Friday, April 25, 2008

Clothkits and nostalgia

It is my daughter's birthday in a couple of months, and my quest for original gifts has begun. She is so shy about presents - quite embarrassed by fuss and expense. But at the same time I know she loves having pretty wrappings to undo on the day and then having new things to wear / read / look at / create!
I was thinking of buying her a book on how to make amigumuri - either sewing or crochet. She will be 12 and I know I was stitch-obsessed at her age. Any recommendations? But I do have to remember that she is NOT me, and that she might not be ready for this.
So then I thought some kind of kit might be the catalyst to get her sewing. So imagine my delight at discovering that Clothkits is back! I read about it at Six-and-a-Half-Stitches. I have ordered a Cloth Kitty doll kit for her. It is a lot like the dolls Emily makes over at the Black Apple, and I have opted for the black-haired version so that my daughter can "emo her up"! It will be such fun helping her design and make clothes for Goth Cloth Kitty! Watch out for pictures in June!

I did a search around the blogs for other Clothkits fans, and read an interesting piece about a girl who grew up in Shetland in the seventies, whose mother made her an elaborate ruffled Clothkits dress in the same shade of ginger as her hair - poor kid! And then I remembered wanting a dress like that. But it would have been way too expensive for my mother, who certainly made me clothes, but generally in cheap hard-wearing crimpelene. Remember crimpelene?! (Shudder!) Clothkits was not a cheap option. Clothkits was all about ready-to-sew dresses for cash-rich time-poor middle-class mums. Teachers' daughters wore Clothkits dresses, I remember! I can almost smell the incense as I recall the hippy floral / ethnic cotton prints in a rich jewel palette - very much like Oilily. I spent hours in my room flicking through the catalogues - as aspirational a look in the seventies as the "Boden look" is today. No doubt the Sunday supplements will soon be writing articles about the relaunch along these lines.

So having said all that, I took one look at the adult skirt kits and was smitten. I am perfectly capable of cutting an a-line skirt out of cord and lining it with Liberty cotton. But it's the nostalgic bird print that captivated me! I couldn't have it in the seventies, but I am most certainly having it now. ("Cash-rich and time poor" did I say?! Ha - that will teach me to make sweeping generalisations about class won't it, Jane?)

The instructions are very detailed, but I think suggesting it will take "an evening" to complete is a bit optimistic. I had to laugh at the comment that you can "tailor it to fit", without any directions on how this can be achieved - presumably do NOTHING until you take very careful measurements of yourself and the pre-printed fabric pieces, and then take bigger/smaller seam allowances? But they don't say this. How many people will take scissors to fabric too quickly? My fear is of a too-tight waist. I normally take a size 10 and this is intended to fit sizes 8 to 16... but I am not sure. Proceeding with caution...

They are running a design competition too... tempting!


Teaandcakes said...

Haha! I used to have lovely clothkits dresses. Guess what my mum does? Although, she did used to make us lovely stuff from scratch too.

Midsummer night's knitter said...

Oh.My.Giddy.Aunt. You BAD enabler you ;0)

Helen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryony Ramsden said...

I'm so jealous! I've been lusting after both the adult skirts on that site since I re-found them :D

Anychance you can send me the measurements for the size 16? I really want to buy one of the kits, but suspect the 16 will be too small :(

Anonymous said...

I remember Cloth Kits very well - I am delighted to see their return!

Your lovely daughter might enjoy something from Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs for her birthday:-

Shipping can take a few weeks, but they are very reliable (all the oils are blended to order). Their poetry and descriptions are truly intriguing, and there is so much to chose from......!

Best Wishes,