24 August 2012

A Day in the Life of Lucie Summers - fabric designer

Remember my Life's Too Short Skirt? Many people commented on how awesome the fabric was. Well, for this month's A Day in the Life, we hear from the fabric designer herself! Lucie Summers' fabric line, Summersville, is relatively new but already a hit amongst stitchers. "Hmm... what is a fabric designer's preferred form of exercise?" you ponder. Let's find out...


"The very reason I like working for myself is that every day is different. I never quite know what to say when people ask me what I do for a living, but I suppose I'm best described as a surface pattern designer - that tends to cover most things. I design and print fabric and mugs for my own little Etsy shop under the label Summersville and I also work for Moda Fabrics. My second line for them is due out early next year. My days are spent either working on something new, finishing up a project, designing, writing or sewing. Or standing in the post office queue. I quite like the fact it's a juggling act, and even more so at the moment because my boys are off school for the summer.

I am woken up by my husband with a cup of tea. He's a farmer and up and out early on the farm, especially at this time of year. He doesn't drink hot drinks, so this is an especially nice thing for him to do and over the years has become a very fine tea maker ;) I spend some time on my iPad for an hour, checking and replying to emails and jotting down some notes for a writing job.

I can hear the boys stirring and usually the littlest one comes and jumps on our bed. We go downstairs and I listen to the boys banter (argue) as I make them breakfast. I can't eat this early so I have another cup of tea. I go into my studio, a commute of approximately 4 seconds. I love my studio, it's big and light and airy with a big print table taking up most of the room, but with plenty of storage. I do most of my work at this table, from printing and sewing to packing orders and designing. I'm not terribly tidy though, and every week I promise myself I'll be a more a more organised person. It doesn't really work. This summer I'm particularly enjoying the fact I haven't got the school run and enjoy working in my jimmies, but usually I'm in my normal uniform of rolled up jeans, t-shirt and flip flops.

I've got photography to do for a quilting how-to to accompany the notes I made this morning. The images need editing then putting together with the wording. I enjoy writing instructions so this is a nice task! On a normal school day I start work around 9.15am and leave to pick the boys back up at 3.00pm. That time usually flies by, but these summer holidays are actually giving me more time to work because I’m not having to get the kids to their various after school activities. I'm lucky that today my oldest son is happy pottering around on the farm with his dad and my youngest is happy pottering about in the garden making his own entertainment. He spends HOURS practicing his penalty kicks...

The smell of my armpits has driven me upstairs to shower....

9.30am - 12.00pm
I've alternated between being in the studio working and helping my youngest make some cookies for after lunch. I've also worked hard on a piece of writing I thought was due in tomorrow, but realised it's not needed until the middle of September. What an idiot!

12.00pm - 3.00pm
An early lunch for the workers so I'm back in the studio...this time making sample patchwork blocks and writing instructions for them. My early afternoons are usually reserved for printing or packaging orders. I've figured out the times my post office is less busy so generally do the post before picking the boys up from school.

3.00pm - 5.30pm
I'm feeling bad for my youngest, he's looking forlorn in the garden so I suggest we go into town to do some chores then go to the park so he can run off some steam. We bump into a school friend so have a nice time catching up.

Luckily I managed to remember to get something out of the freezer for dinner earlier in the day so after a simple pasta meal, the boys go outside and play while I catch up on paperwork. My husband has to work from 7.30 onwards and I've got a Zumba class at 7.00 so I arrange childcare with my practically-step-mother-in-law. She lives next door so luckily this is an easy task!

7.00pm - 8.00pm
Time for Zumba! I've been doing Zumba for a year and have found that exercising makes me much more clear headed and I manage my work so much more efficiently, so I'm trying to fit in a class a day. This is a new class in the village hall, I'm really excited to have one that I can bike to! Living in a small village is idyllic in some ways and super frustrating in others.

A swift cup of tea and chat with my in laws and it's time for the boys to bathe and go to bed. I was planning on getting some more work done but I'm going to relax instead, I've got a busy day tomorrow in Birmingham at the Festival of Quilts.

Off for a bath and a read - got a new book and I can't wait to get stuck in to it. I read a lot in the evenings, it's the perfect wind down time, especially in the bath with a cup of tea. Blissful. It's bed not long after, I'm not a night owl... Wow, I'm coming across as really rock an' roll, me.

I love working for myself and the flexibility it gives me when I've got the boys to think about, but sometimes it's really hard too. I'm so lucky they are so understanding about my work and that I'm not always available to drop everything when they want a kick about in the park or whatever, but it doesn't stop me from feeling awful sometimes. This summer has been particularly difficult as my husband has been so busy, and I've got a September deadline. I'm not really sure if I've got the life/work balance sussed, sometimes I think that women are programmed to feel guilty whatever they choose to do. But somehow we muddle on, and it all gets done eventually. Except perhaps the ironing pile."


You are rock n' roll, Lucie - staying up late is for losers. Or so I like to tell myself. In any case I feel another skirt (or maybe even a dress?) coming on in the black version of Weave...

Readers, I have a few more great Day in the Life interviewees up my proverbial sleeve, but it would be great to know if there's anyone in the stitching world you'd particularly like to see featured. Let me know!