Christchurch maker Kate Batt of Frankie Raine is a busy maker and mum of five, and she’s passionate about producing beautiful, durable, long lasting clothing for her rough-and-tumble little ones. She makes all her gorgeous baby and children’s clothing to order using locally sourced, silky soft 100% merino and organic cottons.
How did you get into your craft?
When I was pregnant with my now seven year old I myself was into harem pants and I wanted to share this new found love of mine with my newborn but I couldn’t find any for him anywhere! So I jumped on Trademe, bought a sewing machine for $40, found a pattern online and made my first ever pair of baby harem pants.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I have no formal training, but am so lucky to have my mother AND mother in law who are both very experienced sewers so I have had ample quality advice!
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Oh, a good pair of scissors is my number one tool, besides my Brother sewing machine and overlocker of course! And I am completely obsessed with ZQ Merino!
Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces
I do a lot of topstitching, button holes, special zig zag stitch and attaching my kam snaps to the onesies.
What inspires you?
My amazing children are my constant inspiration, I am so incredibly lucky to be able to work from home and still be a hands-on mum.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I love being able to make something that’s tried and tested by myself on real children, no mannequin. Two of my boys are long and thin so I always had trouble with store brought pants that never fit around the waist! Making to order means I am able to customise my designs for all children, any shape and size.
What has been a highlight of your maker journey so far?
Being interviewed for Meet the Maker is a pretty up there highlight! I almost feel famous haha. A daily highlight for me is being able to provide a little extra income for my growing family, I love being able to do that and still be there for them at the same time.
Describe your workspace:
I have one word for that, SMALL! But it works, I try and keep as much wall mounted or in my cupboard as possible, away from little hands. I would love my very own sewing room one day!
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
Oh there has been just so many lovely comments from my wonderful customers, but looking back this one stood out to me: “I must say, wow! we purchased a bodysuit & harem pants set and they are gorgeous! really lovely, quality merino and perfectly made. will definitely be buying more!”
What are you currently listening to?
Mostly noisy children, is that an album? It certainly is in my house!
Who is your hero/heroine? Why?
Fellow mothers, need I say more?
What are you reading now?
Mostly children’s picture books and memes on Instagram, that’s all I have time for! But I have in the past loved reading all Paullina Simons’ books, she is brilliant.
A favourite quote:
If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it change your attitude. A little on the harsh side but true!
Tell us about your pets:
I have one big black Labrador and two cats, all reluctant outside pets trying to avoid the chaos!
What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Start small, don’t expect instant success. It takes time to gain people’s interest and trust, especially in hand made items but that’s when the Felt feedback system is so important. When you have plenty of positive feedback it can help bring in new and existing customers. And word of mouth is better than any advertising you could pay for.
Why do you think it’s important to buy handmade and/or locally made goods?
I think it just makes it special, something worth really treasuring. Knowing the time and effort someone has put into their products, and each one is always ever so slightly different. Nothing mass produced, all lovingly made one by one.
What does it mean to you when someone buys your creations?
I still get a buzz, every single time. I saw a post on Instagram once, “When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.” It couldn’t be more true. There are so many small businesses out there that are a one-man band like myself, so when something sells it really does make all the effort worth while.
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I bought the most beautiful yarn bowl for my mother from Karoro right here on Felt, the colours and design were what attracted me and it was beautifully made!
What’s in store for the rest of 2021?
Sew, sew, sew! I’ve just recently started adding labels to all my designs so that was a super good start to the year for me, I’m loving being able to make my designs really mine and getting my label out there. I would love to one day do mummy and me designs and activewear.
Special offer for Felt readers!
Kate is generously offering a 15% discount on anything in her Felt shop for the duration of her feature fortnight! That’s right, you can get 15% off all of her gorgeous Frankie Raine clothing for wee ones. To secure this great discount make sure to enter the voucher code FRANKIE15 in the voucher code field on page four of checkout when you purchase. Thank you so much Kate!