TOG Talks: Meet Your Maker, Helen!

 Hello and welcome back to the TOG blog, where we are starting an exciting new series called ‘TOG Talks’! We will be catching up with some of our favourite, most inspirational people and getting to know them a little bit better.

We are kicking off by meeting your maker: sensational seamstress - Helen Ronald, a.k.a Caitlin’s mum! She has been a seamstress and costumier for over 30 years, and we have been working with her most recently on our psychedelic 60s Magic Meadow collection! Helen makes the most ridiculous visions into reality with her amazing experience, creativity and wonderful attitude to sewing. 

Hi Helen! So can you start off by telling us how you first got into sewing?


    Like most little girls I had a number of dolls, but I wanted to dress them differently to what you could buy in the shops. My Nana was very good at sewing, so she taught me the basics and I just made the rest up as I went along!

You know so much about fashion history - what is your favourite period in time for fashion and why?

    My favourite period in fashion history would probably be the Tudor era. The construction of the garments was very intricate and there were many rules and regulations about who could wear what - fabrics, furs and even colours! There was a lot of symbolism in clothing for both men and women, and Elizabeth I in particular used the clothing she wore to sit for paintings to convey her power and status. 

You were around in the 70s, did you have a favourite outfit? What about a favourite song?

    I was in my early teens in the 70s, and my favourite outfit was a stripy skinny rib short sleeve jumper with a collar and a pair of blue denim 'bags' (bell bottoms!) with pockets on the thighs. I also had a pair of brown and beige platforms to complete the look! 

Song wise, I loved Marc Bolan, and 'Bang a Gong' from 1971 was a particular favourite! I was devastated when he died in 1977.

What is your favourite handmade piece from TOG and why?

    I love making pieces for TOG and I have a particular fondness for the [zip up] pinafore dresses because they were the first design we did, but the kaftans are my absolute favourite because they look fabulous on everyone!

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

    A few years ago we went to Pompeii in Italy and it was absolutely fascinating. I would love to go back to Roman times before the eruption and wander those same streets thronged with people and noise and bustle to experience it first hand.

Finally, what inspires you?

    It is very hard to say what inspires me - it can be different things for different reasons. Sometimes I will come across a piece of fabric and its colour and texture will immediately suggest a garment. Other times it might be a particular time period, such as for TOG, which suggests certain silhouettes and then we try and source the right fabrics to bring those to life.

The joy of creating and then seeing someone wearing what you have made is very special.  

We want to say thank you so much Helen for bringing the Magic Meadow to life!

Shop the whole collection now!



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