Explain your gift-giving philosophy as if you actually had one and weren’t just making it up now, on the spot.
I always have to remind myself to give something that the person I’m gifting wants. It’s too easy to get in that generous gifting/shopping mood and then start looking at the things I like. And then the poor person I’m trying to find a gift for ends up with the perfect present… mine. It’s not the thought that counts, it’s that you thought of them.
What was the best Christmas present you received as a kid?
Every year my Nan would sew me a dress. Beautiful, intricate, almost Victorian dresses. No one else ever bought me dresses, so that made them extra special. I remember one year Nan had me sketch what kind of neckline I wanted for my dress. I couldn’t have made this up if I tried! I only remembered those dresses now.
Have you handmade Christmas presents before, or will this be a first?
I would call myself the queen of DIY. My family will probably tell me to get myself to the shops and buy something already! I secretly think they might be a bit over my crafty thriftiness.
But now I have a whole new generation in my daughters! I reckon I can get a few more years out of it…
Tell us about the gift you’re making your daughter for Christmas, and why it’s special.
I am very lucky to have Livie model every dress I design. She does get to keep the samples, but I felt like she didn’t really have a huge say in what she wears. She can pick whatever she likes from her wardrobe… but I’ve decided what’s in that wardrobe.
Sometimes she nitpicks design elements she likes or hates the clothes I make her – and occasionally this even leads to me altering the design. Still, I wondered what she would design for herself.
Spending time with her is always precious, but to also share what I do with her and then let her be in charge… I just thought that would be a gift that was simple, relaxing and achievable.
I always feel like I put other people’s orders before her, and I want to show her she is important to me – and sometimes all the other orders can wait and she comes first.
What have Livie’s specifications been so far, and what sort of clients do three-year olds make?
Livie was very specific that her dress should have only one shoulder and no sleeves. And that it should be a “queen dress”. Pink of course. I thought she’d direct me to drape something ruffled and huge like a Disney princess confection, but she was adamant her skirt “go straight down”. When I went to fit her dress the second time, she liked the idea of some ruches and folds in the fabric.
I was so happy she knew exactly what she wanted and just said it straight out. I was a bit worried that she wouldn’t have a opinion and it would be me making up the design.