Today I am honoured to be hosting the first stop in the blog book tour for Wild Things: Funky Little Clothes to Sew. Since Kirsty’s playful designs burst onto Etsy I have been a huge fan of her work.
Wild Things clothing is synonymous with inventiveness and fun-filled design. My children are all smitten, (as you can see from these pictures) and adopt the characters of their clothes in play. An aside – do you remember Besty getting her bunny dress on her second birthday? Check it out below, she’s still wearing it two years on.
If you’re as wild about the Wild Things as I am you’ll be excited to hear that Kirsty’s brand new book is filled with familiar and new designs alike. With projects & patterns suited to beginners and experienced sewers alike you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice when it comes to what to sew first.
To celebrate the launch I’m interviewing Kirsty for the first in a series of blog events (find out where else you can follow the tour at the bottom of this post). The book is out now at all good book stores on and offline – full details at Wild Things Dresses.
Hello Kirsty, I’ve spoken about your business many times in the past, for those not familiar with Wild Things Dresses could you give us some background?
Wild Things is a children’s clothing brand renowned for creating fun, playtime clothes loved by children and parents alike. Ethically produced in the UK, the designs put imagination back into everyday clothing, making dressing time a breeze.
I grew the brand after quitting my full time lecturing post, at Manchester School of Art, to create a better work life balance for myself and my three children.
How has it grown since you put those first designs on Etsy?
As a prolific maker, Etsy was a perfect starting point for me, allowing me to make limited edition styles and grow an international audience, with parents looking for something with a little heart and soul. As the story grew, so did the ability to produce the garments myself, so I worked closely with local sample makers, and now an excellent British maker who runs a small artisan workshop in Scotland producing exclusively for me.
With my passion for making, and the process, this has allowed me to work with contemporary sewing and craft magazines such as Mollie Makes, pioneers of the modern craft aesthetic and lifestyle.
The natural progression was to develop the book, and I have worked with an amazing team to do this.
What role have blogs, Pinterest and social media played for you?
Social media has been hugely important for me. Images of my first character dresses quickly reached far and wide through Pinterest in Autumn 2011,then picked up by press and international trend forecasters such as Stylesight .
Having a close relationship with fellow mums and bloggers has been crucial, creating a more intimate and transparent story about myself and Wild Things.
I love your book and I’m so excited about creating some of your designs myself. Tell us what people can expect from Wild Things: Funky Little Clothes to Sew.
Wild Things: Funky Little Clothes to Sew offers something for beginners to more advanced makers. There are projects for boys, girls and babies covering a whole wardrobe of shapes, with funky appliqué and character templates which are interchangeable. The book includes classic designs as well as some new ideas.
The simple techniques section guides you through the technical stuff, and the imagery styled and shot by duo Will Shaddock and Jen Murdoch, provides real inspiration.
The book includes some of your iconic designs including the fox dress. Which is your favourite project created for the book?
I really love the happy landscape dress featured on the cover. It’s simple, fun and so easy to make. Full of happy vibes!
The first section of the book has a really easy to understand guide to sewing and the techniques used in the book. Could a beginner sewer pick up the book and make their first clothes?
Of course. Each project has been carefully tested to guide you through each step. Simple starter projects like the red riding hood bonnet and the simple apron are perfect for beginners, and all the essential skills you need are further explained in the techniques section. The secret is not to be too precious, and have a go. You may end up hooked like me!
Where can we buy the fabrics that you use in your designs?
There are some lovely stockists and all are listed in the book. I love Seamstar, Fabric Rehab, Fancy Moon, The Home Makery and the organic prints at Mona Luna.
What really excites you about children’s clothing?
I love sewing for children. There are few restrictions,and the shapes are easy to manage as they are small scale.
Children respond to colour and pattern, and don’t understand the subtleties of fashion. Play, fantasy, storytelling are far more important!
How do you come up with designs for your range?
I’m inspired by simple whimsical imagery which translates well into bold colour and pattern. Storytelling is also important, and we have quite an extensive collection of children’s books, so my children provide endless inspiration.
What is it about your own childhood which has remained strong for you as an adult?
As a child of the 70’s I was either outside playing from dawn until dusk, or inside making. I tackled my first clothes pattern at 11, soon progressing to the essential party outfit for the big night ahead. My mum sewed for me too, and it was creating timeless nostalgic pieces that really inspired me to start Wild Things.
Finally, what advice do you have for people who want to make their children’s clothes?
I would start with an idea or fabric you really want to work with. A simple machine is perfect, but be prepared to spend some time to get to know your machine first. Be prepared too to make some ‘happy mistakes’, you never know where this may take you. If you like to bend the rules as I do, be creative and add your own mark.
Thank you so much for joining me Kirsty, I am so in love with this book!
You can catch up with the blog book tour all of this week at Make Light, Bambino Goodies and Tigerlily Quinn.
You can find Kirsty on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Etsy as well as on her website.