Debbie Harris

Company overview

Debbie designs and makes patterns and kits for Sewing, Crochet & Knitting. Using high quality fabrics and materials, Debbie offers a range of high quality products whilst aiming to make them accessible to everyone. There is also a range of essential haberdashery available, all of which Debbie uses herself.

How did it all start?

During lockdown in 2020, Debbie was able to spend more time enjoying her crafts of Sewing, Knitting & Crochet. She entered a national sewing competition, The Great British Make Off – not only did she win, but it also launched her design career.

The story behind the name…

The business started off with the name ‘Mabel & Deb’ as Debbie’s new kitten, Mabel, enjoyed being part of the sewing journey too! As the business grew, Debbie realised the business name needed to reflect more of what actually happens, and Debbie Harris Designs began.

Debbie Harris Headshot

Where are you based?

I am based in the heart of the East Midlands, Melton Mowbray. Best known of course, for our famous pork-pies and Stilton cheese, it’s a beautiful part of the world which encourages my creative imagination to develop new ideas and designs.

What inspires you?

Lots of things inspire me, but the most influential is nature. Especially the changing of the seasons, bringing with it the changing colours, sights and smells. It’s a real ‘hit’ to the senses and that’s what I bring to all my designs.

What is your creation process?
My mind never rests, therefore ideas come to me all the time! I quickly draw or write down those ideas and then the detail happens. This can take varying amounts of time, sometimes it can be quickly done, whilst other designs are made over a number of days, weeks or even months. Because I design such a range of products, it really depends on what I’m working on as everything is so different.

What makes you, your brand or products unique?

It’s very personal to me. Whilst a doll, a cushion or a quilt can be designed and made easily in some respects, my designs are my very own. I also bring a particular technique to the patterns, making the designs interesting for others to make and create.

What is your next project?

I’m currently working on my next Patchwork / English Paper Piecing (EPP) design. I enjoy bringing the shapes to life and using colours and shape to make something very special.

What are your plans for the next 12 months?

The next 12 months seems like a long time but will no doubt go by very quickly, as this year has done! I aim to continue to grow my creative business with more designs. I really enjoy broadcasting on television and social media and I’m hoping to develop this area too and broaden my presenting skills.

What is your biggest achievement?

For me, it’s been about doing something I absolutely love, every single day. I get to be creative, share my designs and have that platform on television and the internet to allow me to do just that. Sharing my work with others and knowing how much people enjoy creating my designs is the best thing ever!

What is your best-selling product/line?

The best selling product is without a doubt my range of pin-cushion sewing patterns and kits! Everyone loves them, especially the Sewing Machine! And if you’re a sewist, who doesn’t love a sewing machine! It’s cute, functional and gives a real sense of satisfaction when people make it for their own sewing space.

Your experience of your first Knitting & Stitching Show (year, exhibiting or visiting)

The first Knitting and Stitching show I went to was Alexandra Palace and wow – what a venue! The majestic lead up to the building creates a sense of creativity and is so inspiring. Since then, a few years ago, I never missed a show as a visitor and now I could not be more proud to exhibit and teach at all the Knitting & Stitching events, including The Festival of Quilts.

What do you love about the Knitting & Stitching Shows?

Where to start – the stands and stalls, seeing all the beautiful items to add to me sewing space! As if I need any more though! I enjoy looking at the exhibitions to see all the beautiful creations made by so many talented people. I get a real buzz from the workshop area, it’s so friendly in there and the amount of classes on offer always blows me away. And of course, the very-important cafes to keep me topped-up with morning coffee, afternoon tea and cake! It’s hard work keeping so busy all day!

Your three top tips for crafters and makers…

Ohh, just three….ok…
1) Love what you’re creating. Always make something you love and all the care, love and time you put into that project will show in the finished quality of the product.
2) Check and check again! It’s a bit like measure twice, cut once, take your time and be patient with yourself. The attention to detail and patience will again, pay-off in the finished product.
3) Enjoy your crafts! Never feel guilty about spending time doing the things you love. The mindfulness, relaxation gained from being creative is immeasurable. Personally, I have spent many hours in my own head-space being creative and it’s been one of my most important activities in life.

Any advice for fledgling businesses…

It sounds such a cliché – but just go for it! If I hadn’t been given the time with lockdown, to pursue my love of crafting, I would never have done it. Despite always wanting to be a graphic designer from being a little girl. It took me until I was nearly 50 to do what I absolutely love – don’t leave it that long, do it now! 😊 And on the other hand, if you feel it’s too late – never! x