I’m very happy to introduce my newest creative profile, for Marg from Itchykoo, please enjoy her interview, and her wonderful handmade creations…
Hi I’m the person behind itchykoo kids clothing – variously known as Margie, Maggie, Margaret, Mrs C, Mum (and very recently Grandma). I’m a happily retired primary school teacher. I loved teaching – was passionate about it – but knew without a doubt when it was time to change, that there were other ways to live my life. My husband and I regularly take off in our trusty Prado exploring this beautiful country. We have an off road camper which allows us to get a bit off the beaten track.
When at home I do a limited amount of relief teaching, I do a couple of days of voluntary work with St Vincent De Paul and of course get to create fun kid’s clothes. Times that I really look forward to are family get-togethers with my daughter, my two sons, their wives, and my baby granddaughter.
I’m an avid reader and enjoy spirited conversations (especially when sharing a nice shiraz!)
Where did your creative journey begin?
Aunty Marj was a dress designer who had worked in Paris pre WW2. My sister and I were lucky kids having a childless aunt who loved to dress us! She was the best sewing teacher. I scrounged fabric off cuts to create doll’s clothing. I progressed to making my own clothing and then sewed for my sister and mother.
When I was at teacher’s college, my flatmate was a fashion design student. We had lots of fun making our own clothes then (there wasn’t the brand name obsession of these days). Over the years though life became very busy and I didn’t have much time for this special creative outlet.
I got back into sewing when I couldn’t find a suitable lightweight handbag (my shoulder was giving me a lot of pain at that time). I ended up making a few handbags. To encourage me in this, a lovely lady gave me a huge box of Moda fabric samples and off-cuts. Well most of those fabrics were not suitable for handbags, but little dresses – most definitely!
My niece who has a web design business, saw what I was doing and told me that I just had to start selling on etsy. So she helped set me up and before I knew it itchykoo was launched.
What kind of things inspire and excite you?
I’m a fabric junkie! I’m drawn to strong, vibrant colours and love running beautiful textures through my hands. Childhood is the perfect time to enjoy being able to wear fun colours (so parents, allow them that joy before your children turn into inhibited adults!).
I rarely design an item of clothing and then decide upon the fabric. It’s almost always the fabric (or trims) that inspire the creation. I dress fairly plainly so my family have speculated about why I love to create girlie outfits with lace and ribbons etc.
What is the most difficult creative challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? (or are you currently tackling it?)
My most daunting creative challenge is an ongoing one, and it’s one of validity or worthiness. I look at other people’s work and think it looks so much better than mine. I know the finished quality of my work is of a high standard, but worry about the design elements. Having immediate feedback at markets is always very affirming.
What dreams do you have for the future of your creative business?
I love that I can create one-of- a- kind outfits and am not at all interested in the idea of mass production. I could happily sew every day and would love itchykoo‘s sales to boom (allowing me to give up those few days of relief teaching). To make this happen I will need to do a lot more marketing, both online and weekend markets.
I’m interested in learning more about working with modern stretch fabrics in order to do more in baby wear. We’ll see what happens with that train of thought.
If you’d like to view the complete range of beautifully handmade creations by Itchykoo, here is the link to Marg’s etsy store itchykoo
I hope you have enjoyed meeting Marg, a wonderful Australian member of the etsy community.