By chance we came accross a wonderful designer and dress maker, Anne Hellinger, and knew we had to ask her how she made such fabulous frocks for little girls! The rather lovely Anne agreed to an interview in which she shares her inspirations and designs of Serendipity dresses with us (and you!)
We love, love, love your designs at Childcare is Fun! What inspired you to create unusual dresses for little girls?
I have always had a love of fabrics and enjoy dressmaking and crafts. My creativity was appreciated by family and friends for their daughters (I have two grown up sons) and it is a shame that so few people make their own clothes any more.
The clothes I used to make for these little girls were unique and so different from the chain store stuff. Last October I had a ‘eureka’ moment when I decided I could turn a much loved hobby into a small business to sell my limited edition dresses.
Where do your fabulous ideas come from? For example the summer dress covered in ice-creams, or the music dress?
I had the idea of taking photos of a dress being made in stages, put them together with some copyright free music and posting the video on You Tube. I called it The Making of the Music Dress and the idea was to show the fabric transforming into a finished dress.
I noticed that a similar music design fabric was recently shown at the Milan fashion show for next Autumn/Winter by Dolce and Gabbana!!
Wow – that’s pretty fantastic! Now each dress is unique and handmade by yourself, so what is the turn around time from order to receiving? Do customers have to wait a while for one of your beautiful bespoke dresses?
Because it is only me making the dresses I can’t cope with orders, so have to keep it ‘limited editions’ only. That is also the reason I have restricted the sizes from 2-8 years only.
Have you always been a designer and seamstress?
I was taught sewing and dressmaking by my mother when young and used to design and make clothes for my dolls.
Making clothes was a hobby from my teenage years onwards but it is only recently that I could use my experience to dream up my own designs. I used to work for the government full time but took early retirement in 2007 and did some travelling with my husband.
We see you’re a small business Sunday winner by Theo Paphitis! Congratulations, you must be pleased! Have you had lots of interest since winning?
Yes, I was thrilled to win and the interest generated will hopefully boost publicity for the business.
Do you think you’ll extend your range to babies and boys clothes?
At the moment I am just building the business but in the future I may consider stretching the size range for girls.
Finally, here at Childcare is Fun, we like to take the stress out of childcare and make it, well, fun! Your dresses look fabulous but do they stand the ultimate test of picnics in the park, constant washing and all the fun that comes with being a little girl?
The fabrics that I choose are practical and easy to wash ( I do wash tests myself on the fabrics) and the dresses are well made and finished with top stitching. However in the future I would like to make special occasion dresses from more opulent and fabulous fabrics.
I have recently bought some unusual fabric from America which has blue butterflies, plants, insects and handwritten script of quotes from Shakespeare which I intend to make into two long sleeved peplum jackets to go with some bright blue or hot pink silk dresses – I know that girls love pink but sometimes other colours make a change!
Thank you so much for your time Anne!