Selvedge Talks to... Gay Appleby


Gay has just opened her boutique, loving the fabric, Visit for a beautiful collection of - mainly natural fibre - fabric, both woven, and knit, as well as lace, Gutterman thread, concealed zips, buttons, trims, and more. Gay will also be exhibiting at our Merchant's Fair on Saturday 26 November, 11am-5pm.

What made you start working with textiles?

My mother had the amazing idea to send me to sewing lessons when I was 12 after school, a private lesson with Mrs. Zanelli! I remember going to fabric shops to chose the bits I needed for my projects and feeling quite excited seeing such lovely fabric….Naturally I remember my first creation, there was even a photograph of me in the local paper wearing my outfit!


What inspires you?

I am very inspired by architecture and classical detail. I also adore the little background scenes and vignettes in many Early Renaissance paintings.


Who inspires you?

I am inspired by creative people; the passion that drives them and their incredible energy. Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen are designers I particularly admire. As a former DT Textiles teacher, I was also very inspired by my students, their vision and dedication.

What is your favourite part of the process of sourcing/making/doing what you do?

I tend to see envision garments when I look at the fabrics in my collection. I spend time putting pieces together which look beautiful and that alone brings me a lot of contentment.  I also enjoy sewing lovely clothes. I get an incredible feeling of accomplishment in wearing things I create. It is kind of indescribable, not pride per se, just simple happiness!


 Where do you live and why have you chose to be here?

I live in Mortlake, near Richmond, where my new beautiful fabric shop is located. My husband and I moved here to be near our children and grandchildren. It is a privilege living close to them, and spending time doing everyday things with them.

What’s your ideal Sunday?

A bit of a lie-in, a nice big breakfast, a walk in Richmond park then whatever family things are happening for the rest of the day, including being in my shop in the afternoon.

If you could fly anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go and why?

Japan as I am moved by Japanese art, love Japanese textiles, houses, gardens, food, basically the lot!


What is your favourite colour?

I think it might be called periwinkle blue?, including all tones, cross-dyes and shades related to that colour.

What are you reading at the moment?

The Ballroom by Anna Hope. I especially loved her book Wake…

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