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Search Press

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Meet the author: Fiona Pullen

Fiona Pullen is the founder of The Sewing Directory, the popular and successful site for finding local and online sewing suppliers, sewing courses and sewing groups. This site includes projects, interviews, how to guides, reviews and fortnightly competitions, aiming to offer something for everyone. She now has a community of over 30,000 people all interacting on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest along with The Sewing Directory’s own blog. Fiona studied law at Cardiff university and has a passionate interest in social media, and helping others achieve their aims and goals.
You will also find endless hints and tips from Fiona on how to create your own dream business on

An Interview with Fiona

Where were you born?

I was born in Truro in Cornwall and now live in Devon.

What is your educational background?

I have an honours law degree from Cardiff University and worked in the legal department of an insurance company before entering the craft world.

What first got you interested in craft?

My mum is a dressmaker and my grandmother was a needlework teacher so I’ve always been surrounded by creative people.  Most of my siblings sew too.

How long have you been crafting?

I was very into craft as a child but stopped from my early teens until I had my son in my mid 20’s.  Wanting to make things for him, and having more time at home made me get back into it.  Prior to that I was so busy studying or working I didn’t really have time for hobbies.

Where do you get your materials?

I am a total fabricoholic!  I have quite eclectic tastes so there’s no one shop that satisfies my desires.  I currently live in the middle of nowhere so I do a lot of my fabric shopping online from sites like Celtic Fusion Fabrics, Plush Addict, Elephant in my Handbag, Fabric HQ, Eclectic Maker etc I like to support other small businesses and buy from them as much as possible. 

How/Where did Search Press discover you?

I had worked with Search Press for a few years as a reviewer of their books on my website The Sewing Directory.  I first met them at the Stitches trade show in the NEC when I launched my business 5 years ago and saw them there every year.  I had also visited them about a year before I decided to write a book to do a ‘behind the scenes at Search Press’ feature for my website and Sewing World Magazine.

What were your first thoughts when asked to write a book?

I actually approached them with my book idea.  I had received a few book offers in the past but it was never the right time or right people.  I had always wanted to write a book since I was a young child, although I had imagined it would be a fiction book.  When I started getting offered deals to write craft business books I realised that I had a lot of knowledge that I wanted to share so I started to consider the idea.
The books other people wanted me to write were not quite what I wanted to do.  So I started to plan out my own book idea and thinking about who I wanted to work with.  I’ve always admired Search Press’s ethos and got the impression they really cared about their authors which made them the natural choice for me.  I also thought that their books really stand out as being high quality books.  Luckily they liked my book proposal so we started working together.

Has publishing a book changed your life in any way?

I think it has undoubtedly raised my profile, my social media following has grown, my site traffic has increased and I’ve achieved a lot of press coverage as a result.  It’s still early days yet as my book has only just come out so I look forward to seeing what the results are in 6 months’ time, or a year after publication.
I think it also gives you a certain amount of kudos.  The fact that a publisher is prepared to invest money into you and your ideas tells other people that you know what you are talking about. People seem to respect you more when they know you have written a book on your subject.

Any tips for beginners?

I’ve been blogging about the whole book writing process on my blog:
I have to admit it was a lot more work than I ever imagined.  I’d only really thought about the actual writing side of things which I knew I could do and enjoy doing, but I’ve learned a lot about editing and book promotion along the way.   I guess as a tip I would say don’t underestimate the time and energy that goes into producing a book. It’s not something you can just knock out in a few weeks. It’s a long process that requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

What is your favourite craft tool?

Clover Wonder Clips!  They are amazing, they hold layers of fabric together without making marks like pins do, and are much easier to remove when your fabric if flying through your machine.  I don’t know how I lived without them.  They do seem expensive for what you get but they are worth every single penny.

Have you travelled for your craft?

Yes and no, I haven’t travelled specifically to craft somewhere.  But I do visit a lot of sewing shows and as a result have visited parts of the country I have never been to before.  I would love to do a few day long craft retreat somewhere, embroiderer Jen Goodwin is running a week long summer school in Dorset and I’d love to do that one year.   It’s on my wish list of things to do in the future.

Where does your inspiration come from?

The online craft community.  In particular Instagram, Pinterest and blogs, I see people making such beautiful things and it makes me wish I had a lot more sewing time.  I store up the ideas on my Pinterest account and hope that one day I’ll get to make them.

I’m not really one for following set instructions so I see things that inspire me, come with an idea of how I want the finished item to look.  Then I spend a day or 2 de-constructing it in my head and figuring out the best way to sew it.  It doesn’t always work but I’m a firm believer that you learn through your mistakes. I think you learn faster if you experiment and allow yourself to make mistakes than if you are always worried about being perfect first time.

Independent, family-owned, specialist art and craft publishers since 1970

Awards 2020

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