Textile homewares company Lottiemimi is the creation of Charlotte Stevens, a talented designer and crafter from Biddulph in Staffordshire, who specialises in designing and making beautiful fabric products ranging from bunting to bags. It’s a far cry from her previous career, working with lighting and production for the entertainment industry, and touring with bands.
While taking a break after finishing a tour with Westlife, Charlotte found that Lottiemimi, which she’d started a few years previously as a hobby, was expanding into a full-time job. She set about developing her range, taking bespoke orders, selling online and finding distribution outlets.
“I absolutely love having my own company and working for myself. Every day I get to design new products, source lovely fabrics, network with other companies and hang out with my dog.” she explains.
“I generally source my fabrics online, but I’ll never miss an opportunity to visit fabric shops, although that can be quite dangerous – some people like Prada, I like fabrics!
“I’m always creating new lines – my large make-up bags are my best seller at the moment. I’m currently working on creating a range of textile homeware which can be identified as a Lottiemimi brand – quirky, and with a designer feel but without the designer price.
“I’m inspired by colour. I love starting off with what looks like a very dull fabric, matching it with a second colour, either fabric or thread, and seeing it suddenly it come to life and turning into something completely unique.”
Here, Charlotte talks us through the inspiration and technique for making her bunting.
Before starting a project, create a mood board and lay out fabric swatches to see how they work together. Personally, this is the part I love the most about working with textiles, as I’ll use different fabrics and threads to pick out certain colours, or mix bright and pale or clashing colours to see how they work. I’ll also choose my threads and trimming fabric at this stage – polka dot fabrics work well as a top trim, as they’ll help tie two colours together.
Next, decide on the size and number of flags. For this example, I used eleven flags each measuring 16 cm across the top, and 21 cm down each side. The measurement from the middle of the top to the point of the triangle is 19.5 cm. Draw out your design, so that you’ll exactly know how each flag is going to look and where it’ll be positioned. Once you’re happy with the design, make a template, drawing a line 4cm down to mark the position for the top trim, and cut out the fabrics.
Step 2 – sketching out the design
Step 2 cont. – making the template
Once you’ve cut out all the flags, lay them out in order to make sure you’re happy with the overall look. Then take your trimming fabric, fold in the bottom edge of the strip and iron it in place before sewing into place with a decorative appliqué machine stitch in a contrasting or matching thread colour.
Step 3 – laying out the flags in order
Step 3 cont. – sewing on the trim
Next, cut out triangles of cream canvas, one for each flag, to use as backing fabric, which adds strength and gives a luxurious feel. Pin each flag, right side in, to the backing fabric and sew down each long side, leaving the top open. Trim off any excess fabric and turn the flag right side out. Once you’ve completed all the flags, iron each one then trim the tops so that they’re straight.
Step 4 – adding the backing fabric
Step 4 cont. – turning the flags right way round
Step 4 cont. – trimming the top of each flag
Take the binding strip and measure in 20 cm from one end to give the position of the first flag. Pin the first flag in place, measure a 5 cm gap and add the next one, continuing until all the flags are in place. Sew a straight line along the binding to hold all the flags in place, then add a small loop at either end to hang the bunting up.
Step 5 – pinning the binding in place
Sewing the bunting
The finished bunting.
For more information about Charlotte and her work, or to browse her product range, please visit www.lottiemimi.com or follow her on Twitter at @charlottiemimi. Prices start at just £1.20. Charlotte also exhibits at craft fairs in the Staffordshire/Cheshire area, please contact her via her website for event details.
by Sara Walker