I used to love playing dress-up as a child – putting on my old bridesmaids’ dresses, layering up some fancy jewellery, and clomping about in my mum’s enormous (size-5!) shoes.
Like any child, I had my favourite dress-up items.
One belonged to my gran – it was a chunky gold-effect chain with a clasp at one end that she used to wear as a belt. Its flexibility fascinated me and she’d always let me play with it and wear it whenever we visited. I often wore it as a long necklace rather than a belt, but it was always very cold, so I would warm it up in my hands before putting it round my neck.
My other favourite was a brown suede, super-80s-style, fringed bag that my mum had. Remember that it was the 80s at the time and it was still very much in-fashion, so I felt like such a grown up whenever I wore it. I used to imagine myself as an über-glamorous model strutting down the runway to the clicks and flashes of the paparazzi – or as a cowgirl showing off my superior lasso skills in front of all the dumb-founded cowboys. I would play with it so often that eventually my mum just let me keep it in my room.
I’m not sure what’s happened to either of my favourite dress-up accessories… my gran never wears the gold chain any more and I think the bag eventually ended up in the attic, with so much other childhood ‘stuff’, never to be seen again.
This bag became my inspiration recently when I undertook a commission for Sewing World magazine. Like so many 80s fashions, fringing is back in style again, so I jumped at the chance to create a modern, funky fringed bag, just like the one I used to play with.