However, Helen Fox’s mother had to bite her tongue one evening as she was drawing the curtains and the same amount of light continued streaming into the room.
That was because her resourceful daughter had snipped out a few sections in order to make dresses for her dolls.
Fast-forward forty something years and Yoyo Childrenswear is now a great British brand, synonymous with stunning stitching, durability and more than a hint of retro styling, as once worn herself by Helen as a girl (and the curtain couture of her mini mannequins) and now proving to be a favourite amongst parents and their little people.
So, the 54-year-old had always been good at sewing and needlecraft, but it was a marriage breakdown that started a chain of events that would thankfully go on to have a happy ending.
Money was tight and she therefore turned to a stash of material she had accumulated over the years and started making her own clothes and those for her son Mathew and daughter Stacey (now 26 and 23 respectively).
She was working as a childminder when she met her second husband Steve. He gently encouraged her to pursue her dream, making the most of her skills, saying he would support her while she worked on it becoming a reality. With that love and support, she went for it.
Helen said: “I attended Jacob Kramer College in Leeds to learn the skill of pattern drafting and I am proud to say I never use bought patterns. I only do my own. I sketch out the designs and then play with the fabric, ensuring there is enough wriggle room. Comfort is as important as the look.”
Trading at markets and fairs was soon overtaken by the rise of the internet shopper with Stacey helping with the technology and the marketing. Word-of-mouth and umpteen satisfied customers who return for more have driven its success. These are timeless, quirky, statement pieces fashioned from fun fabrics that withstand the rigours of pint-sized adventurers as well as appealing to the consumer concerned with ethical and environmental motivations.
Now the tide is turning too on disposable practices, activities such as making your own clothes that last are in the spotlight and are being supported.
Helen’s designs have featured in the pages of Vogue as well as winning a haul of awards. She herself has been praised for her work ethic, which she is most proud to have passed to her children.
She currently produces every single garment herself. That is often between 12 and 14 a week. She admits to being a perfectionist and every button, every pocket, has to be just so (or should that be just sew?) or she starts again. She is looking at taking on an assistant in 2019, however, securing the right person to uphold the quality is of paramount importance.
She said: “I love what I do and this doesn’t feel like I job. I enjoy talking to people and telling them my story. I would urge anyone with a talent to use it. Then it will never feel like you are working for a living. Have confidence in yourself.”
Shop to your heart’s content here: http://www.yoyochildrenswear.com/ and find Yoyo on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.