Alice Caroline is a household name in the fabric-lover’s world – owner Alice Garrett has turned an obsession with Liberty prints into a whole business! She’s our go-to gal for Liberty fabrics of all different shapes and sizes, so we were thrilled to hear that she’ll be hosting shows over on Sewing Quarter this weekend. We caught up with her ahead of her SQ debut to find out more…
Tell us about your sewing journey!
My mum taught me to sew as a child and I used to do patchwork with my grandma. I had a couple of sewing lessons at school (attempting to make an awful 90s waistcoat!) but apart from that I’m self-taught. After getting a degree and PhD in Chemistry, I felt that it was time to let my creative side take over. I started making bags to sell at student fairs and it went from there. I sold the bags to shops for a while but decided
to take a break when I had children. After five years at home with the kids I wanted to get back into things so I started selling the leftover fabrics from the bag business.
At that time Etsy was just starting which was great – it provided a ready marketplace for connecting crafters and suppliers. I had always loved Liberty fabrics and knew that there must be fans like me out there who wanted to get hold of them more easily. I eventually got an account with Liberty and the day my first ten rolls arrived was so exciting. Now we stock over 500 Liberty prints! These days I enjoy designing kits
and patterns using Liberty fabrics and have published a sewing book called Little Lady Liberty (you can find it on Sewing Quarter). It’s been such a fun journey!
Tell us more about your lovely shop.
I started out in a room in my house and stayed there until it was full to bursting (and when my husband was really starting to complain about having six ladies working in the house). Eventually I took the plunge and by chance found a lovely converted barn to rent near my kids’ school. I was worried that it was a bit large at first, but we quickly grew into it and we now have a second barn with a whole attic full of fabric! All of the prints are arranged in alphabetical order as each Liberty print has a name. I prefer to have them in rainbow order, but that makes them too hard to find when we are fulfilling orders!
What is your fave fabric for quilting?
I love working with Liberty Tana Lawn as it behaves so well. It sews together and irons beautifully which is great for patchwork.
What are your top tips for sewists?
Don’t be afraid to have a go – no one’s watching or grading you! If you make a mistake, just take a break, have a cup of tea and then unpick it.
What make are you most proud of?
It has to be the double quilt I’ve just made for issue 25 of Today’s Quilter magazine. Wow, did it take a long time! You never know how these things are going to turn out, so I’m really pleased with the finished quilt.
Tell us about your Sewing Quarter plans!
I’m looking forward to introducing viewers to different techniques and encouraging them to have a go at new things with easy-to-follow instructions. There will be patchwork cushions, quilts, bags and
raw edge appliqué designs. I can’t wait!
You can catch Alice on Sewing Quarter on Saturday 2 July at 8am and 10am (UK time). Head to channel 78 on Freeview or watch online at sewingquarter.com