London Craft Week

London Craft Week returned for its third year with an impressive programme of over 200 events across London, celebrating exceptional creativity and craftsmanship from around the world. Here’s an update on what George Smith got up to. 

On the Sofa with Jeremy Langmead

This year for London Craft Week Jeremy Langmead, of The Times’ LUXX magazine and Mr Porter, hosted a dynamic discussion behind creating handmade sofas and custom designed fabrics at the London EDITION hotel. We were joined by textile makers Insley & Nash and Wallpaper editor Nick Vinson to delve into details behind commissioning Jeremy’s bespoke piece of furniture and discuss upcoming design trends. Read more here in the May issue of LUXX.

Creating Bespoke Fabric

For Insley & Nash, creating a bespoke fabric starts with meeting the client to discuss their desired style, colour and mood. This is the most important step in the process, as it dictates the design direction. For this piece, the brief was to deliver something that was ‘Classically Modern’. The iconic George Smith Conversation Piece is usually deep buttoned and ruched, however, in this instance, it was created as an unbuttoned piece to become more modern. Jeremy provided imagery of the style and colour he was looking for and Insely & Nash then created a design and rough layouts on his chosen piece of furniture including adding his initials on one of the seats.


The fabric chosen by Jeremy is a cream 100% cotton velvet. The Conversation Piece is an unusual shape, so the pattern was specifically engineered to be completely unique to that piece. This was achieved by structuring the design to fit the pattern of the conversation piece using classic design elements. It consists of 3 colours and was hand screen printed in Insley & Nash’s London studio.


Made entirely at the George Smith factory in the North of England this bespoke Conversation Piece frame was made from Tulipwood, which is particularly well suited for making curvaceous furniture. The frame was hand jointed and dowelled for strength, fitted with hand-turned ash legs and finished in a dark oak stain. Heavy steel coiled springs were then tied into wide bands of interwoven jute webbing for balanced weight distribution and optimum comfort. Once the springs were tied down, the seat platform was covered in hessian and stitched down to create a foundation for the padding and shaping using boar bristle and cotton stuffing.

When the shaping and padding were finished, the piece was draped in a final base layer of muslin and the furniture was then upholstered in the bespoke fabric, cut to the correct pattern and hand stitched into position. This piece required intricate pattern matching as part of the bespoke textile design. The fabric was pulled to a high tension and tacked down to create a smooth base to last for years to come.

London Craft Week was a huge success and we hope those who came along to the talk and upholstery demonstration enjoyed it!