It's a given that one thing leads to another, and that's what happened at a neighborhood alley sale I was part of at the end of May. There I met Meredith Tabscott (above) as she was in the midst of convincing her husband Dave, a guidance counselor at Ladue High School, to squeeze a riding horse she had just purchased into their car. Dave wasn't convinced that their two children, Mimi, age 3, (above) and Nick, 7, needed anything more--especially a large horse--in their third floor playroom.
While the negotiation was going on (the horse did make its way to the third floor) I learned that Meredith, an English teacher at Granite City High School, had started a children's clothing business in her "spare time." Of course, I wanted to learn more about "Fiona Heavensbee," so on a recent Saturday morning I visited the Tabscotts in their charming townhouse not far from the Cathedral.
When they were first married, Dave gave Meredith a sewing machine. She took sewing classes where many of us learned to sew, at the now shuttered Eunice Farmer Fabrics in Ladue. In the evenings and on weekends over the past winter, Meredith started making children's clothing out of vintage pieces she had collected. While her children played down the hall, she cut the clothes apart, felted some of them, and refashioned the pieces into darling little dresses.
When she was considering what to call this endeavor, she decided not to use her own name, instead calling it "Fiona Heavensbee" which suggested whimsy and romance. The grey and white dress with flower above is $45 and will fit a 2 to 4 T.
Meredith embroiders as a hobby and was able to incorporate that skill into the pocket on the "I'm a hoot" dress, above, $30, that will also fit a 2 to 4T. She loves the work of artist Emily Martin whose embroidery patterns she finds on sublimestitching.com
Some of her students at Granite City High School are also into crafting and bring crocheting they are working on for her to see. Did you know that high schoolers call this "Granny Crafting"?
You've noticed that the first couple of dresses shown in this post are for cooler temperatures than we've been experiencing. This summer Meredith has been making tiered cafe aprons out of fabrics she's collected, many from spoonflower.com The beautifully-finished, lined cowgirl apron above, (and shown on Mimi in the first photo) is $35. The aprons, which come in many different fabric combinations, make great gifts and can be worn over tights, pants or skirts. Meredith's clothing and cotton headscarves can be found at her etsy.com shop, where they are modeled by Mimi and other neighborhood children.
The Sunday morning after I visited, I was invited to the Tabscott's bake sale. There I was able to photograph friend Charlotte Wilson, front, and neighbors Audrey and Quinn Cage, looking pretty cute wearing Fiona Heavensbee cafe aprons. Nick Tabscott, above left, was minding the cupcakes. In the background you can spot the horse from the alley sale, which is where this whole post started. Meredith's scrumptious cupcakes were $1 each, pony rides were free.
To learn more about Fiona Heavensbee check out etsy.com for Meredith's "adorably repurposed, upcycled & original clothing and wares."