Make-your-own is in, re-cycling is all the rage (using this word, I am so not!); whilst I think it is fair to say the recession has played a part in this, I kind of this it’s part is mainly acting as an excuse.
People like to make things, be it baking, painting, sewing, whatever, the satisfaction and pride someone gets from a finished product that they have lovingly spent time and effort stressing over, unpicking and starting-over a few times, is second only to that of the reaction the receiver [of said craft] gives in return. Crafting is cool, that’s it, and people like me and fellow crafters are proud to admit it. Others who perhaps think it is not so cool, but secretly enjoy it, blame the recession.
In terms of fashion, I also think individuality plays a part. Think back to the 70s – a time of creativity in terms of music and clothes (think platforms, flares and bright colours), which is probably why Clothkits was such a hit – combining homemade children’s clothes with bright colours and funky (if not slightly crazy) patterns!
Originally founded in 1968, Clothkits, a company selling kits to make children’s clothes, became a huge success in the 1970s and 1980s. When recently mentioned to my mum the response was ‘are they still going?’. Whilst I was too young myself, in the early 1980s, to really remember wearing Clothkits clothes, or what outfits I had, I definitely remember it being a household name.
On a recent outing to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, myself and my friend and sewing pal, Sam, whilst in crafting heaven, stumbled upon the Clothkits stand, blinded by it’s bright yellow and orange lion-printed dungarees on display. With our families being friends for ever, living a street apart, playing and going to school together when we were young, Sam and I, instantly recognised the familiar branding that dominated ours, and our siblings, wardrobes for that period of trend in our young lives. Whilst Sam’s mum is a home economics teacher and very skilled on the sewing machine, I’m pretty me and sis were at a slight disadvantage on the street cred scale…especially going on a jumper my mum once knit on the knitting machine in which I couldn’t even lift my arms up in (I still loved it though mum, honest, it was toasty warm!).
Whilst still being very much Clothkits style, relaunched in 2008, it has however been brought up to date, even featuring prints from the very cool designs of Rob Ryan! How could I resist! Well, I did actually resist the aforemetioned dungarees (even these I think are a still a little too crazy) but I did get some super cute little dress patterns for our nieces: Charlotte (soon to be 3) and Emma (9 months).
As soon as I got home, I couldn’t wait to give them a go. Whilst I am not the best as making clothes (yet!) I was so impressed with how simple these were and easy the instructions were to follow. The kits came with fabric, with the pattern printed on, lining fabric, matching threat and buttons – everything to make the complete dress.
A few hours later and my first dress, the little red pinafore for Emma, was finished…
Then on to Charlotte’s shift…
All ready to wrap for Christmas!
I’m really pleased with the results, and really enjoyed making them. I definitely recommend Clothkits, I know I will certainly be buying the kits again, especially for when I have children; maybe they will look back in years to come when the home-made movement goes another full circle, laugh at the fashions, but be pretty chuffed that someone made them something with love.