This Easter has been the Easter of the sock (and I'm still knitting). But most every Easter I make something. I connect chocolate, roast lamb and shops being closed for the weekend with new projects. Creme Egg in one hand, crochet hook in the other. When I was a teenager, my Easter projects very nearly always involved something to wear. This was the time to open up the season's first Clothkits parcel. Clothkits?
We discovered them at Easter, too. I came back from an exchange trip to France and my sister had the catalogue waiting for me.
Back in the 80's, and before, Clothkits produced...kits: pattern pieces screen printed onto fabric to be cut out and stitched together into coordinating outfits. Instructions, buttons, zips, even a label: everything came neatly packaged up, ready to sew. Clothkits was our secret weapon. We didn't have much to spend on clothes, but because we had to put in a bit of creative effort this way, these kits were a parent-approved purchase. We were always allowed to choose an outfit or two from the catalogue which arrived like Clothkjits clockwork twice a year, August and February. Those catalogues were works of art - with foldout flaps front and back, so you could compare colour swatches and decide which of the variously themed collections to choose. I wish we had kept ours. They're collectables now, selling on ebay for serious money. For a catalogue!
I was about sixteen when I made the quilted jacket you can see on my layout (modelled here by my own sixteen year old). I had lots of other pieces - red cord dungarees, skirts, a gypsy petticoat - but the jacket survived because of its story. Of course. When I was nineteen, I put it on for a first trip to meet my new boyfriend's family. The girls all said "hello". They looked at each other. They looked at me. "Clothkits!" they chorused. And so that was alright. I would do.
After that I had to keep it. And when that boyfriend asked me was there anywhere I wanted to go for my honeymoon - anywhere in England, which was as far as we could afford - I chose Bath. Partly because I knew it had a Clothkits shop. Was there one in Cambridge too? Am I remembering that right? I'm hoping I'm not the only one out there who waited for those catalogues and loved to rip open those packets.
When Clothkits closed I stopped sewing my own clothes. Several years ago, though, I discovered the name had been relaunched and there were kits to be bought once again. On my list, oh yes they are: how long can I hold out? At least until after the next pair of socks. That's all I'm saying.
Any other fans out there? Please say yes!So now it looks like this:
1. I've been meaning to make a "Clothkits" page for ages, so as soon as I saw this Pinkfresh paper, with its prints like the ones on the clothes I used to make, I knew I had a starting point. I had my doubts about the photo, which wasn't what I had wanted, but I decided to go ahead and see what i could make of it.
2. Oh, but choices! was that paper too busy? Would I be able to fit in the story? Was I just using it because I loved it and not because it was going to work? I pulled out some other choices..maybe white with the Pinkfresh stickers instead, just using the original as inspiration?
3. No: I'm going to stick with the original. Until I cut off that bottome strip I can never decide how it's going to look. Next..working with the photo I chose extras to enhance it instead of trying to ignore it. So, we have more woodgrain, which I found on my desk, with some "graffiti" stamps from Gossamer Blue
4. Nearly finished and just thinking about the journaling when I had a revelation! How about the best of both worlds! If I turned it into a double pager I could fit in all of the story AND have a chance to use the extra patterned paper and stickers. That's what I did:
I have a feeling there'll be at least one more page, though. I still haven't told the story of how that Clothkits gypsy petticoat saved my life..