Meet Mark Francis

How did it all start?

I started my company after take part in the sixth series of the Great British Sewing Bee.  I realised I wanted to work in the sewing industry and set about making that happen.  I now have my own range of sewing patterns, designed with men in mind whist being great on the ladies too.  I also teach, host workshops, lectures, talks and Tv demos and appearances. 

Where are you based? 

I am based in Kenilworth, Warwickshire where I have always lived. Handily it is near by for most of the UK which is great for when I travel to the sewing shows across the UK.

What inspires you? 

I am inspired by vintage designs, details and ideas from period garments as well as TV and film costume design.  I love creating the clothes I want to wear and not what the fashion industry says I should be wearing.  That doesn’t mean they don’t inspire me, I just make it better!

Mark Francis 1

What is your creation process? 

The process to create your own garments is very freeing, knowing you can sew up and wear what every you want, so my creation process can start with a sketch, an idea.  Looking at details, concepts and solutions around me every day and distilling it all into my work.  Even on things I have made before, I am always looking to move the design on, think of new techniques and solutions or ideas.

What makes you, your brand or products unique? 

My particular interest is in menswear and the lack of interesting sewing pattern designs is what drives me to work in this area of the market.  Designs that are interesting but not too out there, with instructions that are well written without being too wordy either. 

What is your next project? There are always projects in various states of completion. The ones that have been cut out months ago and patiently waiting a needle and thread.  There are the ones I have been commissioned to make and have a deadline. Then there are the projects I am working on just for myself, as that is what I love doing I must keep that side of my life alive. 

What are your plans for the next 12 months? 

Sew Mark Francis will be launching more sewing patterns, all designed with men in mind, that the ladies are also more than welcome to wear too! I will also be stocking a selection of fabrics to accompany my sewing patters and projects that I hope you will love too.

What is your biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement is reaching the quarter finals of the GBSB.  Although I went into it to have fun I ended up completely turning my life around. My regret is that my mum is no longer around to be able to watch it, or give me a hug and tell me how proud she is.

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

I have been visiting the K&S shows since before I could sew. I used to come along with my husband, Clive as he is a sewer too. Now I attend the shows in a professional capacity teaching workshops, giving talks and demos and having my own stand too.

What do you love about The Stitch Festival?

The Stitch Festival is great to come to for everyone in the sewing world.  Either to come and shop and drink in the beautiful fabrics, tools and displays.  Or to meet up with friends and colleagues over a coffee and cake, make plans and exchange ideas. Just sink yourself into this work that we all love for four days is always a pleasure.

Your three top tips for crafters and makers…

Three very simple ones for me, that apply to many crafts and skills:

-enjoy your craft

-take your time

-share the love with others