Customer Spotlight: It’s All About Custom with Patricia Marquis

Beth Rice 17/10/2019

Five-star ratings. Exquisite fabrics. Quality soft furnishings.

It’s no secret we have a big thing for quality craftsmanship and taking time to make a long-lasting product. 

So does Patricia Marquis.

Patricia Marquis of Southern Shades
Patricia Marquis, creator of Southern Shades.

If you haven’t visited Southern Shades on Etsy, we recommend you take a look.

Southern Shades is home to handcrafted pillows, window treatments, and assorted soft furnishings. Started in 2013, this company and its beautiful products are featured on Etsy.

Custom pillow from Southern Shades
Schumacher Miles Redd Peacock Pillow Cover with Self Cording from Southern Shades.

Our paths crossed with the owner and founder of Southern Shades, Patricia Marquis, when she purchased a new bed from DutchCrafters, shared some photos of it with us, and mentioned her company that designs and makes soft furnishings……by hand…..with customer involvement to help create exactly what they’re looking for.

Velvet pillow from Southern Shades
Manuel Canovas velvet pillow from Southern Shades.

Patricia will only produce a quality product, and her work is so in keeping with DutchCrafters practice of authentic quality craftsmanship that we were intrigued.

We had to know more and pursued Patricia to share what she does and tell us about her work with fine soft furnishings.

Linen pillow from Southern Shades
Linen box pillow from Southern Shades.

DC:  Tell us about Southern Shades? How did you get started making handcrafted pillows and window treatments?

PM:  I was a corporate legal assistant for 23 years before starting Southern Shades Home in 2013. I have always sewn for people–my mom said I would sit for hours sewing paper towels together when I was 5. I made all my clothes growing up, cheerleading uniforms for my squads, dance dresses and then as I got older, I began sewing professionally at night and on the weekends. I designed and made cheerleading uniforms, did women’s tailored suits, weddings and home decor–mostly pillows and drapery. 

Soft furnishings from Southern Shades
Gazelle velvet pillow from Southern Shades.

I moved to Maine in 2007. Having lived in the same city my whole life, it was so enlightening to change things up. Maine is full of creative people and artists, and I found myself wanting to be more creative. After four years, I moved back to Tennessee and to the same law firm but in a different field of law and I was so bored. I was compelled out of boredom and creative compulsion to open an Etsy store in 2013 and thought I’d try to sell some pillows. It immediately took off and after six months I was able to quit my legal position and create and sew full-time.

DC:  Can you tell us a little about the fabrics you use?

PM:  We make pillows of all kinds and shapes, window treatments and bedding from showroom fabrics. One of my obsessions growing up was a weird fetish with fine fabric. I used to spend hours in the better fabric stores touching and examining fabrics. I was offered a job right out of high school by a fabric store that I frequented, which I regret not taking, coordinating fabrics for customers. I just know what weights and types of fabrics work well for projects. 

Custom pillow from Southern Shades
Schumacher Lotus Garden Pillow from Southern Shades.

When I started my store, I had no experience at all with showroom fabrics or the designers—It is a whole other world. There are literally thousands of beautiful fabrics, and there are thousands of people who collect high-end textile products.

When I began, I used inexpensive fabrics for my pillows, but they were tailored and made well. 

DC:  What do you draw inspiration from?

PM:  Details have always been important to me—cordings, trims, top-stitching, hidden zippers, matched patterns around the products. I’m drawn to more traditional, happy patterns. I love working with good linen. 

For textile choices, I pay close attention to trends on Instagram and Pinterest and watch for the new collections from top designers to hit the market. I choose what I like–I never look at other people’s products. 

DC:  What makes your custom pillows stand out?

PM:  I would say the reason my store has been successful is because it is so difficult to find good quality products these days–things are half made and no one seems to care about doing a job right.  The second most important is that we offer the customer the opportunity to be creative at no extra charge. They can deal directly with me during the process. People send me photos of their rooms from all over the world, and I help them choose textiles for their rooms. We ship to people all over the world.

DC: You recently purchased a new bed from DutchCrafters. Tell us about your vision for your bedroom.

Amish Shaker Pencil Post Bed
Patricia’s beautiful bedroom featuring her new Amish Shaker Pencil Post Bed and custom pillows and bedding by Southern Shades.

PM: I wanted a soft, feminine bedroom. I literally pulled my books and started with the Summerby Blue by Colefax & Fowler. Then I settled on the duvet fabric, a sturdy light blue stripe by Kravet. The small monogrammed lumbar is white Kravet linen with green embroidery. All of the pillows have a 1/4″ French flange edging. The bedskirt I made from Kate Spades’ new collection. It is called Sneakpeak, it’s an embroidered lace.

Custom pillows and bedding by Southern Shades
Exquisite custom pillows by Patricia Marquis.
Custom pillow by Southern Shades
Custom pillows by Patricia Marquis.

DC:  What made you select this style bed?

PM:  My home is used in a lot of my marketing posts. I have always loved Shaker or Amish furniture, and I wanted a pencil post bed—tall with a natural finish and very clean lines. I couldn’t find one anywhere. I stumbled upon DutchCrafters’ website while searching on the internet for pencil post beds. I loved the look because the style is universal–it can be traditional or rustic contemporary. 

Amish Shaker Pencil Post Bed
“DutchCrafters natural cherry pencil post bed. Most amazing quality! A piece of furniture to pass down for generations.” Patricia Marquis

DC:  Tell us about your experience ordering from DutchCrafters.

PM:  I called and spoke with one of the customer service representatives at DutchCrafters. She was so helpful when I told her I wanted the bed to be natural and matte, not varnished or stained. She suggested a natural cherry, unstained. Of course, it takes a while for the product to arrive but knowing it was being handmade just for me made the wait worth it. 

Custom bedding by Southern Shades
Custom pillows and bedding by Southern Shades.

DC:  What was the delivery experience like?

PM:  I was so excited–I embarrassed myself—when the delivery men brought my bed. It was so perfect and pristine. The finish feels like velvet. I had my brother, who is a master carpenter, come and inspect it, and he was so impressed with the quality. I mean, there is no metal on this bed. It is a solid piece of wood–a true work of art in a day when everywhere you turn there is veneer and resin furniture. I am so impressed! It’s a piece that can be handed down for generations.

Amish Shaker Pencil Post Bed
Patricia’s new bedroom with custom made furniture, pillows and bedding.

Facts about Southern Shades on Etsy:

  • All products are handcrafted with intense attention to detail using the finest home decorating fabrics.
  • They personally cut and sew all of their products.
  • Their products are custom made; they are not mass produced.
  • Contact Southern Shades if you want a fabric not listed; their listings on the site are only a small portion of what they carry.
  • They also make window treatments, roman shades, panels, table runners and placemats.

And one of our favorite facts about them taken right from Southern Shades:

  • YES to custom orders—we love them and there’s no extra charge to using your imagination.

If you’re looking for quality handcrafted pillows, say for your new handcrafted Amish couch or bed, visit Southern Shades today. You can contact Patricia on Etsy to ask questions or to get a custom quote.

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