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Textile Artist Emily Daws Launches New Fabric Collection and Shares How-to Pillow Project

Charleston, South Carolina–based textile designer Emily Daws, founder of Emily Daws Textiles, once made her own quilts for her childhood bedroom. “Growing up, my mom gave me the freedom to decorate my bedroom and I loved making quilts for my bedding,” says the Warrenton, Virginia native. “Choosing the fabrics and designing the pattern allowed me to create something one-of-a-kind. The seemingly endless options to make a piece that no one else had was exciting to me and very personal.”

Emily Daws pillow
Emily Daws pillow in “Wadmalaw” fabric
Pillows by Emily Daws Textiles
Pillows by Emily Daws Textiles

Daws, who studied interior design at West Virginia University before switching her major to Textiles and Apparel, spent the summer in Milan at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) where she completed an immersive design course and landed at the top of her class. After, she worked for different clothing lines from jeans to swimwear doing everything from creating production samples, working on runway collections, and fulfilling custom orders. In 2010, Daws debuted a ready -to-wear dress collection and was invited to show her collection at Charleston Fashion Week. From there, she landed her designs in several high-end boutiques downtown and transitioned from ready-to-wear to custom bridal, focusing on bespoke bridesmaid dresses. “My focus naturally switched from designing dresses to creating a textile collection for interiors after purchasing our first home in 2018,” says Daws. “After taking on the personal challenge of making my wedding dress, I decided to hang up my hat in the fashion world and pursue my passion for interior design through textiles. Pattern and color can transform a space and I love making a house feel more like home by incorporating textiles.”

Textile artist Emily Daws
Emily Daws in her Charleston studio

The coastal and organic patterns for her hand-drawn and made-to-order wallpapers, fabrics, throw pillows, shower curtains, and custom drapery range in serene colorways from neutrals and greens to classic blacks and soft pinks. “I’m inspired by miles of coastline, winding waterways and ancient oaks, and Charleston and its surrounding sea islands,” says Daws, who resides on Johns Island. “The Palmetto [a hand-illustrated palm frond] was one of my very first designs and offers a bold statement with its minimalistic approach to the popular pattern trend. The Palmetto lends itself to many applications and has been a best seller for wallpaper, pillows, and shower curtains.”

Emily Daws "Edisto" wallpaper
Emily Daws “Edisto” wallpaper depicts hand-drawn silhouettes of shells.

Her newest collection, “Spring in the South,” is all about color. “With this line, I have introduced a handful of fresh colorways, incorporating rich jewel tones and warm earthy palettes to my best-selling designs,” explains Daws of styles such as Sandbar, Jekyll, Kiawah, and Edisto. “All around me, the southeast is in full bloom and I hope my new collection reflects this joy and sense of renewal. This year I am super excited to be working on a capsule collection of woven fabrics. These new woven options will make excellent upholstery fabrics, paring nicely with my tried and true Belgian linen offerings.”

Emily Daws new Spring in the South collection
Emily Daws new Spring in the South collection
New colorways in the "Jekyll" pattern
New colorways in the “Jekyll” pattern
Emily Daws new Sweetgrass colorways
Emily Daws new Sweetgrass colorways as part of her Spring in the South collection

Learn from a Pro: Make Your Own Pillow Cover With Emily Daws

Emily Daws shows us how to make a pillow cover (in this case, a 16-inch-by-20-inch lumbar with hidden zipper) using “Gardenia” fabric from her new collection. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial including everything you’ll need to make your own with the fabric of your choice:

  • 1/2 yard of 45-54-inch wide fabric
  • coordinating thread
  • scissors
  • seam ripper
  • rotary cutter, cutting mat (optional)
  • quilters ruler
  • fabric marker
  • straight pins
  • 16-inch non-locking zipper
  • sewing machine
  • iron
  • 18-by-22-inch feather down insert
essentials needed for your pillow
All of the essentials needed for your pillow
Pillow Step One
Step 1:

Mark and cut fabric into (2) 17-by-21-inch rectangular pieces.

Step 2
Step 2:

With right sides together, sew the cover together along the bottom using 5/8″ seam allowance.

Step 3
Step 3:

Open this seam and place zipper face down. Pin in place and sew to cover.

Step 4
Step 4:

Use your seam ripper to open the seam, exposing the zipper.

Step 5
Step 5:

With right sides together, pin and sew the cover together along perimeter using 1/2″ seam allowance.

Step 6
Step 6:

Turn pillow right side out. Trim loose threads and press with iron.

Step 7
Step 7:

Stuff with insert. (For a plump pillow, we like to use an insert 2 inches larger.)

Finished lumbar pillow

Finished lumbar pillow.

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