There is something about Hillieballoo, a charming little Folksy shop that sells gorgeous items; kids clothes, pillows, custom made drawstring bags and one of my most favourite things ever: personalised items. I dream about creating in the same way that Hillieballoo does but I know I don’t have the time or energy required – and I think I have about 20 other projects on the back burner, anyway.
So, I’ll stick to buying from people like Hillieballoo (or at least dreaming about buying from) and leave the crafty stuff up to them. But while we’re on the note of kids clothes I just want to say something: I LOVE handmade kids clothes. Of course not just any old handmade and I wouldn’t purchase something that had been poorly made just for the sake of buying handmade.
When I was younger I used to adore going to Remnant Kings in Edinburgh with my Mum so we could pick out fabric for T-shirts, shorts, dresses, trousers; cropped and long leg and she’d sometimes rustle up a hair bobble with the leftover fabric from her creations. I loved picking out my favourite patterns. I loved flicking through the massive knitting pattern books; my little hands searching for the baby knits and cooing at the pudgy baby models dressed in white Arran. I loved the overpowering smell of wool and ladies perfume in the place.
The shop always seemed like a wizard’s lair; it had a magical ambience about it. The women who worked behind the tills were always so polite and helpful (if memory serves me well!). The shop was always bustling with customers; mostly women, who would come in looking for that perfect pattern/fabric/something to top off their own creations.
I loved being amongst it all, being a young observer and thinking to myself ‘one day I’ll be on the look out for my own material for curtains, for clothes.’ But that never seemed to happen.
My Mum had a skill for making T-shirts in particular. She always said that things were easy to make and when I tried my hand at making dolls clothes I didn’t find it easy in the least. That’s why I am a buyer and she is a maker.
My Mum also knits amazing things for her grandchildren. One of the blankets she made for my son when he was newborn led to my husband asking the question; “Where did we get this?” when I responded with the fact my Mum had made it he looked really taken aback. “Oh,” he said. “I thought we got it in a shop or something.”
I know us Westerners have fallen prey to the throwaway fashion trend; buy something, wear it for three months (or less) and then throw it out, replace wardrobe again. I simply don’t understand this way of thinking. For a start, doesn’t it cost people a small fortune? Throwaway fashion wasn’t an option 15 years ago. It was Borrow It, Hand Me Downs, Spend A Small Fortune On It or Make It. We went through variations on all of those themes but mostly it was Make It for my Mum. And I loved this. I love it now that she can create things for my son and I can ‘oooh and ahhh’ at those creations.
Much like I ‘oooh’ and ‘ahh’ at any creation I catch on Folksy, Etsy or crafter blogs. I admire the items, but I don’t think I can reach those heights. A perfect example of my oooh and ahhing is the above image of the Blue Strawberry Dress from Daisy Chains And Grass Stains.
Or this 1950s style dress Daisy Chains And Grass Stains. Perfect.
So, what are you? A buyer, like me, who can’t create clothes as easy as ABC or a maker, who can create everything in a blink of the eye?