Guest blog post by Ellie Pearce of Ellie's Heirlooms
When I was approached by a friend asking if I would be interested in her grandmother's linens my heart leapt. Having collected fabric wherever I had travelled in the world the opportunity to use these extraordinary, beautiful linen and cotton sheets and re-love them into new pieces sat perfectly with my passion for upcycling and design.
This material had been collected generations ago and in common practice was often given as part of a dowry. For many women it was a secret and exhausting part of their domestic life – laundered by hand and maintained for ‘keeping’. The practical role of the fabric inspired my design towards looking into other fabrics used in extraordinary ways. I came across feed sacks in the war rationed US and UK that had been, out of necessity, collected and transformed into clothing. This mix of beauty and usefulness won my passion.
I now print by hand, sketches I make of wild flowers, vital insects, objects that are transferred onto the linen, giving it a new bold image, away from the dreamy white crunchy traditional association it has. Then I cut and form it into clothing, as small as I can for maximum reuse. I design for maximum wear and use.
I mainly find my linens from France where two women save any slightly damaged sheets they come across while antique hunting for me. That every piece has had a previous life is testament to the quality and romance of these fabrics. I then make to order, trying to work with the client to achieve something that’s wanted rather than just bought.
@thehackneymadecollective 61 hackney road