Here is my eldest daughter, Polly, in her favourite t-shirt. This, for me, is victory on a massive scale. Finding a t-shirt that Polly will actually wear is not for the faint-hearted. This is the girl who will refuse to wear pretty much anything; clothing being rejected on the grounds that it is too tight/too itchy/ the sleeves are too short/too sweaty/generally the item is deemed ‘not nice’. For most of a whole term at nursery she insisted on dressing as a television character – Rosie the ragdoll, from Everything’s Rosie – google at your own peril. The outfit consisted of the most hideous red satin HelloKitty skirt, and a too-small pink t-shirt. I gave up, in the end. She looked weird, but she was happy. But the Rollerskate t-shirt was, astoundingly, a hit.
The inspiration came from a djFresh video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T_LiUAVl4g which brought back happy memories of my rollerskating days (they’re not over, incidentally, I still have a pair of green and purple size 8’s hiding in my parents’ laundry cupboard…for my own safety.) I remembered the joy of learning to skate backwards, of taking fast downhill corners slightly too fast, and of a classic incident where I limped home with a wheel in my hand:
My dad: ‘Did you find any ball bearings, at all, or bolts and screws?’
Me: ‘Ummmn, yes, I think they might have been the things I rolled down a drain…’
My Dad practically tutted himself into a coma, and my sister has never, ever let me forget that one.
Sarah’s brother did the design, and we loved it instantly. We chose a nice subtle cerise for the print, and bought some organic, unbleached cotton t-shirts to print on. The clincher was the softness of the t-shirt. Until then, I had been a teensy bit skeptical about the whole ‘superior quality of organic cotton’ thing. It seemed like one of those things that’s nice if you can afford it, but a bit unnecessary, like shopping exclusively at Selfridges. But these really changed my mind. They were SO soft, even after you’ve washed them a LOT of times (believe me, Polly’s has been!) The price difference, because we bought in bulk, was negligible. And the thing about designing stuff for children, is that they really want to wear stuff that is comfy. You can play around with the most beautiful fabrics, the coolest prints, but if the end result is scratchy, or tight, or in any way uncomfortable, the kids just won’t wear it. They’re not like grown ups, who will happily squeeze into torturous heels and hobble painfully about in them all evening, just because the shoes look mind-numbingly beautiful.
I’m pretty sure that, despite the cool t-shirt, Polly’s rollerskating career will go in a similar direction to mine. Having put some skates on for the first time this Spring, she promptly lost control trying to go round a plant pot on the patio, grabbed hold of some washing, and snapped the washing line. Must be genetic…