Craft Business: Tell us about yourself; did you come from a creative background?
Debbie Shore: My mother was a seamstress, so I was taught to sew at a very early age. She was also very artistic, wrote wonderful poetry and worked as a draughtswoman. My father passed on his DIY skills to me and my sister, along with a curiosity of how things work. As a result, we’re both very good at taking things apart and putting them back together again!
CB: What craft techniques do you specialise in and what inspired your interest?
DS: I specialise in sewing, which until the last few years has been a hobby, my career being a TV presenter. The two came together whilst I was working for a shopping channel, and came to be selling sewing machines! The hunger for learning anything to do with needlecraft became so obvious from viewers, so it was they who inspired me to start to write and teach the craft.
CB: How did you develop your skills; did you take classes or were you self-taught?
DS: Mum taught me most of my skills, but to freshen up I’ve studied a few short courses at the London College of Fashion, and taken tuition in upholstery. A lot of what I do as in designing patterns and projects are things that I’ve figured out myself (thanks to my Dad!), so there has been a lot of trial and error.
CB: How did you get involved with writing books for Search Press? Tell us about the titles that you have written so far.
DS: I’ve written eight books so far for Search Press, six already published and two more to come out later this year. I have another three in the pipeline. My first book, Making Cushion Covers, was an idea I had after making a few projects that my husband, who’s a fashion photographer, took some beautiful pictures of. I sent them to Search Press who loved the images, and it all went on from there! My books are all aimed at the beginner, and my Half Yard series has proved to be a best selling range.
CB: How has the industry changed since you first started out?
DS: I’m really still quite new to the industry, but am seeing more and more use of social media, which makes authors more accessible to the public, and is a great way to promote their books.
CB: What effect has that had on the way your career has developed over the years?
DS: My career has completely changed in the last couple of years! I’m still presenting, but nowadays it’s only sewing shows. My writing is almost full time, and I’m designing my own patterns and fabrics.
CB: What trends have you seen come and go?
DS: Shabby chic I think has had its day, we seem to be going for bold colours and statement fabrics. Nautical is playing a huge part at the moment!
CB: What new products have appeared over the years that you feel have really made an impact on the industry?
DS: In my industry, sewing machines are becoming more comprehensive, computerised and easier to use and maintain. Measuring and cutting tools are more advanced to give accurate cutting.
CB: Is there anything you know now that you wish you’d known when you started out?
DS: I wish I’d have known this is where my career would have taken me while my parents were alive, they would have been so proud!
CB: What are your plans for the future?
DS: There’s Half Yard Kids and Sewing Room Secrets to name just a couple of books, then there’s the fabric range, growing my web site, and designing patterns and kits. I have a lot planned!