So in the last few weeks here I've been mentioning some creative work I've been doing but I didn't want to jinx it by giving out too many details. D's rule of thumb is that for every three creative partnerships/enterprises you set out on, only one comes through and I think that's about right. And I really didn't want this one to be in the other two category.
But I think we're far enough down the road now that we're all committed and so knuckle in mouth it is time to share.
If you've read my blog for a while and paid attentions to the things I sew and buy, you'll know I've been a fan of Ink and Spindle since before they were Ink and Spindle. I bought hand printed fabric from Lara back when she was doing tiny occasional print runs and I'd wait with baited breath when a new batch appeared so I could grab some before it was all snapped up overnight. Looking over my sewing archives there is ample evidence)
When Bianca came on the scene I bought a piece of what I am pretty sure was her first ever print run. As a long time fabric buyer, collector and user the advent of the new textile mafia was exciting - this was the beginning of an era and I knew it. I've used a lot of the fabric pieces I bought from this time, but some I still have and treasure.
Locally produced hand printed fabric just seemed like a dream come true. Not only because they were nice fabrics, with interesting and unusual designs, and made locally but because in buying them I was supporting people who were like me - people doing what they loved and sharing it with others.
And when Ink and Spindle was born and environmentally sustainable business practice was thrown in the mix and I actually got a chance to meet Tegan, Bianca and Lara my admiration grew to pop star status. I like their products, I like their business.
So when a bit of playful banter developed into a full blown proposal to do some creative work with them I jumped at the chance. I was happy to risk the infecting of my hobby with the work virus for a chance to take my designs, combine them with their fabrics and make accessible contained sewing projects for beginners. With the Melbourne Design Market on December 6 as the launch date I set to work sewing and testing and sewing some more to refine and simplify four projects just perfect for summer and Christmas. No fuss, no fear, all fun.
We haven't finished all the detail work for the packaging and so on, but we're all really happy with the way the fabrics and designs work together and I'm so excited about the whole thing I am fit to burst. I love how the finished pieces look and feel and when my kids tried on the clothes for photo shoots I had to engage in some fairly disgraceful bribery to get them to take them off. Except when I got Wil into the size 2 skirt - clearly a man's man already since he immediately felt his dignity compromised and shouted off! off! Not even time for a photo for the vault...
So the patterns start with the sling bag (above), modelled on the beach bag I devised for myself a few months ago. This is simple to construct, but just different enough from the standard tote to be a real accessory. I love its simple lines and symmetry and get a lot of use out of mine.
I've added a pocket here but that's completely optional.
The shoulder bag is the second pattern and it's a refined version of the olive bag I made for myself. It is the bag I use everyday and I love it to death. It's also easy to make with a minimum of details and fiddly bits.
An itty bit of extra patience is required to fit the base into the sides, but it isn't anything a beginner couldn't do with a bit of time. It has a fully adjustable strap so it can go from messenger style to handbag height in a snap.
The last two patterns are my essential kids wear - the long shorts and the just above the knee length slightly A-line skirt. The shorts come in a multi size pattern for 6 months to 3 years and the skirt from 2 to 6 years. The sizing is very generous - Amy is comfortably wearing the size 6 skirt and she's 7 and a quarter and while Wil is almost 3, he'll be wearing his size 3 long shorts for years yet I am sure. At the moment they are super dude big, which is the look I really wanted, but they will look great at a more fitted size too.
The skirt has a flat front which is a bit more sophisticated than an elastic waist, but it has elastic at the back so it is comfy and easy to get on and off. And of course making either of these shorter or longer is a breeze.
Both these patterns are super super easy. You can embellish them to your heart's content if you want something more complicated or want to use a plain base cloth like I have above, but you can also keep it simple if that's where you are at too. With beautiful designs in Ink and Spindle fabrics, it's not like you really need to add anything to make a great garment. My kids like pockets for keeping toys in, so I tend to add those and there are instructions in the patterns for doing it, but you can skip them if you want to.
Depending on how things go I guess they will be available through the Ink and Spindle shop too, and I know they will be at Stitches and Craft next year. And who knows if they prove popular, maybe we'll expand the range? I'll keep you up to date when I know more!
Anyway, it's such a relief to be able to tell you all! I'm so crappy with secrets and nerves, and the whole project has completely absorbed me in the last few weeks, in the best possible way. I've been sleeping and dreaming about these pieces! I hope people like them, but even more I hope people who may perhaps have felt a bit scared to have a go will feel like maybe this will give them the courage to do so.