Meet Rachel, our head seamstress and pattern-maker.
Hi Rachel, tell us a bit about yourself:
I live in Wiltshire with 1 lovely husband, 3 (sometimes) lovely kids. I am a Lay minister, youth group leader and obsessed with sewing! I learned to sew when I was 3, started on the machine at 5, and never looked back. Most unusual thing I’ve ever made was a choir boy outfit, complete with ruff, for a Jack Russell!
I’ve always sewn and over the years, using the minimum possible fabric for any garment has been an obsession; often spending hours figuring out pattern layouts to save a few inches of fabric, so I guess I have been working with zero waste principles before I even knew it was a “thing” !
How did you end up working with Jake + Maya ?
I met Tze Ching a few years ago when I helped her make a Christening gown for her god-daughter. I guess she liked it, as not long after, she approached me to help her develop a zero waste children’s clothing line.
I had no idea what I was letting myself in for! I had never heard of the concept of zero waste before, but as soon as I looked into it, I was hooked!
Has working with zero waste patterns been challenging ?
It’s been an increadibly steep learning curve. We are trying to do so much – organic, zero waste, multi-purpose, growing, ethically produced…. and cost-effective too !
Each one of those descisions adds a new dimension to the design process. No one else out there is doing all this, and now we know why! But each and every one of those ‘constraints’ has shaped the finished garment.
The very things that seemed to be problems are the same things that have driven me to be more creative, to push my boundaries, to think outside the box. The finished result is a truly unique, innovative collection that puts a new face on the traditional image of ethically and environmentally produced kids clothes.
How have you enjoyed working with Jake + Maya so far ?
I have loved the process and learnt more than I could ever have thought possible.
The things that will really stick with me are the impact more conventional production methods have on our environment, and the conditions of the workforce that make so many of our clothes.
The real “Eureka” moment was when we compared the amount of fabric waste from standard production against the handful of scraps we had left. The waste fabric from the standard production was enough to make another 10 garments!
Those are the things that have kept me going, when Tze Ching presents me with yet another seemingly impossible challenge. That and her confidence in me that ” It will be fine – you’ll figure it out!”
She was right, the collection is fabulous and I can’t wait to start on the next one !
Thank you Rachel, you have been a star. Love how you always come up with a solution to every problem ! x