I am new to the Clothkits phenomena, which I’m reliably informed was a huge thing back in the 70s and 80s. Clothkits were as the name suggests kits made up of everything you need to make a dress, skirt or doll, all in a kit, including fabric with the printed pattern ready to cut out, doing away with the need of a paper pattern. The system appealed to newbie crafters as well as sewing people who were time short. After a hiatus, Clothkits were relaunched about 10 years ago, and this year seem to be making a strong impact for people who would like to start crafting.
I came across Clothkits after watching the Sewing Quarter, where the demoed a wonderful skirt kit. Sadly by the time I got around to ordering, they has sold out. Fortunately, a few days later the kit came back in stock together with a matching bag, which I immediately snapped up.
Yesterday, a week after ordering, both the kits arrived, and I immediately set to work, thinking the bag and purse kit would be the easiest and quickest, before embarking onto the skirt.
Upon opening the well presented package, I was surprised to see how small the printed sections were. Where I was hoping for a large tote, the final piece was barely large enough to enclose a computer tablet. I add at this point that in my haste to order the bag before it sold out, I didn’t make a note of the size of the bag, and assumed it was the size of a shopper tote, but as you can see below, the Clothkits bag is considerably smaller. The only picture on display on both the Clothkits website and the Sewing Quarter website show the kit all wrapped up, so you can’t gauge how big the finished bag will be, until you purchase the kit.
So already disappointed, I ventured on with the project, to discover that the rest of the contents where equally ungenerous when compared with the skirt kit. The thread reel was smaller than the one included with the skirt kit, the lining fabric was barely adequate for both the bag and purse, leaving little room for error. I had the use the striped lining horizontally for the purse and vertically for the bag in order for it to fit, which is a pity as the 2 items won’t exactly match.
There was also little scope for pattern matching, but as this kit is aimed at beginners, and it was lining fabric hitch no one else would see, I could let that slide. I like the striped fabric, but for this kit, maybe a plain lining would have been more suitable.
From the instructions, depending on pot luck apparently, the kit includes either webbing, printed straps, or as in my case, extra cord fabric which you cut out yourself. For a supposedly pre printed kit, I thought it was rather odd I had to work out how to cut out the bag straps, while the main body of the bag and purse was printed with cut out lines. As an introduction to Clothkits, I found this more than a little disappointing.
Most of the instructions were easy to follow, although I’m not sure if that would have been the case if I was an absolute beginner.
- From the leftover material from the skirt kit, I made inner pockets for both the bag and purse.
- I will purchase some webbing to make a longer crossover body strap, as the handles I was supposed to make from the ‘left over’ fabric as instructed, were far too small.
- I added a piece of the ribbon used to tie up the kit, to the zip pull to create a pull tag.
- I attached the inner lining of the purse, by sewing it by hand. I used a natural coloured thread, which matched the lining fabric for a better finish. I didn’t like how the red thread showed up on the inner white and black striped lining fabric.
- I will make a button closure for the bag, using the leftover scraps from the skirt kit. Details will be posted as soon as the webbing arrives and I have completed the bag.
In short, had I not purchased the skirt kit, I wouldn’t be able to make the bag work for me at all. For £19.95 plus £2.95 p&p, I don’t think this is good value for money, as the bag is far too small to be useful for an adult, unless you have the skills and knowledge to make it your own. I still have to purchase webbing, as cord fabric handles I don’t think will give a nice finish to a bag of this type. This should have been a quick project, but it will take me a couple of days waiting for extra supplies, for a kit that I think should have included webbing in the first place.
The purse is the one saving grace for this kit, but it’s not enough to save this product. If I was a starter, this kit would have discouraged me from buying any more Clothkits. In short, very disappointing, and in marked contrast the to skirt kit, I regret purchasing this bag and purse set.
Yes, the rating is harsh, but when compared with similar products, including other kits from the Clothkits range, this particular one just doesn’t make the grade. I’m glad to say that I’ve started the Clothkits skirt kit, and so far I’m very impressed with the product and can’t wait to finish it, and start wearing it.
I will post my full review of the Clothkits skirt kit on Thursday, so please stay tuned for that. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep updated on all things new on Champagne Twist.
Thanks for reading.