Catherine Walton learnt to sew when she was nine years old and this year she has fulfllled two lifelong dreams becoming a mum for the first time, while also launching her own bespoke range of childrenswear ‘Tilly Ann.’and ‘Little Gentlemen’.
It has been quite the whirlwind for designer Catherine, from Hutton, a graduate of London Fashion College who gave birth to her son Thomas seven months ago. She launches her brand of ‘mini gents’ and ‘modern ladies’ designs online this month.
The range, she says is inspired by the current trends for bespoke British brands, made famous by the likes of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge children Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The luxury wear and accessories for young children, have been designed using the finest British materials and craftsmanship from manaufacturers in the north west
Catherine says: “It has been a very busy five months, I always loved designing and have completed different design degrees.
“I had various office jobs to keep me in the fold but it was having Thomas that made me realise I wanted to have a job which allowed me to be at home.
“I had been handmaking bits and pieces for children of friends, who had loved what I did and it gave me the confidence to think I could produce a new line.
“Tilly Ann was the perfect fit and obvious choice as it was my mum’s childhood nickname, she taught me to sew at nine and soon after had my own sewing machine.”
Catherine returned to university at UCLan to hone her skills and graduated last year.
“I struggled to find a job to work around family life, so decided to try and build a future for Tommy, doing something that I loved.
I wanted to be around Tommy as much as I could!
“It started because I made a few children’s Items for a friends little girls dressing up box.
“The style is based on the children’s clothes my mum always dressed me and my two younger brothers in.
“With the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton creating a demand for traditional British Childrenswear, I couldn’t find any traditional British childrenswear that was affordable for mums like me. I started hand making everything myself in my home studio. But the demand became so big! Sarah at the Baby boutique in St Georges Shopping Centre has always had faith in me.
“She was the first shop who took my handmade clothing.
“It is really important to me that we keep quality British manufacturing going, that is why everything needed to make our clothes is bought from UK suppliers and handmade by a specialist team of seamstresses in Cheshire.
“I’m so proud of what we’ve created.”
“Hopefully one day Tilly Ann will be successful and create jobs in the studio for local people.
“It is really tough finding your way in the design world without having to be based in Manchester or London, so hopefully Tilly Ann will show design students like me that it is possible.”
Catherine’s new Autumn/Winter collection celebrates British heritage and featuring tweeds, tartans and lace and is very excited for the future of the brand.
“The volume of orders received now has allowed me to progress the business and the garments produced so far have been outstanding quality.
“I am going back to doing what I loved the most and designing.
“All fabrics are still independently sourced from quality suppliers and my new designs are being added daily to the website.
Follow Catherine’s range on Instagram and Facebook @tillyannkids with the range available at www.Tillyannkids.co.uk and local stockists which you can find on the website.