This post is for anyone who, like me, has a stash of baby clothes in a bag/suitcase/picnic hamper (well, desperate times – I have had THREE babies,) in the loft that you really really can’t bear to part with. It’s partly that they’re so tiny. I sometimes struggle to remember when these lumping great kids that pogo about our house were so tiny and delicate they could fit into these titchy things! And obviously, they are all stuffed full of happy baby memories. For some reason, you never seem to pull out a babygro and remember the times you cried with frustration over the fact that its occupant just would NOT sleep ! It’s a good thing. Perhaps a survival instinct.) I’ve given loads of baby clothes away; our kids wore loads of hand-me-downs and I loved the fact that loads of their stuff has been re-worn by other children. But some are just too precious to give away. The first babygros they wore, the outfits they were given by grandparents, cardigans handknitted especially for them. Just clothes that I loved, and sort of wish they could still fit into, in a weird way. But anyway, they are just sitting in the loft – and I had no idea what I was going to do with them. It seems a shame to keep things like that and then not be able to see them. I’ve loved the idea of memory quilts – patchwork quilts made from old baby clothes since I read about them in a book by Lois Lowry. A Summer to Die. Not the cheeriest of books, but very well written.
“She stood up and laid it out on the kitchen table. There they were, all those orderly, geometric patterns of our past, Molly’s and mine. All those bright squares of colour; in the centre, the pale pink and yellows of our baby dresses, farther out, in carefully organised rows, the flowery prints and the bright plaids of the years when we were little girls, and at the edges; the more subdued denims and corduroys of our growing up.”
It’s a testament to the writing that at least 15 years since I last read that book, I remembered the phrase ‘at the edges; the more subdued denims and corduroys of our growing up,’ and was able to search online for the rest of the text. I loved the idea of a memory quilt – how nice to have a quilt made from beautiful clothes to remember your childrens’ babyhood with? But having only moderate to fair sewing skills myself, and a total lack of time, not to mention THREE lots of baby clothes to quilt, I felt that this was far too ambitious a project. Luckily though, I discovered a Very Cool Website, through Twitter. (I bloody love Twitter. It’s moments like this where I can’t celebrate the power of social media enough.)
LoveKeepCreate was created to help people like me out, who have stashes of precious baby clothes and no good way of using them. The idea is that you send them some of your baby clothes stash, and they make them into something lovely for you/your child to keep. And, excitingly, it’s really reasonably priced! LoveKeepCreate do quilts – which are backed and edged with fleece and filled with nice thick wadding –
Memory quilts come in cot bed size (100x120cm, £45.00) and single bed size (140x180cm, £60.00).
They suggest that you send at least 10 clothing items for a cotbed quilt and at least 20 items for a single bed sized quilt.
They also do blankets, standard (65 x 85cm, £30.00) and large (100x120cm, £39.50), which are the edged and backed with fleece, but not stuffed, which come in two sizes. They suggest sending at least 6-8 clothing items for a standard sized blanket and at least 10 items for a large blanket:
In addition to these lovely bits, there are also keepsakes, which are animals made from old babygros that you send. You can choose from a duck, cat, a bunny, a giraffe, an elephant, a bear, a lion, a monkey and a dragon! (The dragon is my favourite!)
Another great idea they have come up with is making clothes for your child out of your old stuff! Here’s the Daddy Shirt, a shirt for your son made from one of Daddy’s old shirts:
And the Daddy Dress, made from, that’s right, Daddy’s old shirt!
Isn’t that just brilliant?! They do other stuff too, have a look around their website. And, as if you needed any further encouragement, they are currently offering the opportunity to add 50p to your order, which they will match, to donate to a childrens’ charity. Every three months, the money collected will be donated to a charity suggested by their customers on Twitter or Facebook.
At some point, I’d love to interview the mums who set up LoveKeepCreate here on the blog. (You can read more about them here in the meantime.) I think it’s an outstanding business idea, and the perfect example of an independent company working well in a niche market. But right now, I am busy sifting through piles of babygros, trying to narrow my selection down in order to send them off to be made into something lovely!