There is a grow­ing in­ter­est in hand­made cloth­ing

Next is­sue: ghost tour guide Richard Falconer.

The People's Friend Special - - REAL LIFE -

Fash­ion de­signer Ruth Mad­dock has a pas­sion for mak­ing things.

re­cently de­cided to re­turn to my first love, sewing. I re­turned to art col­lege to study for an MA in Con­tem­po­rary Craft with the in­ten­tion of cre­at­ing a col­lec­tion of chil­dren’s clothes.

I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in health is­sues (since my days of want­ing to be a doc­tor!), so I com­bined this in­ter­est with the chil­dren’s clothes by writ­ing my the­sis on the cloth­ing needs of chil­dren with sen­sory pro­cess­ing dis­or­der.

This dis­or­der causes chil­dren to have strug­gles with com­mer­cial cloth­ing, of­ten be­cause they find gar­ments to be too scratchy, or they have ir­ri­tat­ing seams and la­bels, are too tight or too loose.

This can af­fect their abil­ity to learn and cope in so­cial sit­u­a­tions. All the clothes in my col­lec­tions are made with ex­ter­nal seams and soft fab­rics. Most of them can also be worn ei­ther way round.

My typ­i­cal work­ing day is struc­tured around the dogs. Just over a year ago our won­der­ful golden doo­dle Betty had a lit­ter of seven pups. We de­cided to keep one – so we now have Betty and her son, Frank.

My day starts with about 45 min­utes spent walk­ing them through the lovely Here­ford­shire coun­try­side.

Then we pop in the car and drive to my stu­dio in Brom­yard. The dogs set­tle d down and I get on with my w work, start­ing with catch­ing up on e-mails and ad­min. I t then get on with de­signs, mak­ing pat­terns or mak­ing up gar­ments.

Lunchtime sees me and t the dogs walk­ing to the park to stretch our legs a and then it’s back to work.

My de­sign process starts with the cre­ation of gar­ment shapes. I then make up trial gar­ments a and try these on a se­lec­tion o of chil­dren to test for fit, styling and com­fort.

Once I have fi­nalised my pat­terns and shapes, I cre­ate the tex­tile de­signs to go with the gar­ment shapes. I then make up fi­nal sam­ples us­ing my own de­signed fab­ric. This is all com­pleted with a photo shoot. I usu­ally work through to about 4 p.m.

When we get home I usu­ally watch an hour of tele­vi­sion be­fore mak­ing din­ner. In the evening I get on with some hand sewing or knit­ting. I very rarely switch off – al­though knit­ting and watch­ing movies helps!

The sewing pat­terns I cre­ate are pop­u­lar be­cause there is a grow­ing in­ter­est in hand­made cloth­ing and in­creas­ingly peo­ple are want­ing to make their own clothes.

If I were to give ad­vice to any­one think­ing about go­ing down the same route as my­self, I would say to learn your craft well so that you can of­fer qual­ity prod­ucts.

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