One to Watch…

According to Mother Goose little boys are made of “Snaps and snails, and puppy-dogs’ tails;” I wouldn’t necessarily say that this is the case but having grown up with 2 brothers I found they were usually smelly and uncommunicative. These days though I find young boys tend to be more interested in what their friends are up to than sitting still and are more likely to be doing some form of sport, outdoor activity or playing computer games. It’s a real rarity to find an 11-year-old boy who wants to follow an artistic path in his spare time.

You can imagine my surprise then, when I received an email about an 11-year-old boy who loves fashion and was looking to learn more about it.

My first introduction to Jake came through his blog “The Colour Freak”. You really get a feel for his flair and love of creativity through his writing. He had clearly been designing for a while and from talking with his mum we established a programme that would enable him to learn the process from design through to finished garment so he could make one of his drawings come alive.

As with any creative process the design developed as we went, as he came up with other ideas that he wanted to add or established new ways of doing things. I have to say though, putting the original drawings and the final dress side by side, there is no doubt that they are the same dress!

I think one of the things I’m particularly pleased about is that he has been allowed to follow his passion and talent. When I was at school a lot of my friends wanted to study art/technology and weren’t able to because their families were pushing them to follow a more academic route. It’s a situation I come across a lot, and it saddens me hugely. I was really lucky that I had unconditional support for whichever path I chose to follow, and Jake is in the same boat. He has so much support from not only his family but also from his school, it really is a lovely thing to see and one of those things that can sometimes be taken as a given.

Here are a series of photos of the journey he took through the sessions. From the initial design, to design development, pattern cutting, toiles, and then sewing up the final dress.



As a designer you find inspiration in the most unusual of places sometimes. Jake’s inspiration for this dress came from a lampshade. The ability to find inspiration and then translate it into designs is what separates a designer from a sewer.

I have found working with Jake hugely inspiring for me, its funny the restrictions you put on yourself without even considering. For years I have thought that pink and green should never be seen (of course not even the original colours from the saying) and yet there is something about the way these colours work in Jake’s dress that I just love. It has a sort of “little mermaid” feel about it.

I love my teaching, its amazing to see the joy that sewing brings me come alive in other people and teaching Jake has been no different. He has the talent to make a real name for himself in the design world if he chooses to pursue it as a career (which I really hope he does).

When I consider the types of garments I was sewing aged 11 they were nothing as complex as this. He has achieved so much in such a short period of time it is really quite remarkable.

When I have the time I would like to develop this design further to see where I can take it in an homage to this amazing designer.

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