Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Soft toys

I think I can truly say that my creative life has come full circle.  I'm back to where I was at six years old!

I had a wonderfully caring, loving gran who just happened to be a very talented seamstress.  One of her proudest achievements was having made a dress that was worn on 'Come Dancing' on the telly!  (My grandad had helped by stitching on hundreds of sequins - about as far removed from his RAF wartime experience as you could get!).

In her sewing room there was a huge cardboard box into which she threw scraps of material.  With Gran's help I used some of these to make clothes for my teddies (most of which had been made by her) and various other bits and pieces from a very early age.

I have very few photos of my gran, Jennie Clark, but here's a rare one of us together.  Shame we're not sewing!

Gran was very involved with the Derby League of Friends and she made lots of soft toys which were sold to raise funds for the local hospital.  I can clearly remember stuffing teddies' arms and legs before she stitched them into place - we had a bit of a production line going on!

When I was in my teens, and sadly Gran was no longer with us, I discovered a shop in Sutton Coldfield that sold fur fabric and their own, hand-drawn patterns for making soft toys.  I think I must have been one of their best customers because I made LOADS!  I recently came across these old patterns again and started making animals once more.

Rather than use fur fabric, I'm giving my animals a more contemporary look with patterned cotton.  It's interesting how much tweaking the patterns need to make this work - fur fabric is much easier to work with as stitches can be hidden much more easily!

It's funny how life can plod along for years and years and you try different things, before going right back to where you started!


  1. What a beautiful story you have woven Kate about the happy and creative times with your gran.
    Love your contemporary twist on your teenage talents! Its great to revisit familiar patterns - reuse, recycle, revisit!
    Looking forward to hearing about more of your creations!
    Ali x

  2. Good to see you back blogging Kate, and in such wonderful company too! I think I prefer non furry elephants and hippos :)
    Sometimes its good to go back to the beginning and something that gave you so much joy. Helps recharge the batteries as well as bring back happy memories.
    L x


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