I admire makers with ethical narratives running throughout their work: changing old into new is, in my eyes, a skill in itself. A skill which Kerrie has mastered with love, care and attention to detail. She is pretty unique in the local creative community, being the only person I know making exquisitely executed lingerie. Her pieces are both modern and comfortingly familiar.
Please introduce yourself…
I’m Kerrie from Charm & Laundry.
Describe the products you currently make to sell
I make underwear, usually from ethically sourced fabrics. I also take commissions for clothes and am a trained pattern cutter.
Where and when do you design and make your products?
I’ve recently moved and now have a workroom, a whole room of my own filled with fabric, sewing machines and books. It even has a window with a view out to neighbours’ gardens. I have a part time job three days a week and always spend Sundays doing other things so pretty much every Monday to Wednesday you can find me in my work room, fulfulling a commission, teaching or cutting out more pants.
How long have you been selling your wares and how did it begin?
I’ve been selling for quite a few years now. The commissions side was the first aspect of my business but as I became increasingly interested in ethical fashion, I wanted to extend that to underwear. I soon realised that these items were small enough to make and store and so my ready-to-wear range appeared.
What drew you to the Brighton area, if you are not a ‘native’?
I did my degree in a very grey and unappealing town and Brighton was a two hour train ride down to the sea, and so became a place to escape to. Pretty much every part was appealing at the time – vegetarian restaurants, trees, more interesting architecture, friends that were already down here, etc…
Any other crafty disciplines you like to practice?
French knitting and machine knitting, I’ve yet to master proper hand-knitting skills. I’m just getting into a bit of hand and machine embroidery.
What inspires the things you make?
I don’t really consider myself a designer as it’s the making process that I find appealing. I suppose it is the construction elements that interest me, so if there is a particular seam or strap detail, for example, then I like figuring out how that was achieved. I love making other garments into underwear, I find this much more satisfying than refashioning as I prefer a whole new item to come from an old one. If it is a shirt I am using then I like to keep the details, so the buttons may become a feature. A lot of my fabric has come from my Gran and I have lots of her old buttons and lace and pretty much everything else sewing related. I have some of her clothes as well in various stages of made-ness and unpicked-ness, which are fun to play around with to see what I can get out of them. It’s also nice to know that I’m carrying on the sewing that my Mum taught me and her mum taught her. I have some beautiful pictures of my Gran where she is styled up like the movie star she always wanted to be but I remember her in silk shirts and gigantic furry hats, and always knitting on the sofa.
Rosie Martin from DIYcouture. She has been a friend for a very long time and is the most visual and visually-inspiring stitcher I know. Laura Dumbrell, illustrator and painter. We’ve had some fabric printed with her designs and I’m currently increasing my range of stitched items. I’ll also be collaborating with more artists in the future. Daisy Jordan, maker of amazing puppets inspired by the dark side of fairy tales.
Think about where it came from.
Thank you for answering our questions, your work sounds like it really comes from the heart, no doubt your Brighton Craftaganza stall is going to be totally gorgeous…