With the launch our our Shirt Making Courses Henrietta talks about her love for making shirts and the joy that comes from learning a practical skill.
My inspiration for starting Henri came from the fact that good women’s shirts are hard to come by. I wanted something soft and easy to wear, flattering, comfortable and with all the traditional tailoring details. I found these details like the full cuff placket, collar, beautiful buttons and weighty material were often sacrificed in high street chains in order to keep the costs down. It seemed to me that the women’s shirt had been watered down to accommodate low prices across the board.
Having trained in design and pattern cutting and working as a freelance pattern cutter, I started to develop a few designs and cuts that would become the basis of my collection as it is today. The Classic Shirt and the Over Shirt were amongst my first few designs and I spent months refining the cuts and trialling each piece. Throughout this sampling period I worked on my sewing techniques by practising industry standards and learning which finishings I liked the most.
These hours at the sewing machine are some of my fondest memories in developing Henri as a brand. This close connection to the product is important for me as a designer. It’s where a large part of my design process happens and I like to think the technical refinement of the products are down to the fact that I’ve made each one myself at sampling stage.
I firmly believe that using your hands to create or build is good for the soul. As humans we’re industrious makers but most of us have become only consumers with very little understanding of almost everything that we consume day to day. I think that learning to make what we consume is a fulfilling ethos to live by, and for many of us this means investing more time into the skills we need to achieve that. In reconnecting with processes and materials I think we’re able to enjoy the final product so much more.