So if someone had told me five years ago that I would be making clothes by now, I would say shut the front door and yet even now I still can’t believe it. My mum years ago was a dressmaker, she and a friend started up a company called Triqui Sports (Triqui was their names merged together, we’re very clever in our family like that!), Tricqui Sports specialised in the velour jumpsuit, remember them? These were extremely popular back then (early to mid nineties) bringing lots of women with their husbands and their wallets to my house as a teenager. Here I would hear approving sounds like “that colour is gorgeous” or “it feels like I’m wearing luxury”, I used to think my mum was mad:
- letting all these people into her home telling her how to create clothes, I mean she was the dress maker and knew what she was doing.
- not having time to spend cooking my dinner, washing my clothes and doing what mums should do and be a housewife (actually yes, she still had time to do all this, I was just a selfish child)
- and how dare these women take over the room where I can listen to the radio as loud as I want, do my homework and not move far to go to the loo (we had a downstairs toilet!)
I was a spoilt child, ok ok, I can imagine my mum reading this….I was extremely spoilt with love, holidays abroad (Tunisia and Tenerife as well as others) piano, ballet and tap lessons, trips to Petticoat Lane where I would help make important decisions like what fabric was in season and I had clothes made to order! Ok so a white sweatshirt with Bart Simpson on the front was the one and only thing that I asked for but hey he was a cool dude back then, clearly my mum had better taste than me (I said it before you did).
As time went on, I’ve always been a lover of fashion but more in the shopping sense. I would picture something in my head that I like and go and find it, but not always. Most of my Saturdays spent in town would be frustrating, not only for me (I could never find that skirt quite long enough or that top low cut enough) but also my friends. Clearly I had patient friends, they had the patience of a saint but I would normally blackmail with the idea of a pint and a burger…..it was always a winner.
Then along came online shopping, and even better eBay! Which started this all adjusting, I would see something I like but when it would arrive it was never exactly how I imagined and I became more and more fussy. To the point where I would hang the said item of clothing in my bedroom till I realised what I wanted adjusting that would make it to my satisfaction. I started to look in shops in my lunch hour in town seeing something I like and writing it down (this was before smart phones obviously) and then trying to look out for a cheaper version or something I could adjust.
Then a few years ago a friend of mine upgraded her sewing machine and she offered me her old one, there was nothing wrong with it but I kept it in the cupboard for a while not knowing where to start. It wasn’t till one day I was on eBay (back then it was practically every day) I saw a gorgeous pair of trousers, but when they turned up they needed turning up. I would normally hand stitch but this time I felt the urge to get that sewing machine out that I would regularly cover up with my coats and scarves in the cupboard under the stairs. It took me forever to get it all set up as I’d not done it since I was younger, the old lessons that my mum had given me had come back to me like riding a bike and before I knew it not only was I taking them up but I was pressing and folding up the flare (hey hey hey they were fashionable back then!).
I went out that night wearing those trousers and had so many comments from girls asking me where I’d got them, saying that they were a flattering fit and just the right length. I stupidly never told them I did the bottom myself I just said “eBay £3” but I should have added “plus four hours labour”. I did the odd bit of sewing since then, just when I felt like it and when I had time (time was precious back then and I had a social life to upkeep!)
Recently I seem to have picked up the bug, back into it with a new machine (I upgraded in the summer). I enjoy it now, I love nothing more than spending a day on the machine, sometimes I adjust clothes (I’m short and I’m forever taking things up!) or crafty things like bean bags or tote bags. Then the making the clothes started, another take to my arty side!