Makepiece was founded in 2004 by Nicola Sherlock and Beate Kubitz to produce beautiful clothing that is sustainable, low-impact and eco-friendly.
Nicola Sherlock in the workshop
Knitwear designer Nicola Sherlock is a graduate in Fashion Knitwear Design from Nottingham Trent University. Her final collection was based around bringing organic and slow-food ethics into fashion. This philosophy informs Makepiece designer Nicola Sherlock’s approach to knitwear design. Nicola’s stitch creations are designed in three dimensions, stretching knitwear to its limits. Her unique stitch designs create shape, texture and pattern in garments that are both dramatic and wearable. Signature clothing incorporates felted lace, edgey silhouettes, ruching and ripples, sheer open knits and filmy soft shrugs, dresses and layers.
Beate Kubitz is both business manager and farmer. She has a degree in Philosophy and ten years experience running campaigns and activities for organisations including Amnesty International. She keeps a small flock of Shetland sheep for their coloured wool.
Jake feeling pleased with himself - 51 ewes to tup!
Makepiece is not just a designer label – it’s part of a landscape, which has for hundreds of years been shaped by the wool industry, from the dry-stone walled pastures to the packhorse tracks across the moors which took wool from farm to market.
AW10 Jacket and Dress
Makepiece take natural yarns, raised sustainably, spin them as locally as possible, knit in their community, using the minimum chemical processes possible to produce a finished product that can be treasured for years. It’s part of a story which knits a community with a landscape.
SS10 carapace dress with foxglove shrug
Like you, Makepiece want beautiful clothes and …
HUMAN RIGHTS … Makepiece knows they can trust their farmers and the mills where they live to produce yarn to a very high standard – and to look after the people involved in production.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY … Makepiece have chosen to use wool and mohair from British farms and their own sheep because they know how the land is farmed
FEWER CHEMICALS … each Makepiece collection contains undyed and naturally dyed clothes along with some azo-free dye colourways dyed to european environmental controls.
A SMALL CARBON FOOTPRINT … Makepiece wants their clothes to travel very few road miles before they’re worn so all their spinning, dyeing and manufacturing is done in the UK.
NO LANDFILL … Makepiece design their clothes to last – but when they’ve finally been worn to shreds, they can be composted.
Edgeway dress knitted in Blue-faced Leicester wool
British wool is a fibre with a clean conscience. Wool is sustainable – with relatively few environmental issues compared to intensively farmed cotton or petrochemical based materials. When farmed in the UK it is safe to say that there’s proper animal protection and employment rights, not to mention a minimum of road miles from sheep to shop. Recent legislation limits chemicals that can be used in farming to a minimum.
Wool is natural and easy to wear – it breathes and doesn’t get clammy. In fact, wool can absorb up to 20% of its own weight in water without feeling damp.
At the end of its useful life, wool is fully biodegradeable.
The fibres Makepiece use each have a story and a purpose, fine wool from blue-faced Leicester sheep is scarcely thicker than cashmere, superfine kid mohair with soft lustre, Shetland Island wool that felts exquisitely, English alpaca for cosy warmth, naturally dark brown Hebridean wool from Boreray Island, North Uist for winter felt and of course, their very own wool from their Shetland sheep.
Some of Beate's hooliglambs from this year's bumper crop!
Makepiece shear their sheep every year and send the fibre to be spun at the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall. This very special yarn is naturally brown without dyeing, combining the many hues of their little flock.
Beate shearing one of her girls
Inchfield scarf, one of many items made from Makepiece's own Shetland fleeces
On 29 August 2009 Nicola married Dave at Lumbutts Chapel, high on the Pennine Way.
Dave and Nicola's wedding high on the Pennine Way!
Nicola looked beautiful in the dress she made from honey-coloured undyed Peace Silk (made without killing silk worms). The dress featured a fabulous rose clad bustle and train made from a Victorian shawl, decorated with Peace Silk and hand crafted vintage lace roses. She completed the outfit with a delicate felted English Alpaca knitted jacket with ruched sleeves using signature Makepiece stitches and trimmed with antique linen.
Close up of Nicola's handmade dress and bustle
Makepiece have now launched their beautiful wedding range which is just the thing for brides who are looking for a really unique wedding gown or who need a little extra layer, to cover their arms or to warm their dress for a winter wedding. Makepiece knitted wedding dresses are truly amazing – for the bride who would like a unique look.
Makepiece have a shrug to suit every wedding dress – to cover bare arms, flatter every shape and ensure that you keep your arms and shoulders warm whatever the weather.
Alpaca Cape and ruched Armlets
Makepiece offer warmer winter shrugs and capes which will really keep off the chill for winter weddings – look for their heavier weight knits and fluffy brushed mohair for extra warmth.
Felted Foxglove Cropped Waitcoat
Makepiece make sheer shrugs and felted waistcoats which are perfect for summer weddings – for the evening, when the sun goes in or for cooler churches and registry offices. They’re also a perfect cover up for bare arms – without spoiling the line and look of your dress.
Makepiece wedding dresses are knits on a flight of fancy, sheer and soft with ruffles and ruches to delight the bride who wants her own unique look.
Briar Rose knit detail
Heart Gallery is proud to stock Makepiece all year round although there isn’t enough room to showcase their entire collections unfortunately! Thankfully, Makepiece have their own shop nearby in Todmorden which sells their current collection of beautifully designed knitwear – from little shrugs to fantastic dresses – as well as one-off samples and design classics in their new wedding range. For those too far away to visit Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge or Makepiece in Todmorden then learn more about them by reading their web pages and blog here where you can also browse and shop online.
Makepiece in Todmorden
Makepiece in Heart Gallery, Hebden Bridge