Sunday, November 7, 2010

Meet the stallholders: Tea and Cake with…Kate Barlow from Megan and Mona

Kate is a trained costume maker with a fabulous day job touring with the wardrobe department of an opera company. But because that means she’s less hands-on with the making side of things, she’s putting her tremendous skills to good use in her spare time and making all sorts of treats for you to buy. She lives in Cardiff.

Kate - the talent behind Megan and Mona

Hello Kate, do you like tea and cake? And if so what kind?

My friend Bethan makes the best Lemon Drizzle cake I've ever had and you can't go wrong with a good cup of PG Tips!

What do you make?

A mixture of things made from vintage, new and found materials. Cushions, bags, brooches, wrist cuffs, pin cushions.

A vintage-frilled tea-cosy 

What inspired you to start?

I've loved to make things ever since I was little and moved to Cardiff to train as a costume maker 10 years ago. My current job is for a touring opera company in their wardrobe department  which means I'm less involved with the costume-making side of things. I really miss being creative, so I decided to have a go at selling things. A friend told me about Etsy and I've gone from there. I've called it Megan and Mona after my grandmothers, as I get my sewing skills from one and my love of theatre from the other. Megan left school at 14 to be a seamstress and taught me to sew and embroider, Mona's mum was a ballerina and later a dance teacher putting on her own shows and making the costumes.

Handmade bracelet-cuff

Where do you get your ideas from?

All sorts of places - magazines, shops, clothes, vintage items, friends. Sometimes I get inspiration from the materials themselves and can see them made-up into finished items in my head. I love doing hand embroidery and have recently taught myself to crochet which has become abit of an obsession. Another obsession is EBay and I can spend hours searching for vintage haberdashery, embroidery thread and yarn. I'm a terrible hoarder and find it hard to through anything away. Old button tins are often full of all kinds of interesting bits and bobs!

Time for a nice sit-down

Why did you want to be part of “It’s darling!”?

I heard about it from Angharad Gamble, a milliner and costume maker who had a stall at the fair in July. She told me how much fun it was so I thought I'd have a go. It's the first time I've done something like this and I'm really nervous but excited too.

Describe your ideal Christmas day…

In North Wales with my family with lots of snow, an open fire, chestnuts and hot toddies.


What would call “It’s darling!” in your life?

My little niece and nephews are definitely top of my list along with a yellow and cream 1950s kitchen unit that lived in my grandmothers garage for years. It was in a pretty bad state but I re-painted it and now I keep my sewing things in it's many drawers and cupboards.

If you would like to find out more about Kate click here or email her on


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