Thursday, October 6, 2011

Start Your Own...With Celtic Fusions Fabric

Our guest blogger this week is Gwen of Celtic Fusion Fabrics.  Gwen has been in business in the UK for4 years.  Her shop is filled with fun, quirky, eclectic prints that would brighten up any project.  You can follower her blog, which is chock full of eye candy, or her facebook page, but really what you want is to hit the online fabric shop.  There you'll find a dizzying array of happiness from Alexander Henry, Amy Schlimer, Anna Maria Horner, Cloud 9, Echino, Kokka, Riley Blake and Monaluna to name a few.

Gwen has super-generously offered readers of this post a chance to win 6 fat quarters designed by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller. 




"This range was inspired by her own feelings of childhood, as well as her  children’s. Simple play, creative play…the kind of play that requires imagination and no agenda. So while this collection has a very classic feel, there is a lot of whimsicality in the color and design as well."

To enter, just go over to her online shop and mini fabric bundle that you love.  Come back here and leave a comment including the name of your favorite parcel.  Gwen will draw a winner on Sunday night.

Thank you, Gwen, for writing such an insightful and funny post for us this week!



I suppose Celticfusionfabrics was an accident really.  I definitely had not planned on opening an online shop at all.  It just sort of developed. When I was in University in Dublin (too many years ago) I sold leather scraps, ribbons and trims on a stall at Mother Redcaps market.  To be honest I definitely did not love it ... the rain ... jeepers the rain and the early hours were even worse.  To be honest it was torture.  But it was extra cash for the college years.


It was then only in the later half of my years in Theatre and Film that people were always saying how difficult it was to source unusual fabric for curtains, upholstering chairs etc.  I always had pieces left over from small projects and I wanted to get rid of them so I starting selling on ebay.  It was really a way to get rid of my unwanted cloth rather than thinking ‘I can make  this a career choice’.. and so the shop was born.  My hubbie is an accountant so he kept me on the straight and narrow with my books.  I suppose it was not so risky as I had a full time job.  Having the shop was a great way to source fabrics for myself, place them on the shelf and stroke them adoringly.


Firstly, with starting off, you have got to have a real passion for it.  There are going to be late hours, answering customer queries and advertising yourself . I  just started with contacting suppliers in the UK ordered in small amounts and took it from there. I do think that starting up you need someone to help you keep within you limits of the cash that you can spend.  Best to start small and see how you get on.  Do your research, there are definite trends and seasons for cloth and fabric designers. A bargain bolt of pink flamingos with green stripes might seem like a good idea, but will anyone want to buy any from you?   Probably not.  Trust me I know.
 


Sourcing unusual items for your craft or your shop is time consuming, but it is fun and you really have got to love what you are selling in order to sell to someone else (but I really did love the flamingo fabric – just no one else loved it as much as I did).


Now with the shop and a full time job it has being quite difficult tying to find the time to have sewing projects on the go, but there have being so many babies born over the past couple of months it has being unavoidable to not want to make and create for little people. It is something that I would love to do more of and I really admire crafters who  have the will to stay at home, have kiddies, rustle up 10 quilts a week,  keep the house and stay sane … as that is serious multi tasking.



A walk in bricks and mortar shop would be fantastic.  You would get to meet your customers face to face and buying fabric online is not easy for people, even for myself.  It is one of those items  that you just want to touch get a feel for the weight, the colour, etc.  But I could not see that happening for a while.  I love the stability of my job and my colleagues and the shared coffee breaks. Saying that I spend many Saturdays wandering around the fabric shop in London with great envy. So a bricks and mortar shop is definitely not on the cards.  But, I am starting to screen print a fabric line for the shop: one colour prints on linen.  Its been great fun designing and experimenting.  To be honest I am  more nervous about that than I ever was about starting celticfusionfabrics. I don’t know why.  Strange…  eh?


Thank you to Cindy for giving me the opportunity to write on her blog,
Gwen

37 comments:

Judith, Belfast said...

Another brilliant post Cindy! Gwen's fabrics are stunning. I especially like Carolyn Gavin Spring & dots. But the Sarah Jane giveaway bundle is just as drule-worthy! Jxo

Fiona said...

I really enjoyed reading this post Cindy :) I've visited Celtic Fushion before and just love the fabric Gwen stocks, especially the Japanese bundles. But I am totally in love with the Sarah Jane fabric line just now. I NEED that bundle!!!!

Janine said...

I like them all! But especially the blue and green envy :)

WandaFish said...

What a fun and inspiring post from Gwen, thanks! (and I'd love to see the pink flamingos)
There are so many tempting fabrics and bundles over at Celtic Fusion Fabrics but one of my favourites has to be the Mini Cloth Stack cool Lecien dots and floral which includes a gorgeous Sarah Fielke print.
I am definitely in love with the Sarah Jane Children at Play - thanks for the chance to win!

Lydia said...

Oh the Sarah Jane stack is to die for!! I really LOVE the Mini cloth stack Erin Mc Morris Summersault as well. Such fun colours!!

Sarah said...

I'm a big fan of Gwens! I would shop at celticfusionfabrics every week if I could! There are too many cloth stacks I'd want just to choose one.... Owls & Musicians, Birds & Zigzag, Imports, Lecien Dots....

memmens said...

I love the small pack of Kokka Kawaii small prints, great for lots of little projects.
My husband bought me a couple Sarah Jane fqs back from the states the other week but I definitely have room for more, I would love this.
thanks for a great interview and lovely giveaway

Collette said...

Oh I love this shop and the article.
My favourite mini stack is this -
http://www.celticfusionfabrics.com/ourshop/prod_1562334-Mini-cloth-stack-cool-Lecien-dots-and-floral-prints-.html
sorely tempted to buy! Thanks for the opportunity to win!
Collette x

Sasha said...

Oooh, someone is going to be very lucky, I love the Sarah Jane fabric.
There are quite a few really nice mini stacks but the one that sticks out for me is the Melody Miller love birds. I'm a fan of grey and 'tangy' colours at the moment!

Anne said...

I was just thinking that I need to investigate online fabric sellers so thanks for this post. I will enjoy looking at the website - and will be sure to point Santa in that direction! :oD

Annabella said...

I love Celticfusion and spend time drooling over Gwen`s fabrics...I haven`t ordered before as they don`t ship to Morocco but I think that`s a paypal thing perhaps...I need to email Gwen! I love their quirky style and the unusual and beautiful Japanese fabrics and the Sarah Jane fabric is adorable. Thanks for this piece Cindy and Gwen - really insightful!

Isisjem said...

Great post - It's so hard to pick one bundle with so many lovelies. I guess first choices would be Anne Kelle bundle - love the owls and shrooms and the Scandinavian feel to it. But then Erin McMorris Summersault is calling me too...

Archie the wonder dog said...

Another great post - I'm really enjoying this series! I love the Kokka Kawaii small prints - I have my eye on those Matryoshka dolls!! Thanks for the giveaway - the Sarah Jane fabric looks lovely!!

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

Great giveaway! What a lovely online shop too :)
My favourite, after much internal debate, is the Mini cloth stack Melody Miller retro dishes. So cute and I love the vintage vibe!

Katy Cameron said...

Totally laughing at the pink flamingos, can't think why that didn't fly off the shelf (although I think I have some equally questionable things in my own crafting cupboards ;o) ) Great advice though, especially when it comes to stock, because it's easy to get carried away planning things, and not necessarily managing to carry through on them all, it's not worth wasting money on the 'maybes'

As for the giveaway, thank you so much for the chance to win, I love the Anne Kelle bird and zig zag stack :o)

Flying Blind... said...

I love Gwen's own fabric - well the little tasters she has posted about!

I love the mini Echino bundle, but no surprise there!

Thanks for the chance ladies x

gill said...

Thank you for telling us about yourself Gwen!
I like the Melody Miller lovebirds stack!
Thanks for a great giveaway!

Kelly said...

I like the blue and green envy stack and the monaluna citrus pack. Thanks for the chance to win!

Alli said...

My favorite is definitely the Kokka small pack! Good luck with your special fabric line and thank you for the giveaway! :)

pippablue said...

A great post and Gwen stocks some really lovely fabrics! Ilove the Michael Miller forest and spots bundle :)

Kerry said...

Nice to read about the origin of Celtic Fusion, I have been buying fabrics there for a while, great selection! I like the red/blue bundle best!

Rachel M said...

Great post. I love Celtic Fusion. It's so hard to pick a favourite, I like from London to Paris, Erin McMorris' Summersault and now I've seen this from Sarah Jane Studios, it's too hard to choose!!!

susan said...

Very good post, great giveaway and I'm liking the small pack in Red and Blue. Loving it actually!

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of Gwen and her fabrics. Celtic Fusion Fabrics is one of my favourite online shops. Its difficult to pick a favourite, I like them all, but I do like the look of the fancy flannels.
Judith L.

ck said...

What a super-fun shop! I am drawn to the "London to Paris" bundle, but am also loving the "Children at Play". To be honest, I want *everything* that she has! Great series Cindy!
Chrissa
p.s. I would sooo buy flamingo with green stripe fabric!!!! ;-)

Lee said...

Oh - I love the Kokka Kawaii sm. prints! so sweet! thanks!

Sarah said...

OOh, love those cloth stacks = that Lecien one is gorgeous! Thanks for another great informative post!

Benta At SLIKstitches said...

Oh thank you so much for the introduction, I can see lots of pennies being sent Gwens way! I'll be needing the spotty rush hour bundle, I have a nephew (just turned 3) who LOVES cars, and I get to meet him for the first time in December!! And if I were to win the Sarah Hane fabrics ... That would be made into something for his very girly big sister!

liberal sprinkles said...

Best wishes to Gwen on the screenprinted fabric line!
I love the 50's retro kitchen and Kokka kawaii small prints bundles.
Thanks for the chance to win!

Surely Stitching said...

I enjoyed reading this post as I've browsed on Celtic Fusion fabrics on many occasions! The Cloud 9 nursery bundle is one of my favourites. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely giveaway! I would choose Peace by Michael Miller. A truly lovely way to brighten a rainy morning!
Elaine R

Wendy said...

I've already bought a few! The last one I bought was Mod Kitchen, this time I'd go for Monaluna's 50s retro kitchen... spot a theme?

Manda said...

Love the Sarah Jane fabrics!
Thank you for the interesting post from Gwen!
Lots of yummy fabrics on her site but if I had to choose just one mini I would prob go with the melody miller retro.

Lynne said...

Another great post. Cindy. Thank you.

I must put my daughter on to this series - she is a SAHM and is thinking in this direction.

Indianna said...

I love lots of Gwen's fabric - but it would be Echino Quirky for me.

veryberryhandmade said...

My favourite mini cloth stack at CFF is Monaluna 50's retro kitchen - gorgeous! CFF rocks!

tusen said...

Great to learn about Gwen and about a new (to me) fabric shop.
There are so many lovely fabric bundles it's so hard to pick just one. Can I mention 3? Mini cloth stack Melody Miller retro dishes, Mini cloth stack Robert Kaufman Autumnal Nutmeg or Mini cloth stack of owls and musicians.

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