Karen Brackley, Founder of KB Sewing Designs

Introducing colour to the world one cushion at a time! 

It’s the small things I enjoy about being self-employed, like being able to plan my own day! It still feels like a novelty after spending years working in healthcare and being answerable to managers.

My mum was a nurse, so it was a natural progression for me to become one too. I didn’t discover Occupational Therapy until further down the line. I enjoyed getting people that one step further towards leaving hospital by putting things in place at home to keep them safe. Working in Rheumatology, I helped people to change their lifestyle to accommodate their condition and keep their independence.

That’s something that’s important to me: being in control of my own destiny. I have a small pension and know I’ll need to work into my seventies, so I’m being proactive and building a soft furnishings business! It’s at an exciting stage; every day, I’m taking positive steps forward and growing in confidence.

There’s lots of things I can do, like making curtains that are handstitched, interlined and weighted, but my happy place is working on a smaller scale. Give me a sewing machine and small squares of fabric that I can manipulate and I’m in heaven!

I first decided to do something with my sewing when my son was little. My part-time role as an OT could be stressful, so I lost myself in counted cross-stitch and tapestry to relax. I enrolled on an ‘Introduction to Soft Furnishings’ course, which I completed over two years; then I travelled to Oldham every week to study for a City & Guilds diploma. I loved it because it gave me an arts and design grounding, as well as new technical skills and the chance to experiment with other mediums. It’s not about ‘knocking a cushion together’: I create something unique with love from scratch.

Lately, I’ve been manipulating dyes to stamp my own designs on calico and incorporate them into cushions. I’ve been selling at crafters’ markets, but next month I’ve got a stand at an equine event! It’s a bit left field, but I’m trying new things to find my niche and connect with my perfect customer – sharing my passion for colour and bespoke design.

KB Sewing Designs