I have always enjoyed being creative – a product of hours spent on arts and crafts with my grandparents, who looked after my sister and I while our parents were at work. Looking back, I am in awe of their immeasurable patience; it must have been painful to watch us wage war on their usually pristine kitchen with glitter, playdough, paints and beads.

I also feel for my poor mother, who would be faced with the challenge of accommodating the deluge of paper plates, pasta necklaces and decorated shoe boxes that would promptly be stuffed in the car. ‘Oh I like THAT one’ she would whimper, as we shoved yet another masterpiece involving copious amounts of pipe cleaners and crepe paper under her nose, informing her that it was absolutely NOT a butterfly and quite OBVIOUSLY a surrealist depiction of our dog.

I decided to pick up some knitting needlesLUCIE RICHARDSON

When I was a little older my Nan taught me to knit and sew, which resulted in a series of questionable sack-like ‘garments’ produced for unsuspecting barbies and teddies. Nowadays they would probably pass for Yeezy. Over my time at secondary school I dabbled in various DIY projects, very few of which would be considered flattering or wearable. Frustrated by my inability to make anything presentable, I let my hobby fall dormant, but in an attempt to battle the boredom of the first lockdown, I decided to dust off my sewing machine and pick up some knitting needles.

I decided to tackle a beanieLUCIE RICHARDSON

Instructed by knitting tutorials on YouTube, I practised different kinds of stitches until I felt confident enough to tackle a pattern. My sister became my first hesitant patron and commissioned me to knit her a blanket for her university room. I decided to rise to the challenge, comforted by the lack of shaping required and set to work in front of numerous episodes of ‘Tiger King’. When it came to the big reveal, I‘m not sure who was more surprised, myself or my sister, by the fact that it was actually…..quite good. Spurred on by my unexpected success, I decided to tackle a beanie and then a jumper. This has since spiralled into a collection of jumpers, which I can now use to measure the length of time I have been banished to the house like a crazed wool-covered Miss Havisham.

This was accompanied by a foray into sewing. I have always been inspired by my father’s cousin’s wife Jan, who usually turned up to family gatherings in glamorous outfits that she had made herself. Tragically, cancer took her away from us far too soon, but ever thoughtful, she left myself and my cousins some of her sewing materials. I adopted some of her retro sewing manuals, which have proved extremely useful in my quest to master my sewing machine. Having begun with a lumpy tank top, I eventually progressed on to making a pair of trousers and a dress.

“a good opportunity to get things repeatedly and spectacularly wrong”

While it gives me an immense sense of pride to wear something I have designed and made myself, I also believe that the process has been far more valuable than the outcome. In a world full of uncertainty, dominated by depressing news bulletins, I took comfort in the distracting and repetitive action of knitting.

Continuing the legacy of women who have inspired meLUCIE RICHARDSON

Despite being unable to plan my future, I could at least engineer some certainty in my life by planning my next creation. Furthermore, as a perfectionist Cambridge student terrified of making mistakes, knitting and sewing provided me with a good opportunity to get things repeatedly and spectacularly wrong.


Mountain View

Style Reimagined: Moving Towards Sustainability

Making my own clothes has not only become an important act of self expression, it also allows me to continue the legacy of women who have inspired me. My various knitting projects have allowed me to keep in close contact with my Nan in lockdown, as I frequently enlist her help with the trickier parts of my patterns and I like to think that every time I step out in a dress that I have made, I am carrying a part of Jan with me. So when we talk about home sewing, what we really mean to say is thank you, to all the Jans and all the Nans for getting us here.