Passion for patchwork
ENTERING MARGARET’S PATCHWORK SHOP at Bormill Commercial Estate is like setting foot inside Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory; instead of rivers flooded with melted chocolate, trees bearing jelly beans for fruits and lollipops sprouting like flowers, the shop is filled with soft, colourful patchwork soft toys and comforters instantly reminding you of rainy days when you just want to bundle up in your warmest blanket.
“All the items in my shop are handmade,” said owner Margaret Law Yan Guat whose shop has been operating since seven years ago.
When Margaret started doing patchwork as a hobby more than 10 years ago, she initially did not plan to turn her passion into a business.
“At first I was a bit reluctant to sell my products as it would take quite a long time to complete an item,” she said adding that it would usually take her about three to months to complete a bigger piece such as a king-sized comforter.
But then, with a little encouragement from her husband and children, Margaret then decided to turn her hobby into a business.
Hung in every corner of her shop are all the patchwork pieces with variant designs and patterns of flowers, houses, butterflies and scenery.
“My favourite design to do is actually the house pattern. I don’t have any particular reason why; I even incorporate house patterns on other items such as hats,” she said with a laugh.
For Margaret, handling a pair of scissors and fabric has never been a struggle as growing up, she would always help her mother, who was a tailor, to cut fabric patterns.
“I remembered that when I was in Form 1, I started making my own dresses and of course, back then my designs were quite simple,” said Margaret with a laugh as she fondly recalled her memories from earlier days.
“My mother never restricted me when I was working on my own. She just let me discover my own way and let me learn by myself,” she said.
But it was not until her friend introduced her to patchwork in 1997 that she discovered her new found passion, and then was introduced to another friend who taught her the appliqué technique.
Appliqué, is French for applying a pattern from a smaller piece of fabric to a larger piece by needlework.
“My friend told me that since I am good with handling scissors and sewing, why not try to do patchwork,” said Margaret where she still remember that her first applique craft was a patchwork curtain which is still hanging in her house.
After her first piece, Margaret discovered there are more things she can do with patchwork and her newly learned technique. Often looking for inspiration through magazines and also while on her travels, Margaret would always be looking for new ideas and patterns to incorporate in her work.
Instead of just limiting her work to comforters, Margaret also ventured into making patchwork purses, soft toys, and baby blankets, among other things.
According to Margaret, every piece that she did would have its own individual patterns and she tended not to use the same pattern twice.
“Even if I use the same pattern, I would not use the same colour or material and I would make some changes in my designs. I would try to not use the same design twice because by incorporating new pattern and design, it gives me the thrill and excitement to do it,” said Margaret. Currently, she is starting to make patchwork handbags.
For the coming Chinese New Year celebration, according to Margaret, the most popular items to be bought by her customers now is the Chinese character patchwork, ‘Fu’ or ‘Fook’ where they can be seen hung on the wall or entrance door during the festive season.
Aside from selling patchwork items, Margaret’s Patchwork sells fabrics, sewing kits and tools.
For those interested in Margaret’s Patchwork, it is located at No 28, L 2360, Ground Floor, Bormill Commercial Estate, 93150 Kuching Sarawak or contact 082- 417798.