Embroiderer David Morrish hit our screens last month in the new BBC One TV series, Make It at Market

David, who has been producing bespoke embroidered garments and artwork for some years through his Kingfly brand, as well as producing articles for Images [see his step-by-step pieces in the November and December 2022 issues], featured in episode 11 of the show.

Make It at Market is presented by The Repair Shop’s Dom Chinea and helps craftspeople to turn their passions into a profitable business.

He was given a mentor, textile designer Piyush Suri, the creative director and founder of Handmade in Britain, who helped David explore ideas for making money out of his labour-intensive work while undertaking three challenges: to make a volume piece, a high-end garment and his “favourite” piece.

The fabulous hoodie shown here was created for the high-volume piece – a product that could be made in four hours, excluding the digitising.

“’Big Flex’ is inspired by tattoo, graffiti and street art,” explains David.

The design used 11 colours and contains 71,000 stitches

The design used 11 colours and contains 71,000 stitches

“I chose a hoodie and a skull as I wanted to see if I could take an obvious piece of clothing and common tattoo subject matter and give a recognisable Kingfly appearance. The term ‘Big Flex’ means to be proud of something you have achieved, no matter how big or small – it was a term my son used when he won a battle on his computer game: he turned and said ‘Daddy, Big Flex!’ I just loved it so much I had to use it.”

As a result of what he calls “the premium hoodie selection” (after testing, David settled on the unisex Stanley/Stella Cruiser), and also taking into account postage and packaging, the £150 price David estimated on the show increased to £250.

“Initially, I never planned to produce these hoodies, however I got many requests from followers on social media who asked where they could get one that this prompted me to look at producing a limited amount,” he explains. The top is available to buy until 14 February.

The design used 11 colours and contains 71,000 stitches. It was digitised using Wilcom e4.5 software and featured “a feast of texture fills” as well as stitch effects to give a contoured 3D feel. 

It took three and three-quarter hours to embroider, using Gunold and Madeira threads, and measures 28.5cm by 14.5cm.

David Morrish wearing the Big Flex hoodie, which he created for the TV show Make It at Market

David wearing the Big Flex hoodie, which he created for the TV show Make It at Market

Since filming at the National Trust’s Arts & Craft property Stoneywell in Leicestershire last summer, David has received more commissions, including one from musician Sophie Ellis-Bextor, and has been mainly focusing on bespoke upcycling of worn garments such as jackets.

David said: “This opportunity’s helped me get over an obstacle which was really my self-doubt. Now I’m at a point where I know where I’m going to go business-wise. I know what I want to achieve. I can see a pathway forward and I’ve got that confidence to take those next steps.”

Make It at Market is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.