poppy treffry adorns home accessories with freehand machine embroidery

Poppy Treffry adorns home accessories with freehand machine embroidery

Homegirl London pays homage to Poppy Treffry.  She’s the creator of colourful, quirky textile home accessories, kitchen accessories, stationery and gifts.  Her trademark style is simple, sketched designs including popular motifs like dogs, boats and birds.  These are either applied to textiles using freehand machine embroidery or printed digital images of the embroidery.  This obsession started when her granddad found an old Singer sewing machine at a dump.  He gave this to Poppy and she’s been busy sewing ever since.  Her extensive collection includes everything from cushions and tea towels to purses and bags.  Poppy loves researching and sourcing beautiful and bright fabrics for her creations and is proud to make everything here in the UK.  I caught up with Poppy Treffry to find out more.

poppy treffry mobile hpone cases

Mobile Phone Cases

Meet Poppy Treffry

Poppy grew up in Cornwall and took a foundation art course at Falmouth College of Arts.  She then studied surface design at Winchester School of Art where she focussed on printmaking.  From there it was a short stint working in London before she found herself at a Women’s cooperative in Guatemala helping to set up a paper products business and in the process learned plenty of business skills.

poppy treffry picture of owner

Poppy Treffry

Back in Cornwall and searching for something to do, a gift from her granddad of an old Singer sewing machine found on a dump spurred her into action.  She reminisces – “I taught myself freehand machine embroidery, loving its similarity to sketching which I have always done!  One of my earliest memories is drawing out in the garden and I seem to have always had a sketchbook with me.  The simplest of doodles out on a country walk can spark the beginnings of an idea and I love that journey from sketch to product.”

poppy treffry sewing machine tea towel

Tea Towel

The business started organically back in April 2004, Poppy explains – “After making a few bags at home a friend of mine took them to local shops and galleries as I was too shy!  They were so well received that I was quickly asked for more.”

poppy treffry messenger bag

Messenger Bag

The business was up and running quickly, Poppy reminisces – “I soon needed more space so I rented a netloft in Newlyn (an attic previously used to make fishing nets) and gathered together a suitcase full of beautiful fabrics.  The timing was just right for me – there was little else on the market in a similar style and the ‘mass-produced’ backlash was just beginning.  Discerning customers were beginning to search for something with a little more soul and something created to last.”

poppy treffry wall art prints

Wall Art Prints

The business is now over ten years old.  The team consists of three out workers who create the embroidered, handmade range and eight more helping to make the bags and purses, cut out the fabrics for stitching boxes and all those other jobs needed to operate a business.  Poppy has a shop in St Ives which is also staffed so she’s a very busy lady but still oversees all the making.

poppy treffry cushions


Poppy gets a kick out of making her pretty pieces, she tells me – “My name is on every product that leaves our studio so I take pride and great care in ensuring that it is something I can be proud of.  I also love the fact that I am creating employment in Cornwall, the county where I grew up, although on the flip side this can give me the odd sleepless night too!  I have to admit I would find it hard to work for anybody else now!”

Poppy Treffry Collection

The collection is very extensive and includes cushions, prints, and fabric.  The kitchenware line includes tea cosies, coffee cosies, egg cosies, tea towels, mugs, and egg cups.

poppy treffry tea cosies

Tea Cosies

Fashion accessories range from bags, purses and make-up bags to cases for laptops, phones, and glasses.

poppy treffry phone case

Phone Case

The stationery line features greetings cards, postcards and notebooks.

poppy treffry stationery


Poppy describes her work – “Everything I do is based around sketching which is why I was so drawn to freehand machine embroidery, swapping pencil for needle and paper for fabric.  I have a simple, sometimes described as a childlike style!  Freehand machine embroidery is such a creative way of using the sewing machine, a million miles removed from school memories of perfect seams and neat edges!  Frayed edges and scribbly lines are the order of the day and I love the accidental results as much as the planned.”

poppy treffry dog make up bag

Make-Up Bag

My collection is ever-evolving, based on what’s proving popular and what I’m finding inspiring around me, so since I bought a campervan these are popping up on more designs.  Since various dogs I’ve stitched have been popular I’m forever doodling new dogs to find that perfect shape!”

poppy treffry dog cushion


There’s also a strong nautical theme running through my designs, surrounded by the Atlantic, the boats of Newlyn and the sights of St Ives it’s impossible to resist.

Buy Poppy Treffry Products

You can buy Poppy’s products from her website: Poppy Treffry.  Prices range from £2.25 for greetings cards up to £140 for an embroidered cushion.  Tea towels are £8.50 and look great framed.  Smaller cushions range from £21-35 and cosies start at £37.50.  Purses are £7.50- 12 and bags are £45-65.  Poppy has also written a couple of books about machine embroidery which you’ll find on her website.

Author: Homegirl London.  Photographs: Poppy Treffry.  Thanks: Poppy Treffry and Sharonne Lewi.