There is a growing interest in handmade clothing
Next issue: ghost tour guide Richard Falconer.
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.