remover pads and the reusable beeswax food wraps. I’m also thinking about reusable sponges and reusable paper towels. If you would like to see any other eco-friendly products please let me know.

Day 12: Hands at work

A sped up video of what goes in to the editing of photos

After all the sewing, the next step is photographing everything, editing the photos and uploading the new products to the website. I use Photoshop to even out the lighting and tidy up the background. I also use it to make the colours look as true to life as possible ?

Day 13: Photography

Photography setup - meet the maker
My current photography setup – very tricky to get right!

Photography is my biggest struggle with running my own business. It takes me as long to photograph and edit the photos as it does to make the items in the first place! I’ve finally worked out a good set up but it hugely depends on the British weather…

Day 14: How I learnt

Meet the maker

I learnt how to draw properly when I started my fashion degree. You wouldn’t believe the difference having proper drawing lessons makes! That’s where I first learnt about print design. My mum taught me the basics of sewing when I started A Level Textiles and then I was thrown in the deep end with industrial sewing machines and overlockers when I started my fashion degree. After two years of unbelievably complicated garment construction I realised fashion design wasn’t for me. When I switched my major to fashion graphics, I learnt more about digital art and started to refine my print design skills. Every print I design teaches me something new so I’m constantly learning everyday.

Other than that, everything I’ve learnt has been through experience. I’ve made so many mistakes and felt like giving up a lot, but I keep on trying. Running your own business is really hard work so a big shout out to everyone who has made it a success ?

Meet the maker week 2 really focused on background information about me. Would you like to know more about my design process, education or past projects? Let me know by commenting below. Week 3 coming soon!

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Meet the maker 2019 week 1

March Meet the Maker 2019 prompt list

If you’ve not heard of it before, March Meet the Maker is an Instagram challenge set up by Joanne Hawker.

It comprises of a list of prompts for small businesses to post about to show people more about their business. I love taking part in the meet the maker challenge as it lets me connect more with all you lovely lot and you get to find out more about me and what I do! In case you missed it, here’s a run down of this year’s prompts.

The 2019 list of prompts for the March Meet the Maker challenge
The 2019 list of prompts for the March Meet the Maker challenge

If you don’t follow Drawn by Rhiannon on Instagram (if you don’t, click here to find me) then you will have missed loads of behind the scenes action so I thought I’d share the pictures on here too just for you!

Day 1: Favourite to make

Water resistant bee print apron
Bee apron

I found this one a really tricky one to decide but when I was making the new aprons the other day I realised how much more I like sewing them than I used to! They always used to be a real struggle to make on my domestic sewing machine as the water resistant fabric they’re made with is super tough. Since I’ve got my industrial machine though it’s a whole new story! The aprons have lots of little steps from beginning to end and it’s nice to work on something different 🙂

Day 2: How you started

How Drawn by Rhiannon started - meet the maker
My final collection of my fashion design foundation degree – my first fabric collection!

The first fabric collection I designed was for my the final major project of my fashion design foundation degree. I took inspiration from nature and random objects to create two print themes for a range of fashion accessories. Seeing my designs printed on fabric for the first time was incredible! To be honest I still find it amazing now every time a new batch of fabric arrives ? I then went on to study fashion graphics at Southampton Solent University where I totally focused on print design, culminating in my FMP of printed homeware items. Lots of people asked if I would be selling the things I had made and that’s how Drawn by Rhiannon was born!

Day 3: Flatlay

Otter pencil case
Flatlay shots are great for pencil cases

Photography is something I’m constantly working on but I feel like I’m getting better at it. I always like to do a flatlay shot with the pencil cases and coin purses to give you an idea of size and how much you can fit in them. The pencil cases are not only great for storing stationery, but they also make great travel sewing kits!
The otter pencil case is available to buy here.

Day 4: Tools and materials

Industrial sewing machine - meet the maker
Almost everything I make is sewn on my brilliant industrial sewing machine

The main tool I use is my fabulous industrial sewing machine! It’s super powerful so has no problem with all the hours of sewing through tough fabric ?
By the way, this photo was taken just after my studio was completed, my sewing table has never been this tidy since ?

Day 5: Detail or close up

Rubber duck wash bag
I loved designing all the details of the rubber duck print

I’ve decided to share a close up of one of my new prints… the rubber ducks! These are all drawings based on ducks from my collection and I love all the little details on them. Who else is a fan of rubber ducks?
The rubber duck wash bag is available to buy here.

Day 6: Full or part time

Part time craft shop
I also work part time in a craft shop

I usually work 30-40 hours a week on Drawn by Rhiannon (though in the past few months that’s been closer to 50 or 60 hours a week which is probably why I’ve been so tired ?) but I also work a few shifts a week in a craft shop so I literally spend my whole life crafting!

Day 7: Less glam side

Reusable panda beeswax food wraps
The beeswax wraps definitely aren’t glamorous to make!

This one baffled me a bit as I wondered what people thought was glam about running a business… as much as I love my job, I definitely wouldn’t describe it as glamorous! Probably the least glamorous part of my job is spending hours scrubbing the kitchen after making the food wraps as the beeswax gets everywhere ?
Take a look at all the available beeswax wraps here.

Stay tuned for week 2 of the March Meet the Maker prompts coming soon!

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Where the magic happens

Drawn by Rhiannon industrial sewing machine

All the drawing, fabric designing, sewing and photographing is done by me in my north east studio.

I’m not a fan of long commutes so I love that my studio is just 10 seconds from my living room. When I moved in, the building in the garden was split down the middle, half a shed and half a playroom. The first thing I did (when it had stopped snowing… remember the glorious beast from the east?) was have the building completely renovated – the middle wall was ripped out, the walls and ceiling were lined with cosy insulation, and proper electricity was wired through to make sure the industrial sewing machine would run properly.

Drawn by Rhiannon studio
Having the studio in the garden is great!

The studio is the perfect size to fit everything in. Check out the video below for a quick whizz round tour.

So let’s break it down a bit!

The studio drawing table

Every fabric I design starts with my hand drawing which I draw right at this table here (unless it’s absolutely freezing, then I resort to the sitting-by-the-fire-under-several-blankets style of drawing)

Drawn by Rhiannon studio drawing table
This table is where it all begins. I stick photos I’ve taken on the wall as inspiration for my drawings.

As you can see, this is also where I keep all my scissors plus my domestic sewing machine and overlocker. I’ve written a blog post about my top 10 tools and tips for anyone interested in sewing which you can check out here.

The crafting cupboard

Drawn by Rhiannon studio tour - the big cupboard of crafting supplies
This big cupboard houses everything I need to get creative.
Drawn by Rhiannon studio tour - the big cupboard of crafting supplies
Threads, buttons, ribbons, pens, pencils, paints…

In the big cupboard next to the drawing table, there are all sorts of bits and pieces! I have a drawer for paints, a drawer for pens and pencils, then all the threads, buttons, ribbons and extras that I could possibly need for sewing. The last owners of my house very kindly left this super useful cupboard in the bathroom so I re-purposed it for the studio.

Once I’ve finished my drawing, I then scan it in to the computer and turn it in to a digital print design. This is the only part I don’t do in the studio as my internet doesn’t stretch that far.

The fabric store

The tallboy of fabric in the Drawn by Rhiannon studio
This tallboy houses all the lining fabrics and specialist fabrics such as interfacing, towelling, fusible fleecing and insulating fabric.

Once the fabric has returned from the printers it’s time to get making. This is where this cupboard comes in. I bought this tallboy from Oxfam when I moved in to my flat in Southampton and it’s one of those fantastic pieces of furniture that can be used for all sorts of things.

Tallboy full of linings, specialist fabrics and yarn.
It also holds my stash of wool for when I get a chance to do some crochet.

It’s a bit of an organised chaos situation but it makes sense to me! The top shelf holds any excess printed fabric that I need to get round to making in to something. It also holds the plain cotton lining fabrics that I use for items like the coin purses, makeup bags, and passport covers. (Check them out here) The middle shelf houses all the specialist fabrics like interfacing, towelling, fusible fleecing and insulating fabric. There’s also a stack of printed fabric (not designed by me) that I have bought to make in to clothes. I have about 6 dresses in the pipeline, it’s just finding the time to make them!

Dressmaking in the studio

Speaking of dress making, here’s a quick shot of the corner of the studio. This holds my fabulous dressmaker’s dummy and all my tape measures (forever losing these so you can never have enough)

Drawn by Rhiannon adjustable dressmaker's dummy
The adjustable dressmaker’s dummy is so handy for making clothes.

I also have a selection of design books covering everything from creative garment construction and printmaking, to typography and packaging design. When I lived in Southampton I would take a day trip to Salisbury as there is a fantastic bookshop there that sells all sorts of really specialist books really cheaply!

Drawn by Rhiannon studio bookcase full of design books.
I just love books!

Time to get sewing

After that quick sidetrack it’s back to the making process. I used to use the domestic sewing machine that you saw earlier but, bless its little heart, it was not designed for the volume of sewing I do these days. When my studio was being renovated, I searched high and low for an industrial sewing machine to take over the main sewing duties. I was lucky to find this beauty not too far from me which used to be used in the Barbour factory.

Drawn by Rhiannon industrial sewing machine
My fabulous industrial sewing machine

This beast powers through everything and never gives up, even when I’m sewing through 8 layers of thick fabric.

An important part of the sewing process is ironing. Pressing seams ensures they lie flat and gives the completed item a better finish.

The final stages

Drawn by Rhiannon ironing station
Apologies for the photo quality, it was a super sunny day when I was shooting the studio and the bright light from the windows caused a bit of a problem here.

Once the items are sewn and pressed, it’s time to photograph them.

Drawn by Rhiannon photography area
Most of the items are shot on a light blue background to match my branding.

I’m lucky to have lots of big windows in the studio so the daylight helps a lot. I also use a daylight lamp (the one sat on the industrial sewing machine table) to help on gloomier days.

Drawn by Rhiannon photography set up
My photography set up is forever changing but I think I’m slowly getting there…

Just a little side note for eagle-eyed readers; the robin on the notice board was the first thing I ever screen printed when I was at university. It forms the base for the robin print which is still popular to this day!

Drawn by Rhiannon packaging cupboard
Tissue paper, paper bags, business cards and mailing boxes are all housed in here.

And just in case you were wondering, the cupboard that I take the photos on holds all my packaging supplies for sending orders out to you lovely people! I recently changed to cardboard mailing boxes to be more eco friendly which fit nicely on this shelf. The bigger ones had to sit next to the cupboard as they are HUGE when they’re not folded in box form.
This was another cupboard that was very kindly left by the previous owners in the bathroom. Much more handy in my studio though!

Off to market

Finally when everything is photographed and listed on the website, it’s time to go to market.

Drawn by Rhiannon market prep
Another piece of furniture that was left by the previous owners of the house. A quick clean up and it makes the perfect market prop storage.

This shelving unit here holds all the props and accessories needed for my market stall. It adds up to quite a lot of equipment! This is all carefully planned out before each market to make sure I’m happy with the layout before I go.

So that’s it! I hope you enjoyed a behind the scenes snoop of my studio. Stay tuned for my next post about my favourite sewing tools and tips.