Swimming strongly against the tide of fast fashion, Wainui maker Rachel Hindley of OneMe makes one of a kind, eco-friendly children’s clothing and soft toys from beautiful, high quality vintage and rescued fabrics and notions. She says she loves to make things that make you smile, and evoke a bit of nostalgia – and her sweet products certainly achieve that aim!
How did you get into your craft?
My Felt shop started from my love of op-shopping and upcycling combined with my own experience of never being unable to find the style of clothing I wanted for my own children when they were little.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No, I am self-taught.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
My favourite materials are pre-loved vintage fabrics, buttons and threads. I just love the colours and patterns – the newer fabrics don’t compare. The fabric itself is an important part of my process and direction – often the type of clothing I want to make is inspired by the material – I have so many ideas! Unfortunately, at present, time constraints mean I have to pick only a few to run with.
Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces
My pieces are an absolute labour of love, there is as much ironing in my process as sewing (sometimes more!). It is so important to the finish. I also like to use older techniques like French seams (even though I do have an overlocking machine) and hand-stitching for things like hems, buttons and closures.
What inspires you?
Older patterns and aesthetics – I like clothing that evokes a bit of nostalgia.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Yes there is, I want to play a small part in eliminating waste and make good quality new things from old unwanted fabrics and notions. It’s extremely satisfying.
“My favourite materials are pre-loved vintage fabrics, buttons and threads. I just love the colours and patterns – the newer fabrics don’t compare.”
Describe your creative process
My creative process is quite often a collaborative effort with my customer, sometimes I end up using a combination of colours or fabrics I would not have thought of myself- it’s so much fun.
Describe your workspace
My workspace started off as a nook in my bedroom wardrobe, but I am lucky enough now to have a whole room. It’s naturally light, sparse, and well organised. I need it to be tidy and I like to have all my fabrics displayed within easy reach. 🙂
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
I am so happy whenever I get nice feedback from a customer and appreciate it so much, sometimes they just email and don’t actually leave written feedback but that’s ok too as I’m happy they are happy!
One of my customers I follow on Instagram and I recently recognised one of my coats displayed in her daughter’s room, even though she has long out-grown it, which was even better than the written feedback!
“We’re so incredibly happy with this coat I don’t know where to get started. First of all the entire communication process was great, excellent customer service, professional and helpful. The coat arrived quickly even though it is entirely handmade and shipped internationally. The coat itself is hands down the most beautiful coat I’ve ever seen. My daughter LOVES it and doesn’t want to take it off! The craftsmanship is excellent and the design is so cute, classic, elegant, vintage but timeless. I honestly cannot recommend it enough! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!”
What are you currently listening to?
I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts and the odd audiobook. The last one I listened to was Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkoa Estes.
What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
The Pond That Turned into a Puddle by Jeanette Morris. It was a birthday present I received from a school friend when I was five. It was beautifully illustrated, and about three friends – a duck, frog, ands fish – and what happened when their home became polluted. The title is sort self-explanatory, it really struck a chord with me. Ironically, when my own children were finished with it, as it was still in beautiful condition, I donated it to a local op shop and as I drove off, saw it being thrown into the skip.
What are you reading now?
Call Me By Your Name – a novel by André Aciman. (Recommended by my daughter who has just finished it.)
A favourite quote
“If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked I’m not interested in your feedback.” – Brene Brown.
I think this is her shortened and feisty version of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Daring greatly” quote. I’m a bit of an introvert so it’s difficult for me to put myself out there, this reminds me not to worry too much about what other people think. 🙂
Tell us about your pets
I live on lifestyle block so I’m able to have a few more pets than most. We have a small flock of sheep, two kunekune pigs – Newman and Waddles, and five runner ducks (I LOVE those ducks!) – Donald, Gherkin, Pickles, Chilli and Pepper. (All thoughtfully named by my ten year old.)
What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Practise makes perfect. Don’t compromise your vision of what you want to make. If you are confident and passionate about what you are making, it shows.
Why do you think it’s important to buy handmade and/or locally made goods?
Collectively, I think we are starting to be more conscious about our purchases. Buying handmade is about getting closer to the source when we can. It is far more satisfying for ourselves and it is kinder to the planet at the same time.
“I want to play a small part in eliminating waste and make good quality new things from old unwanted fabrics and notions.”
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
It was a print from MYMUSECOMESANDGOES, all the way from France, and it has her version of pōhutukawa flowers in it, which are my favourite! When I questioned the artist about the flowers she said had never been to New Zealand which was a surprise! I’ve hung it in my sewing room, it makes me smile…
What’s in store for the rest of 2019?
Selling our family home of sixteen years (which is a big move) and hopefully building something that better fits our growing family. Hopefully this will include a sewing room as well as a pond for the ducks!
Rachel has very kindly offered a gorgeous prize for one lucky Felt reader of this sweet Peterpan collar cape (see above). This size 3 child’s wool cape, made with stunning attention to detail, has self covered buttons, a lovely lining, and an adorable Peterpan collar. Just leave us a comment below telling us what you like about Rachel’s story and her sweet creations, and you’ll be in to win.
The draw closes at 5pm on Monday 14 October and is open to New Zealand residents only.
And the prize draw’s not all! Rachel is also kindly giving her Felt customers 20% off any of the gorgeous products in her Felt shop for the duration of her feature fortnight. Just purchase before 5pm Monday 16 September, and enter the code PROMO20 in the voucher code field at step 4 of checkout. Thank you so much Rachel!